Love in the Present Tense

Love in the Present Tense

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0307276716

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a moving novel about the bond between a five year old abandoned by his mother and the man who raises him. After accidentally killing a police office five years ago, Pearl has managed to protect her bright, frail young son Leonard from her violent past. Then one day, Pearl drops him off with their neighbor Mitch, and never returns. Mitch is far from the ideal caretaker--he’s having an affair with a client’s wife--but he and Leonard must find a way to bridge the gap between them as they bond as parent and child.Gritty but big-hearted, Love in the Present Tense is an inspiring story of love and the surprising forms it can take.




















played Skee-Ball as long as we could. I mean, as long as the money was there to play with. It didn’t go so good. In fact, it didn’t go as good as I thought it would, and I’d never had what you might call high hopes. Trouble was, my little sweet birthday guy wanted to play, too. How could I say no? It was his birthday, and he had never played Skee-Ball before. But I wanted to win him a stuffed animal so bad. But what could I say to him? I had to let him try. The first time he rolled the little

the horse’s sides and telling him, “Go faster.” There was music. When I opened my eyes that guy with the red hair and freckles was there watching, and he had a stuffed giraffe. He had traded in all his tickets for that nice stuffed toy, I guess. It didn’t seem like the type of thing a guy would pick. When the ride stopped we got off and he came up to us and tried to give the giraffe to Leonard. “For the birthday boy,” he said. First I wondered how he knew that, about Leonard’s birthday, but

black-and-white photographs of Pearl and Leonard, the kind you buy for a dollar or two at a carnival photo booth. Leonard is maybe three, with those heavy black glasses, smiling widely in all four shots, showing a complete absence of front teeth. Pearl is leaning her head on his in one. Kissing his temple in another. She looks worried and far away. The last thing I shake out into my hand is a small pile of bills. “Two hundred dollars in twenties,” Mrs. Morales says. “Now I ask you. If she were

“Heartbreaking or not.” “I know,” I said. “I agree.” It hit me that when Leonard got out of the hospital it would be time to have a good long talk about Pearl. The first time I got to go in and see Leonard he was lying on his stomach in bed, his face resting in a doughnut-shaped contraption to make the position slightly more comfortable. He had a thin hospital blanket pulled up to his hips. His gown was tied at the back of his neck, then fell open across his shoulder blades. I asked him if he

LEONARD, age 17: photo, last name, father I have no photos of Pearl. Not one. At least, none that survived her leaving. I have a strong memory of her, a mental picture of her face, looking down on me with love. From the minute I was born, I think. She believed in looking down on her baby, me, with a face full of joy. Welcoming, she said. She said we should all be welcomed into the world with joy. I remember her telling this at length to Rosalita, who I used to think was my grandmother, when we

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