Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Author:Jodi Picoult [Picoult, Jodi]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Published: 2016-10-10T22:00:00+00:00

FRANCIS LIKES TO OPEN UP his home to guys in the Movement every other Sunday afternoon. Once the crews stopped roaming the streets looking for people to mess up, we hardly ever saw each other. You can reach a lot of people through the World Wide Web, but it’s a cold, impersonal community. Francis recognizes that, which is why twice a month the street is packed with cars with license plates from as far away as New Jersey and New Hampshire, enjoying an afternoon of hospitality. I’ll put on the football game for the guys, and the women congregate in the kitchen with Brit, organizing the potluck dishes and trading gossip like baseball cards. Francis takes it upon himself to entertain the older kids with colorful lectures. You can stand at a distance and almost see words blazing from his mouth, like he is a dragon, as the boys sit mesmerized at his feet.

It’s been almost three months since we’ve had a Sunday session. We haven’t seen these people since Davis’s funeral. To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it, since I’m still stumbling through the days like a zombie. But when Francis tells me to post an invitation on Lonewolf.org, I do it. You just don’t say no to Francis.

And so, the house is full again. The tone, though, is a little different. Everyone wants to seek me out, ask how I’m doing. Brit is in our bedroom with a headache; she didn’t even want to pretend to be social.

But Francis is still the happy host, pulling the caps off beers and complimenting the ladies on their haircuts or blue-eyed babies or the deliciousness of their brownies. He finds me sitting by myself near the garage, where I’ve gone to dump a bag of trash. “People seem to be having a good time,” he says.

I nod. “People like free beer.”

“It’s only free if you’re not me,” Francis replies, and then he looks at me shrewdly. “Everything all right?” he asks, and by everything he means Brit. When I shrug, he purses his lips. “You know, when Brit’s mama left, I didn’t understand why I was still here. Thought about checking out, if you know what I mean. I was taking care of my six-month-old, and I still couldn’t find the will to stick around. And then one day, I just got it: the reason we lose people we care about is so we’re more grateful for the ones we still have. It’s the only possible explanation. Otherwise, God’s a sorry son of a bitch.”

He claps me on the back and walks into the tiny fenced backyard. The young teens who’ve been dragged here by their parents are suddenly alert, awakened to his magnetism. He sits down on a stump and starts his version of Sunday School. “Who likes mysteries?” There is nodding, a general buzz of assent. “Good. Who can tell me who Israel is?”

“That’s a pretty crappy mystery,” someone mutters and is elbowed by the boy beside him.


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