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Matters of Chance by Gail Albert {Excerpt}

Matters of Chance by Gail Albert {Excerpt}

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
Mona’s perfect world is shattered by sudden and serious illness—leaving her searching her past for answers. Fate has led her from a tough Brooklyn girlhood to a happy marriage with a wonderful man, but what has she forgotten along the way? In this classic New York novel of the 1980s, as Mona struggles to understand her own life story, she uncovers the shocking memory of a murder and traces the shape of her own mortality.
Mona’s perfect world is shattered by sudden and serious illness—leaving her searching her past for answers. Fate has led her from a tough Brooklyn girlhood to a happy marriage with a wonderful man, but what has she forgotten along the way? In this classic New York novel of the 1980s, as Mona struggles to understand her own life story, she uncovers the shocking memory of a murder and traces the shape of her own mortality.

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Jul 25, 2013
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09/29/2013

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!
 
Gail Albert
 
MATTERS OF CHANCE 
!
1
HANNAH WAS MY BEST
friend until her father killed her mother with the bread knife when we were eight. Hannah found the body lying on thekitchen floor late one October afternoon and ran screaming down the stairsinto my aunt’s arms. Later my uncle said that Hannah’s mother hadalways nagged too much; and he cried because they’d all known eachother since before the war.Hannah’s father was sent to prison in upstate New York, and hisspinster sister Irene moved in from Philadelphia. A schoolteacher,misplaced in our part of Brooklyn, she never let any of Hannah’s friendsinside the apartment. I was the only one of us even allowed on the stoop:I’d passed her test.I stood on the pavement; she looked down at me from her woodenfolding chair at the top of the brownstone steps.“Tell me,” she said, “the names of twenty Presidents of the UnitedStates. They don’t have to be in order.” Her mouth was tight, and I felt her eyes on my gypsy hair and scraped knees.“Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt,” I said, “andHarry Truman and Woodrow Wilson, and Washington and Lincoln,and…” Counting on my fingers I slowly ticked off thirteen more. “…Did Isay Madison?” I asked at last.“No,” she said. “Not yet.”That time Hannah and I played geography and hangman until sunset,while I bit my tongue to keep from spelling m----r for murder or k---e for knife. I loved Hannah and I hated Irene for shutting me out.
 
Gail Albert
 
MATTERS OF CHANCE 
!
I still dream of Hannah twenty-six years later, and wonder what became of her. I see her as unmarried, sometimes living alone andsometimes living with a bent and white-haired Isaac, out of prison at last. Iask if he collects Social Security, unable to remember the rules for convicted murderers.Indeed, I think that Isaac was actually convicted of manslaughter,although I’ve never quite seen how stabbing your wife with a bread knifeis anything less than murder. The knife had always been there, ready to cutgreat slabs of the pumpernickel Isaac brought home from work. I can seehim using it on Rose instead of on the thick black bread if she pushed him just too far when he already had the knife in hand. And yet I can’t, for allthe years I’ve thought about it.I get angry too; everyone does. With my husband, say, or with mychildren. When my boys were very little, I’d sometimes slap one of themin a rage, so mad I wanted only to keep on hitting until my child beggedme from the floor to stop. But I never gave way to more than those fewslaps, no matter what I felt like doing.Once I even locked myself in the bedroom to protect Daniel from me;he was in the middle of an unending toddler’s tantrum and I couldn’t makehim leave me alone. I locked myself in and covered my head with pillowswhile Dan screamed and banged and hammered on the door. I was pregnant for the second time; Bob was interning and on duty at thehospital thirty-six hours out of every forty-eight. Huddled on the bed,knowing I’d be alone with Dan for ten more hours, I was afraid I’d killhim if I came out of the room.Then why did Isaac stab Rose to death? I knew Isaac, I knew Rose, aswell as a child knows close neighbors when you’re poor together, andsometimes I feel I understand and then again I don’t.

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