Since the year I turned ten, the days following Thanksgiving have marked the arrival of my personal dark season. When sun sets too early and the temperature drops, I am brought back to the last day of my father's life. He had fetched me a pair of gloves that December morning, and I gave him a quick kiss goodbye before I rushed out the door to school. That was the last time I saw him.
I grew up in White Plains in a house that, as a friend once joked, was tiny for such a tall family. I shared bunk beds with my older sister and my parents' attention with my younger brother. My mom drove us to basketball practices and piano lessons in a Dodge Caravan.