Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Leslie Pietrzyk lives in Virginia and is the author of two novels: A Year and a Day (William Morrow/HarperCollins) and Pears on a Willow Tree (HarperPerennial).
My mother-in-law is writing a memoir about my husband’s life. Robb died in 1997, of a heart attack, at the age of thirty-seven. Many deaths are unexpected, but his felt especially so, as no particular reason emerged for why this healthy man would wake up one morning and have a heart attack.
I met my boyfriend through the personals. His ad said that he was looking for a woman who was “athletic.” I assumed that was a code word for “thin.” After we’d been dating for several months, he told me I was wrong, that “athletic” had actually meant athletic.
The Sun doesn’t usually report on current events, but September’s terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. marked a turning point for all of us. We put out a call to our writers, inviting them to reflect on the tragedy and its aftermath. The response was overwhelming. As word got around, we received submissions not only from regular contributors but from writers who are new to The Sun’s pages.
He had a special way of doing everything. He developed a method of eating watermelon with a knife, cutting slices so thin the seeds would slither out, and setting aside the juiciest fillet from the middle to eat last. There was an order in which to read the newspaper (sports, business, style, metro, front page). The two of you never left a football or a baseball game until the last second had ticked off the clock, regardless of a lopsided score or a ten-below windchill or being late to meet someone for dinner. He always carried a pen in his pocket and kept long lists of things to do and places to see on little yellow sticky notes inside his wallet.
Perry was just another scrubby desert town tucked behind a minor highway — to us it was a highway; to the state it was a tired dirt road that had been paved in an election year and forgotten.