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).
Realizing that she will need to be out the door in twenty minutes, Evelyn is glad she spent so much of Sunday obsessing about what she would wear. And as she takes one last look in the mirror before going into the bathroom to throw on a minimal amount of make-up, she is pleased with the decisions she made two days ago. The tweed skirt looks good with the ivory-colored blouse. The slim, heeled boots are a nice, self-assured touch, and her leather jacket will top it all off in a sophisticated, but not matronly, way.
She is pleased.
But, also, for some reason, she is nervous.
She goes into the bathroom and reaches for her mascara on the tray beside her sink. Several strokes of the wand later, she takes a look at herself and decides to see if her container of brown eye shadow, which is probably considered ”vintage” at this point, has not been sealed shut by the passage of time.
It opens easily. There appears to be no mold on its surface. And although she realizes it’s probably not the smartest idea to apply such an old cosmetic to her eyelids, she does so anyway.
And she is pleased with the result.
Next, she opens her lipstick tube, and after she has painted her lips, she applies a tiny dab to each cheek. She rubs the dabs in. A nice touch. A nice trick.
Then, standing back for a final look, she uses her fingers to comb back her bangs so that some, but not all, drop into the forehead that she’s always thought was just a little too large. The manipulation works. She cocks her head as she smiles at herself. Despite her slight case of nerves, she feels remarkably good.
“Evelyn!” Claudia says, her broad smile and dancing eyes a sign of sincere approval. “You look beautiful!”
“Oh my!” says Davy, looking up from The New Yorker. “Are we going somewhere?”
“You’re not leaving me here alone!” Claudia says to him, as Evelyn crosses behind Davy’s stool to get her car keys off the wall rack.
“But what are we doing?” he asks either one of them.
“We’re going to have dinner,” Claudia responds, “and then, we’re going to play poker. I’m taking you to the bank tonight, Davy!”
“The bank? But I don’t know how!”
“Exactly!” says Claudia, laughing as she finishes cutting tomatoes for the salad.
“Well,” says Evelyn. “This is it! My big night out!
“And thank you again Claudia,” Evelyn adds, kindly. “I appreciate your staying the night tonight.”
“When else do I get to play poker?” Claudia replies, shrugging with the knife in one hand and half a tomato in the other.
“Well, don’t take him for too much,” Evelyn says, leaving a lipstick kiss on Davy’s forehead.
“I promise. Just a few of his tee shirts. That’s all I really want.”
“Goodnight!” Evelyn says in a sing-song tone, shaking her head and feeling light and amused as she heads for the garage by way of the utility room.
Evelyn enjoys the train ride into the City, and she is thankful for the arrangements that she and Joy made. It’ll be good not to worry about parking in Manhattan and then making that long drive home at the end of the night. And she can’t wait to see Joy, standing on the platform at Grand Central.
Instinctively, Evelyn shifts her glance to look out the train window. But because it is dark out, that gesture only presents her with a mirrored view of the other passengers in the train. She notices a man, well-dressed for business. He is sitting about six rows in front of her, in a seat that faces the train’s center aisle. He looks very tired, maybe even a bit tense. And his image brings her father to mind…
All those years of commuting from New Jersey into Manhattan. What did he think about on that packed train? Was he happy to be getting away from the wife who was slowly and methodically going mad? Did he ever think about his kids? Or, was he just anticipating the day ahead on Second Avenue—the accounts he had to manage, the clients he had to please.
Evelyn looks again at the reflection of the man six rows in front of her. She sees his wedding band, but it tells her nothing. She wonders if this man is going into town to rendezvous with his lover—a secretary, perhaps, or maybe his “devil wears Prada” boss.
She hopes that the man on the train is not doing his loved ones any irrevocable damage.
* * *
to be continued on April 23rd.
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.