A Year and a Day: A Novel by Leslie Pietrzyk

By Leslie Pietrzyk

Fifteen-year-old Alice desires of her first kiss, has sleepovers, auditions for Our Town, and attempts to move highschool biology. it is 1975, and at the start glance, her lifestyles would appear to be basic and unexceptional. yet on the earth that Leslie Pietrzyk paints, each second she chronicles is printed during the kaleidoscope of loss, stained by way of the truth that Alice's mom, all at once, notice, or apology, intentionally parks her automobile at the railroad tracks, within the course of an oncoming train.

In the emotional 12 months that follows, Alice and her older brother locate themselves within the care in their nice aunt, pressured to manage and movement ahead. Lonely and burdened, Alice absorbs herself in her mom Annette's everyday rituals, attempting to recapture their connection -- in basic terms to be surprised by way of the sound of her mother's voice talking to her, attractive Alice in ''conversations'' and supplying a few perception into the lifestyles that she had led, past her position as Alice's mother.

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Aunt Aggy crossed her arms tight across her chest. ” “Oh, Alice,” she said. ” She came into the room and sat on the bed, pushing aside the dresses so the wire hangers tangled. ” Mama in Chicago. ” “She was gorgeous,” Aunt Aggy said. “The conductor kept coming round to check if we needed anything, but it was Annie he stared at the whole time. She was just seventeen and had never been out of Iowa, and there we were heading to Chicago. I’d never been either, and I was old enough to know better, but I was as giddy as she was.

I clutched the red dress harder. She wasn’t telling me everything. ” Aunt Aggy jumped up and went to the closet, where she started 38 Leslie Pietrzyk yanking things off hangers, tossing them onto the pile on the floor. ” There was an angry space between each word of her sentence. ” I asked. She kept throwing clothes on the floor; empty hangers rattled in the closet. ” Aunt Aggy reached way back, slid forward an armful of clothes on the rod, making a screechy noise. ” I laughed nervously. ” Aunt Aggy looked at the clothes on the floor, then started picking things up, putting them on hangers and returning them to the closet.

My hands were still shaky, so I set them against the edge of the dressing table. “Always check your teeth,” she said. ” I smiled into the mirror. My teeth were lipstick free. “You need a Kleenex,” she said, and I reached for one, slipped it between my lips and kissed. “Think of that handsome man,” she said. “Never waste a kiss,” but again, who was there for me to think about? James Dean was dead. I wadded up the tissue with my wasted kiss and dropped it in the trash, along with the crumpled-up tissues that held her lip marks and shavings from sharpening the eye pencil and the cotton balls she had dabbed with perfume, then tucked into her bra.

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