I'm always looking for what will make me whole. What will make me happy? Somewhere along the way I started to think it wasn't Helen anymore. She hasn't changed. Her laugh is still the one I remember. Her finger is still the one I put the ring on all those years ago. I can't understand why I don't want to curve next to her, keep her back warm anymore. Surely you don't lose love like keys?
How can I explain to her that I just can't come home? It's too soon, it's too late; I do want to be with Helen every second of the day but at the same time I don't want to be with her at all. I want to have back what I felt at the beginning. I could no more leave her then than leave my arms or legs. How do you find the beginning, though? There are no roads or signs. You start to doubt it even exists. The hardest thing isn't deciding that I want to go back to when Helen and Gracie and I were us. The most difficult thing is finding the map to get there.
ALYCE: 'Gracie's got brown hair, like me. She's about the same height, too. People notice her. I think it's her voice. It's always louder than you expect and covered with laughter.I was surprised when she said she didn't want to work with me. I don't know Gracie very well, but I remember once in Year 3 she gave me an invitation to her party. She spelt my name right. Everyone always spells it with an 'i', even the teachers. Ever since then I thought she would be nice. I never thought she'd look at me like I was nothing.
Have you ever done something that you were really ashamed of? I mean somehing so bad you felt sick just thinking about it?''Everyone has. Why, what'd you do?''I didn't say goodbye to Mum.''That's not so bad.''Did you say goodbye to your mum before she left?' I'd never asked Martin about this before. I didn't want to hear the answer.'She left before I had a chance.''Oh.''That's what I like about you, Faltrain.You always know just what to say.
Dad and I leave town in the early dark. It's the second Sunday of the holidays, and we pack up the old blue car with enough clothes for summer and hit the road. It's so early he's wiping hills of sand piled in the corners of his eyes. I wipe a few tears from mine. Tears don't pile, though. They grip and cling and slide in salty trails that I taste until the edge of the city.