Time of Hope: A Novel

Time of Hope: A Novel

Time of Hope: A Novel

Time of Hope: A Novel

Excerpt

The midges were dancing over the water. Close to our hands the reeds were high and lush, and on the other side of the stream the bank ran up steeply, so that we seemed alone, alone in the hot, still, endless afternoon. We had been there all day, the whole party of us; the ground was littered with our picnic; now as the sun began to dip we had become quiet, for a party of children. We lay lazily, looking through the reeds at the glassy water. I stretched to pluck a blade of grass, the turf was rough and warm beneath the knees.

It was one of the long afternoons of childhood. I was nearly nine years old, and it was the June of 1914. It was an afternoon I should not have remembered, except for what happened to me on the way home.

It was getting late when we left the stream, climbed the bank, found ourselves back in the suburb, beside the tramlines. Down in the reeds we could make-believe that we were isolated, camping in the wilds; but in fact, the tramlines ran by, parallel to the stream, for another mile. I went home alone, tired and happy after the day in the sun. I was not in a hurry, and walked along, basking in the warm evening. The scent of the lime trees hung over the suburban street; lights were coming on in some of the houses; the red brick of the new church was roseate in the sunset glow.

At the church the street forked; to the right past the butcher's, past a row of little houses whose front doors opened . . .

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