Academic journal article Chicago Review

New Year's in Montreal

Academic journal article Chicago Review

New Year's in Montreal

Article excerpt

We'd had a long down period before Montreal. Helen was erratic again. She'd push Bible passages on me at dinner though this had little to do with her thinking on other days. She didn't leave the house much. There were times that she'd burst into my study with ideas that made little sense to me, ideas about behavior. She became paranoid. She was convinced plots she saw on TV centered around her problems. She misheard song lyrics so that their meanings were painful and cruel. She accused me of sleeping with her sister because I drove her sister home one night when she had had much too much to drink. Before I'd returned Helen had broken eleven good plates.

The next morning she made me breakfast in bed.

My parents in Vermont took the children for Christmas. And I must say that I'd begun to find reasons to stay away from the house though I was scared to death about what might happen in my absence. There was a doctor at the hospital whose number I had memorized.

Montreal was an idea Helen had when she seemed to spring awake. She reserved a room at a bed and breakfast and called her mother to watch the house and take care of the dogs. She handled all of this and packing our luggage with the alacrity and precision of someone used to taking weekends away.

We drove to Montreal on the day before New Year's and we dropped our bags at our place, which was on a cobblestone street in the old section. The weather was frigid and I was tired, but Helen had caught on to a good mood the way one might catch a bus pulling by. …

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