Here is how Elaine Woodson attempted to describe things to herself one predawn:

It’s like those times when the whole sky is one smooth whitish dome and you’re not aware of it as cloud cover until the thing glides off in the wind and gives you blue sky. It’s like that. A form of walking pneumonia of the spirit? I’m not even quite aware of the thing until it has lifted.

She did not speak of it. Not to her mother or her father—who lived alone in Santa Monica now—or her two married sisters or her younger brother; not to friends. It was bad manners to make yourself and your troubles the subject of conversation, even with family. More than 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce.

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