Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Author:Julia Phillips
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Published: 2019-05-13T16:00:00+00:00


FEBRUARY

Revmira woke up knowing it was February 27. The date bore down on her. She dressed slowly, sadly, under its weight, and came out to the kitchen to find her husband boiling their coffee. “Good morning,” she said.

“Morning,” Artyom said, and she knew from the line of his shoulders over the stove that he knew what day it was, too.

She got out cheese and ham for breakfast. While she prepared two plates at the counter, he poured their cups. The teaspoon clinked as he mixed sugar into hers. They had been together twenty-six years, nearly half Revmira’s life, and still she was surprised by Artyom’s kindness. He was the easiest man she had ever known. But then she had only known two.

“How’d you sleep?” he asked.

She shrugged, put their breakfast sandwiches down, and took her seat. “Are you on call today?”

“Twelve to twelve.” Soon he would meet with the rest of his rescue team, stack their gear, get ready for any urgent flight to the mountains or the ice caves or the open water, but for now he was rumpled in his T-shirt. He had not yet shaved. Behind him, their kitchen window showed a clear sky.

She had slept heavy and dark the night before. She had not dreamed of Gleb. For years after the accident, she did—that Gleb visited her in her childhood home; treated her on her birthday; drove her down the bumpy road beyond the city limits to the ocean’s black sandy shore. “This is impossible,” she said in that one. “I know,” he said and shifted gears. She wanted in the dream to touch his hand but was afraid to distract him at the wheel.

“It’s going to be warm,” Artyom said.

She looked up from her plate. “Is that right?”

“Almost zero.”

“I’m not surprised,” she said. “You only give yourself the best shifts. You’ll probably spend all day picnicking.”

“Having ice cream in the snow. Sure. More like we’ll be called at noon on the dot for some novice getting sunburned off-piste.”

“Just be careful,” she said. He kept watching her.

“With weather like this, it could be a short winter,” he said. “Lieutenant Ryakhovsky texted this morning. They want our boats to search for the sisters in the bay once it thaws.”

The bread was dry in Revmira’s mouth. “He never got back to me.”

“I asked again about that. He didn’t respond.”

“He’s a jackass,” she said.

Artyom smiled at her from across the table. That look deepened the lines on his face.

“You told him about Alla’s daughter?”

“I told him everything,” Artyom said. “He’s all business: the major general wants approval from the ministry for another round of water searches.”

Revmira put her bread down. For months, Petropavlovsk’s rescue team had been helping the police organize search efforts for the Golosovskaya sisters. Artyom’s rescue work usually came in bursts—hikers unable to descend from volcanoes, snowmobilers cracking through thin lake ice, fishermen getting turned around at sea—but this case would not end. In the fall, Artyom had led civilians through the city to search for the missing girls; once the weather turned, he brought home occasional updates from officers.



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