Once we’re outside, Chloe asks me if I’d like to go for a walk along the wharf. She seems to be seeing me in a new light, kind of the way she used to see toys she had forgotten when they were suddenly discovered by her brother or a friend. The newfound joy and thrill were always the same for her.
Whatever her reasons for inviting me here to visit her, or for the walk, I can’t help feel grateful and think that Nathan is somehow doing magic from up there. As we walk along the pier, the fresh salt air is calming to my soul. I have the feeling she’s gathering her courage for something, so I look at her and ask, “Chloe, would you like to talk about something?”
“What makes you say that?”
“Because I know you, and I can see you’re upset about something.”
I’m thinking she’s scared of motherhood and the changes ahead, on top of all the changes I’ve seen so far. Maybe she needs to ask me about the astrological chart I gave her. But instead she takes a deep, purposeful, salt-tinged breath. “Mom, did you ever contemplate a separation?”
“Separation?” I repeat, trying to gather my thoughts—or form a response, for that matter. She stops walking and looks at me, daring me with her eyes. Her shoulders drop, signaling she has relaxed, since part of her secret is out. I almost can hear Magda spell out, “Uranus just walked in,” referring to the planet that represents sudden and unexpected changes. Ruler of originality and freedom.
“Our marriage wasn’t perfect, Chloe. It had its ups and downs, like many marriages do.” She looks irritated as I walk to a bench and signal for her to join me. I can sense this isn’t the answer she was looking for, nor for that matter, is what I’m about to say next. “But to answer your question, no, I never considered it. We had an unspoken understanding that we could fight, but we’d always find a loving way to understand each other after the fireworks of anger had left.”
She looks disappointed. “I just wish Brian understood me.”
I take her fingers, which are resting on her leg, and give them a squeeze as I ask, “How long have you felt like this?”
She looks at the sea in front of her and begins to whisper, as if talking to the wind. “For some time now, I’ve had the feeling that he’s rushing through life, from the office to the house, and everything in between is a task on his to-do list, and that includes me.” I stroke her hand gently to show my support while she continues to talk. “I tried not to focus on it, to find things to do together, even to get the house to seem more comfortable. But he remained the same, and I…I’m not.”
“Honey, when you two got married three years ago, you both seemed like that. Very serious about life, yourselves, and very career driven.”
A tear slowly glides down her cheek, and I want to reach out and wipe it, but I contain myself and only look at the ocean as I speak. “I can see how changed you are,” I say. “This must be daunting and challenging for your husband, as you’re changing before his eyes and he probably has no clue to what to do.” Then I make myself say what I might regret, but I have to know. “What opened you up? Is there someone else?”
The question is out. When she looks at me, her eyes show a tiny bit of guilt, and she remains silent. So I say, “Honey, I know I’m not your first option for talking, but I’m here and I love you.” I feel joy at having the opportunity to say what so many times I couldn’t, but her reaction startles me. She throws herself at me, rests her head on my shoulder, and cries openly.
I make her stop talking as I stroke her hair and say, “It’s OK, it’s OK. Whatever it is, it’ll be OK.” My heart is racing, and I’m thinking the unthinkable. My daughter, my pregnant daughter, might be having an affair.
Can anything good follow the best thing that ever happened to you?
Amelia Weiss loved her husband of thirty-five years very much, but now he’s left her a widow. Without him, she is unable to work in her sculpture studio without crying. She no longer has a bridge to her estranged daughter. And she can’t seem to keep her mind in the present.
But when her daughter reaches out asking for her help and her agent threatens a lawsuit if Amelia doesn’t deliver for an upcoming exhibit, she’s forced to make a choice. Will she reengage with her life and the people in it—allowing room for things to be different than they were before? Or, will she remain stuck in the past, choosing her memories over real-life relationships?
Thrust fully into the present, Amelia stumbles into a surprising journey of self-discovery.
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Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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