At first, I struggled to align the names with their particular sorts of suffering; then, I allowed it to build, swell, until it was getting hard to breathe, and then the characters took shape. Here’s a glimpse of some of them.
There’s Amanda: “Amanda is going to give herself bad nerves worrying over shit she got no control over.”
And Calv: “And she says that’s his fault too. That he don’t do his share of worrying over anything. None of them do, so all the women is left to worry their own worries and the worries of every man nearby who is too busy playing some fake game in a fantasy world.”
Damian: “To be malleable was to be womanly. There was nothing worse than to be a woman or a child, be it girl or boy.”
And Iris, who apologizes: “And everyone resumes their places. Like it is nothing to be called a bitch. At your place of work. In front of all your coworkers. And your lover. And his wife.”
John: “What is he doing? He has made so many mistakes. He cannot connect them in his mind in a coherent order so as to understand.”
And Olive: “Silly half-something baygirl from a non-existent bay believes herself deserving of her own safe place.”
I’ve arranged them in alphabetical order so that you aren’t tempted to draw connections between them. Because the connections matter. But even though the novel unfolds in a single day in February, the connections are not spelled out. And, even when they are, events are presented from multiple perspectives, so the conclusions that readers might draw on one page will be overturned. (Remember that quotation at the top: everyone has their own truth.)