The late Billy Lynch's family and friends gather at a small bar and grill in the Bronx to remember better times. His widow, Maeve, is there and everyone admires the way she is holding up, just as they always admired the way she cared for Billy after the alcohol had ruined him. But one cannot think of Billy without saying at some point, 'There was that girl'. On Long Island one summer years ago, Billy fell in love with a beautiful Irish girl working for a wealthy Park Avenue family. Billy wanted to marry Eva, but then she went back to Ireland. And then Billy's cousin Dennis had to break the terrible news: Eva had died of pneumonia. Billy never got over it. Anybody who knew him would tell you so. Billy began courting Maeve not long after, but for the rest of their lives, he, she and Dennis shared a hidden, twisted grief.
Alice McDermott is the author of AT WEDDINGS AND WAKES, a New York Times bestseller; THAT NIGHT, shortlisted for the National Book Award; and A BIGAMIST'S DAUGHTER. She lives with her family near Washington.