Jessica Friedmann | Things That Helped | Farrar, Straus and Giroux | April 2018 | 36 minutes (9,972 words)

Every morning, my father goes for an hour’s walk before work. This is the ritual that starts the day. When I come down to the kitchen for breakfast he is just getting home, and the dog precedes him through the door, pattering around, looking for a sunny patch, while my dad dumps the shrink-wrapped tube of the newspaper on the kitchen table. Often it is damp with condensation, but when I peel the wrapping off, the newsprint itself is dry.

Depending on the season, my sisters and I wear identical pale blue knee socks with our school uniforms, or itchy, dark gray tights. Dad’s early-morning outfit is unvaried; tracksuit pants, a T-shirt, sneakers, and a jumper tied around his waist, disguising or reinforcing the back brace he wears on cold…

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