When Alice and Joseph meet, they fall quickly into a tentative but sincere relationship. She is a nurse, he a house painter, and while both are still young and hopeful about this new love, each of them carries an emotional burden. Alice's father has been a yawning absence all her life, and just recently her beloved grandmother—who helped to raise her-passed away. For his part, Joseph refuses to speak about his experiences as a soldier in Northern Ireland, and Alice suspects that his general reticence hides an even more deeply troubled past. In this powerful story of guilt and privacy, Seiffert asks: To love someone, must you know everything about them?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Afterwards|
|Release Date: 07-10-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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Winter afternoon, five hours patrolling, seventeen minutes on the vehicle checkpoint and counting. Rain. Two cars, two drivers: one man, one woman. She was in the white car, three children with her. One adult passenger, male, in the other car, the red one. One multiple: four men on the rise, four in the fields, and four on the road. Two of us by the first car, two by the second. One round fired.
There were reports to do, days afterwards when Joseph had to be interviewed. RUC and army. Debriefing, the doctor, the welfare officer. He vomited before the first one, with the police. It was the same afternoon, after they got back to the base. Joseph didn’t tell anybody about being sick, thought they’d smell it anyway, anyone who went near the bogs.
Still had the sweat on his back and his hands when he was marched in to go over and over what happened. Six faces in the room, RUC and Red Caps, nobody Joseph recognised. There was the army solicitor too, who sat to one side of him and wrote things down while the others did the asking. Only two hours since Joseph was out on the road, maybe three, but it was still hard to get it all in the right order. MPs sitting back and watching, RUC wanting to hear it from him again and again, checking and checking, with the same and then with different questions.
– What colour was the Astra?
He’d said that before.
– It was red.
– Do you know how long it was there?
– Before we started checking it?
– Yes, you said it stopped a few metres away and waited. How long?
He didn’t know.
– They stopped t