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Authors: Judy Blume

In the Unlikely Event

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JUDY BLUME’S BOOKS

FOR ADULT READERS

Wifey

Smart Women

Summer Sisters

FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Tiger Eyes

Forever…

Letters to Judy: What Kids Wish They Could Tell You

Places I Never Meant to Be
(editor)

FOR MIDDLE
-
GRADE READERS

Iggie’s House

Blubber

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
.

Then Again, Maybe I Won’t

It’s Not the End of the World

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself

Deenie

Just as Long as We’re Together

Here’s to You, Rachel Robinson

FOR YOUNGER READERS, THE

FUDGE

BOOKS

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great

Superfudge

Fudge-a-mania

Double Fudge

THE

PAIN & THE GREAT ONE

SERIES

Soupy Saturdays

Cool Zone

Going, Going, Gone!

Friend or Fiend?

STORYBOOKS

The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo

The Pain and the Great One

Freckle Juice

THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK

PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF

Copyright © 2015 by Judy Blume

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York, and in Canada by Random House of Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Ltd., Toronto.

www.aaknopf.com

Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

Grateful acknowledgment is made to Alfred Music for permission to reprint an excerpt from “How High the Moon,” lyrics by Nancy Hamilton and music by Morgan Lewis, copyright © 1940, copyright renewed, by Chappell & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Alfred Music.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Blume, Judy.

   In the unlikely event / Judy Blume. — First edition.

         pages ; cm

   
ISBN
978-1-101-87504-9 (hardcover)

   
ISBN
978-1-101-87505-6 (eBook)

I. Title.

PS
3552.
L
84315    2015

813′.54—dc23

2015007629

eBook ISBN 9781101875056

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author’s use of names of historical figures, places, or events is not intended to change the entirely fictional character of the work. In all other respects, any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Cover design by Kelly Blair

v4.1

a

Contents

Cover
Judy Blume’s Books
Title Page
Copyright
Dedication
Thirty-five Years Later: February 10, 1987

Part One: December 1951

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Part Two: January 1952

Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18

Part Three: February–April 1952

Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31

Part Four: May—August 1952

Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Thirty-five Years Later: February 10, 1987
Author’s Notes
A Note About the Author
To George
,
My Henry Ammerman

E
ven now she can’t decide. She thinks about flipping a coin.
Heads
she goes,
tails
she stays. But isn’t indecisiveness an early sign of mental illness? Didn’t she cover a story about that a few years ago? Or is it that she’s conflicted? Conflicted is better than indecisive. Why is she thinking this way? A voice inside her head says,
You know damn well why
.

She steps up to the bank of phones inside the departure lounge and dials her fifteen-year-old daughter, Eliza, at school, but gets her machine. She supposes it’s good news that Eliza has gone to her early morning class. She’ll try her again later when she gets there, if she goes. Otherwise she’ll call from home.

She’s still weighing the pros and cons an hour later when the flight to Newark is announced and the first-class passengers are invited to board. She feels the panic rising—the dry mouth, the pounding heart, the urge to run. The moment of truth. Once she gets on the plane there will be no turning back. A hot flash washes over her body.
For god’s sake, not now
, she tells herself, wriggling out of her coat, as sweat pools between her breasts. She takes a deep breath, grabs her carry-on bag and heads for the gate. She’s going to do this. She’s not backing down.

Once she’s seated with her seat belt fastened, she thinks about taking a Valium to help her sleep on the long flight. But when has she ever slept on a plane? The guy next to her, in the window seat, is already loosening his tie, slipping a sleep mask over his eyes. No
chitchat for him, which is fine with her. She’s about to pull out the book she’s reading,
The Prince of Tides
, but instead grabs the classy leather-covered journal her friend Christina gave her for her birthday. Each of them has been asked to share something tomorrow, a few personal words, a poem, a memory. This is her only entry.

After enough time it fades and you’re grateful.

Not that it’s ever completely gone.

It’s still there, buried deep, a part of you.

The stench is gone from your nostrils now

Unless someone leaves the kettle on to boil and forgets about it.

The nightmares have tapered out.

There are more pressing things to dream about, to worry over,

to keep you awake at night.

Aging parents, adolescent children, work, money,

the state of the world.

Life goes on, as our parents promised that winter.

Life goes on if you’re one of the lucky ones.

But we’re still part of a secret club,

One we’d never willingly join,

With members who have nothing in common

except a time and a place.

We’ll always be connected by that winter.

Anyone who tells you different is lying.

Elizabeth Daily Post

CHRISTMAS TREE DAZZLES

DEC. 11 (UPI)—The 82-foot Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center dazzled last evening as its 7,500 red, white and green lights were flipped on in the traditional ceremony to inaugurate the season. An onlooking crowd of 2,000 holiday shoppers and homeward-bound office workers wrapped in winter coats for the chilly weather “oohed” and “aahed” as the lights blazed on. The voices of the Rockefeller Center Choristers filled the air with Christmas carols, and skaters twirled on the ice below.
A nationwide audience shared the ceremony, which was televised for the first time on NBC’s Kate Smith show. Miss Smith highlighted the event with a rendition of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” The tree will be lighted every day from twilight to midnight until Jan. 2.

1

BOOK: In the Unlikely Event
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