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2018 liveability index

Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:01:54
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  Dad jumped in after her. No way in hell, he'd say, was he letting a fine broad like that get away from him.

  * * *When we got to the hospital, nurses put me on a stretcher. They talked in loud, worried whispers while they cut off what was left of my fancy pink dress with a pair of shiny scissors. Then they picked me up, laid me flat on a big metal bed piled with ice cubes, and spread some of the ice over my body. A doctor with silver hair and black-rimmed glasses led my mother out of the room. As they left, I heard him telling her that it was very serious. The nurses remained behind, hovering over me. I could tell I was causing a big fuss, and I stayed quiet. One of them squeezed my hand and told me I was going to be okay.

  The contraption worked perfectly, except that I had to sleep flat on my back, which I always had trouble doing, especially when it was cold: I liked to snuggle down into the blankets. Also, the rubber bands still popped off in the middle of the night. Another drawback was that the device took a lot of time to put on properly. I'd wait until it was dark so no one else would see it.

  The streets were mostly silent and deserted that morning, but every now and then we'd pass a woman wearing curlers or a group of men in T-shirts with motor-oil decals, loitering in a doorway. I tried to catch their eyes, to give them a nod and a smile to let them know we had only good intentions, but they never nodded or spoke a word or even glanced our way. As soon as we passed, however, I could feel eyes following us up the street.

  "You bastard!" Lori shouted. "You stole our money!""What the goddamn hell are you talking about?" Dad asked. "And watch your language." He leaned against the door and lit a cigarette.

  I got Dad his knife with the carved bone handle and the blade of blue German steel, and he gave me a pipe wrench, and we went looking for Demon. We looked under my bed, where I had seen it, but it was gone. We looked all around the house梪nder the table, in the dark corners of the closets, in the toolbox, even outside in the trash cans.

  "Good to see you," I said as I kissed them. "It's been a while."Mom and Dad struggled up into sitting positions. I saw Dad eyeing the brown paper bag, and I passed it to him.

  I got so excited that I started running. I ran, faster and faster, along the Old Road overhung with bare-branched trees, then on to Grand View and up Little Hobart Street, past the barking yard-dogs and the frost-covered coal piles, past the Noes' house and the Parishes' house, the Halls' house and the Renkos' house until, gasping for air, I came to a stop in front of our house. For the first time in years, I noticed my half-finished yellow paint job. I'd spent so much time in Welch trying to make things a little bit better, but nothing had worked.


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