Half by Sharon Harrigan
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics| ePUB | 3.0 MB
Growing up, identical twins Paula and Artis speak in one voice-until they can’t. After years apart, with lives, partners, and children of their own, they are reunited on the occasion of their father’s funeral. Seeking to repair the damage wrought upon their relationship by outside forces, the twins retrace their early lives to uncover what happened-but risk unraveling their carefully constructed cocoons.
Written in spare,lyrical prose,Half is an achingly beautiful story of intimacy and loss, revealing the complexity-and cost-of sharing your life entirely with someone else. Sharon Harrigan deftly explores how fierce lovecanalso be the very thing that leadsto heartbreak and betrayal.
The eulogies droned on. Ms. Rosen, our fourth-grade teacher, swished up to the pulpit, butterfly tattoos sagging under the stretched skin on her now-ample arms, charm bracelet tinkling. She praised Dad and God in the same sentence.
Next came Wild Pete, Dad’s old buddy from his days of leading hunting tours in Alaska, his squirrelly mustache muffling a gruff voice. He told the origin story of Dad’s nickname, Moose. We had heard tales about Pete all our lives but had secretly suspected he wasn’t real.
Our childhood best friends described a man whose beard never grayed, whose shot never missed, who was “always there.” Always where? we asked, only in our heads, in a voice that sounded more like the snarky teens we had been than the thirty-year-old moms we were now.
We had prepared nothing. Mom could barely stand up, let alone speak, but we, the daughters, should have represented the family. That’s what everyone’s eyes on us said. A young man with a slender purple tie and a square of hair on his flinty chin glared from the other side of the aisle.
Mom sagged against the wooden pew. Her face, already slim from a lifetime of dieting, turned gaunt. Her still-dark hair—so thick that even in middle age she had enough to pile it high, goddess style, on her head—seemed to thin by the minute. A tiny lily tattoo wilted on the back of her neck. Even the beauty mark above her lip shrank.
Our five-year-old sons, clutching plush hedgehogs and snapping their bow ties, sat on our other sides. Next to them, our husbands, lost in an incense fog. Tears would have been a relief, but we dammed them back.
“Marco.” We said it so low it might have been telepathy.
“Polo,” came our reply, barely audible.
We reached over Mom to knock knuckles on each other’s thighs. We fingered the single earring we each wore, a diamond stud. As long as we shared this pair, these secret codes, we thought we couldn’t fall apart.
At the reception, Wild Pete almost tore off our hands, pretending to shake them. Breath thick with chaw, he said, “You’re the ones who killed him.”
We slipped from Pete’s grip, pushed outside, and leaned against the wall near the church basement steps, eyelashes weighted with snow.
“We didn’t,” we said.
Then, “We did.”
“How could he say such a thing?”
“You mean, how could he know?”
We had to hold each other’s coats to keep from falling with the snow. Gusts swirled at our ankles, and snow hooped around our hips. We braced against the scratchy brick, gripping.
“Why did we do it?” we asked each other.
“Because of what he did to us. Every year of our lives.”