The Blood Years by Elana K Arnold EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Status: Available for Free Download
- Author:Elana K Arnold
- Language: English
- Genre:Teen & Young Adult Multigenerational Fiction
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2.9 MB
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Pigeons and Promises
When we were very young, Astra and I made a pact.
I was six; Astra, not quite ten. It was a sultry, miserable summer day.
Father was missing—again—and Mama was in bed—still. Whenever
Father disappeared, Mama disappeared, too. Not physically, but in every
way that mattered.
Though it was nearly dusk, I was still wearing the nightgown I’d woken
up in. I’d been wearing it for three days, as there was no one to make me
change out of it. I remember how it stuck to my back like a second skin.
Astra skulked around the kitchen, looking for something to eat.
“Come on,” she finally said, taking the last of the jam from the icebox,
the last of the bread from the breadbox, and heading to the stairwell.
I followed her, all the way to the roof of our apartment building. It was
quiet up there. Still hot, but with a whisper of breeze, a promise that things
would be better, soon, if we waited. We squatted side by side and took turns
dipping hunks of bread into the jam jar. Down below and all around was
Czernowitz. Our city. I saw people moving about, horses pulling wagons,
the occasional automobile. The colorful hats the ladies wore were just small
scraps of color from up here. Far away was the green metal cap of the train
station, as pretty as any of the ladies’ hats.
Father was out there, somewhere.
“Do you think he’s coming back?” I asked.
Astra shrugged. “He always does.”
Yes, I wanted to say, but he’d never been gone this long. Long enough
for the kitchen to grow entirely bare. Long enough for Mama to forget she
On the roof, pigeons landed, hopeful and hungry.
“It’s so stupid,” Astra said, “how men come and go, and women have to
just sit around and wait for them.” She pointed at me with her scrap of
bread, its tip bloodred with jam. “Listen, Rieke,” she said. “Do me a favor,
will you? Never, ever fall in love. It’ll just make a mess of things.”
I didn’t really know what that meant—to fall in love. It didn’t sound
like something you did or didn’t do on purpose. Not like climbing, or
jumping; those were things you chose, things you did.
Falling, in my
experience, was something that just happened, whether you liked it or not. I
raised my shoulders, dropped them.
Astra turned to the city. “I’ll tell you one thing, Rieke—I’ll never fall in
love. And I’m never getting married. You can count on that.”
I believed her. My sister was the sort of person who did the things she
said she was going to do. She’d said she was going to be the youngest girl
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