Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Candace Perry is a writer living in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
When I swore I’d kill the bastards or die trying, he grabbed me by the shirt collar and commanded in a harsh voice I didn’t recognize: I never taught you to be stupid! At the bottom of hell all we can do is survive! Survive! His eyes burned like hot coals.
In 1961, Nicaragua and I were still developing, both of us unsure of our desperate passions. I knew nothing of politics. When the U.S. Air Force needed my father to teach Somoza’s pilots to fly, my family moved to Managua. The State Department warned of the dangers: malaria, earthquakes, revolution, poverty, sharks swimming in fresh water. They left something out.
After twenty-five years in the courtroom, you only have to look at the foreman to know a jury’s mind. The doc’s expression tells you what he has found out about your heart.
At home in Montgomery, Wanda’s azaleas are in full bloom, the whole front of the house covered in a profusion of lavender, pink, and fuchsia blossoms. Up here on Cape Cod, it is April and still there is frost on the windowpanes. Wanda’s daughter-in-law tries to fool everyone into believing it’s spring with the forsythia.
When we got to the pond, he stopped calling her name. The hole was black, and little black waves splashed against the jagged edges of the broken ice. Father took one step onto the pond, but had to jump back.
I’ve warned Mama not to tell her story today. Mama has a visitor, a Mrs. Thompson from her Sunday School class. First Baptist believes in staying in touch.