An excerpt from Lisa Moore’s new novel, February,
published by Anansi.
Online Contest: Win copies of Lisa Moore’s February—coming soon!Somehow Helen had picked up the idea that there was such a thing as love and she had invested fully in it. Helen had summoned everything she was, every little tiny scrap of herself, and she’d handed it over to Cal and said: This is yours.
She said, Here’s a gift for you buddy.
Helen didn’t say be careful with it, because she knew he would be careful. She was twenty and you could say she didn’t know any better. But that was the way it had to be. She could not hold back. She wasn’t that kind of person; there was no holding back.
Somewhere Helen had picked up the idea that love was: you gave everything. It wasn’t just dumb luck that he’d known what the gift was worth because that’s why she gave it to him in the first place. She could tell he was the kind of guy who would know.
Her father-in-law, Dave O’Mara, had identified Cal’s body and told her over the phone.
I wanted to catch you, he’d said. She had known there wasn’t any hope. But she’d felt faint when she heard his voice. She’d had to hold on to the kitchen counter. She didn’t faint because she had the children in the house and the bath was running.
It gave me a turn, he’d said. I’ll tell you that much. There were long stretches in that phone call where neither of them said anything. Dave O’Mara wasn’t speaking because he didn’t know he wasn’t speaking.
He could see before him whatever he’d seen when he looked at his dead son, and he thought he was telling her all of that. But he was in his own kitchen staring silently at the floor. Looking at his dead son must have been like watching a movie where nothing moved. It was not a photograph because it had duration. It had to be lived through.
And Helen was trying not to faint because it would scare the living daylights out of the children.
Besides, she had known. She’d known the minute the bastard rig sank.
Canada & its place in the world. Published by
the non-profit charitable Walrus Foundation