A NOTE BEFORE READING: I began sharing weekly excerpts from my novel, The Somebody Who, on June 26, 2010. If you want to begin at the beginning, go here. If you want to read the book in its entirety, head over to Amazon and purchase a copy. (There’s a button on the left that will take you there).
It’s 8:45 when Evelyn goes downstairs to check on Davy. Having been awake for a good three hours that evening, and having had large portions of the protein and roughage The Krosk had prepared for their dinner, he is peacefully sleeping with the television. Evelyn does not turn it off, but because she assumes the audio probably plays a part in Davy’s dreams, she does opt for switching the channels. Something other than the Eight O’clock News, which, in her opinion, should simply be called The Crime Report.
Returning to the project room, Evelyn realizes that she is feeling relaxed and happy. Joy’s visit, the revelations about Angie, and then Ashley’s visit that morning, were all somehow simultaneously exhausting and energizing. They also made her feel present. And now, as she prepares to open another box of old clothing, she realizes that although this quilt project is all about the past, it makes her feel present as well.
She reaches for a slip of folded-up paper.
ADAM AGE 3-6
The last of the babies. And the end of the Seventies.
Evelyn retrieves the appropriate Adam box, and she laughs when she sees the tee shirt folded up at the top of the stack. It features a New York Times crossword puzzle, and she remembers that the tee shirt had come with the clues and a pen so that the owner might complete it.
Davy had bought the shirt because it amused him that such a tiny person might be able to complete the puzzle.
“Well,” Evelyn reasoned, feeling playful during their weekend getaway in Manhattan, “there are a lot of tiny women who are smart.”
“I don’t want to meet the woman who is as small as our five-year-old son, no matter how smart she is!”
“I don’t want you to, either!” Evelyn responded, giggling as she gave her husband a long kiss on the cheek.
They were in a souvenir shop in Times Square, early for the evening’s performance of “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” Tom Conti had just won the Best Actor Tony for his performance in the play, and they were excited to have secured orchestra-seat tickets through the Concierge at the Waldorf.
It was feeling like one of those lucky, magical weekends.
They had arrived in the City the evening before, had a romantic dinner on the Upper East Side and then returned to the hotel. They made love throughout the night. Soft jazz on the radio. Lots of laughter and silliness. A bottle of champagne, pre-ordered by their children and delivered by room service, rested comfortably in an icer within arm’s reach of the bed.
“I didn’t know the nineteenth anniversary was so special,” Evelyn had commented, when the champagne arrived.
“It’s special because it is ours,” was Davy’s reply, which caused Evelyn to give him a teasing glance, as she always did when he said something ridiculously romantic.
And yet, Evelyn thinks now, it would have been nice if Davy’s statement had continued to be true. The past summer’s anniversary—their forty-seventh—certainly was not so special. It was theirs, just as it had been theirs twenty-eight years earlier. But she had no one to share it with. Such an irony; unable to share with someone the very simple thing—a number; a date—that you have in common. Sure, Davy could recognize the number “47.” And he even could read “August 13.” But he had no clue what an anniversary was.
Not a clue.
Evelyn sets aside the crossword puzzle tee shirt that Adam wore without ever trying to fill in its grid.
This will make a nice square on the quilt, she thinks.
* * *
to be continued on March 19th .
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.