Andy Roberts has lost his wife Beth and their unborn child in a car crash during a bad winter storm. Afterwards he immerses himself in teaching and coaching at Huntsburg High school, trying to forget the horror and the loss. Many months later his son Jeremy leaves high school in his senior year to drive in demolition derbies in small towns across the south. Andy struggles alone with his grief and the emptiness of his home, until Jeremy comes back one night with Karen, who is young, pretty, and pregnant. Jeremy asks if he can leave her with his father in the house on Olive Street until the baby comes. Though he promises to be there for the birth, he never shows up, nor does he write or call. Andy and Karen conclude that something terrible has happened. After the baby arrives, they settle into an unexpected domesticity that inflames Andy’s vanished passion, and in a summer rainstorm the dream becomes real. They embark on a sea of ignorance and domestic bliss until the day when Jeremy comes back—a paraplegic in a wheel chair.