Kennedy’s issue didn’t seem to be that she had been in jail, but that she had put on weight in jail. The food had been crappy, she’d told me, and it has been high on the carbohydrate count. “But I’m an emotional eater,” she’d said, as if that were a terrible thing. “And I was real emotional in jail.
For her next birthday she'd asked for a telescope. Her mother had been alive then, and had suggested a pony, but her father had laughed and bought her a beautiful telescope, saying: "Of course she should watch the stars! Any girl who cannot identify the constellation of Orion just isn't paying attention!" And when she started asking him complicated questions, he took her along to lectures at the Royal Society, where it turned out that a nine-year-old girl who had blond hair and knew what the precession of the equinoxes was could ask hugely bearded famous scientists anything she liked. Who'd want a pony when you could have the whole universe?
We didn't play very well tonight to tell you the truth. If our bench didn't come to the rescue, we would have been in trouble. Michele Hagan had a big night with 13 points and 13 rebounds in 13 minutes. That's almost a triple-double. And Jill saved us in the first half. We weren't shooting very well, and she came in and hit some threes and got four rebounds. The bench carried us tonight.
The worst part was that I had things I wanted to tell my mother, too many to count, but none of them would go down so easy. She'd been through too much, between my siters-I could not add to the weight. So instead, I did my best to balance it out, bit by bit, word by word, story by story, even if none of them were true.
Just start somewhere," Dr. Marshall had said to me as I ground a banana-pineapple one to bits between my teeth. "It doesn't have to be at the beginning." She'd pulled her legs up, Indian-style, letting the legal pad she'd been holding drop to the floor."I thought everything always had to start at the beginning," I said. "Not in this room," she said easily. "Go ahead, Caitlin. Just tell me one thing. It gets easier, I promise. The first thing is always the hardest." I looked down at my hands, stained mildly red from the particularly sticky watermelon Rancher. "Okay," I said, reaching forward to take another one out of the bowl, just in case. She was already sitting back in her chair, readying herself for whatever glimpse I would give her into the mess I'd become. "What was the name of Pygmalion's sister?"She blinked, twice, obviously surprised. "Ummm," she said, keeping her eyes on me. "I don't know.""Rogerson did," I told her. "Rogerson knew everything.
Once she was certain, she didn't waiver. I had to make her stop for water or a bite to eat. She obeyed, but she was restless. As clear as if she spoke to me, she was saying, "Very well, I know you want to keep my strength up, but scent fades, you know!"And I'd say, "I know, girl, buy you're what I have and I'm going to take care of you.
She seemed out of place at the Fairweather. Too posh, as Susan said. Too well dressed. She never strolled along the shore or went bathing or brought a picture postcard. She just sat on the veranda all day with a book she never read, gazing out to sea. Probably wondering why on earth she came here. Susan had said. She looks as if she'd be more at home in Monte Carlo. I know- she's lost all her money gambling and she's waiting for the sea to warm up before she throws herself in. I hope she remembers to pay her bill first.
She didn't look like any motel manager I had ever seen. More likely an actress who hadn't quite made the grade down south, or a very successful amateur tart on the verge of turning pro. Whatever her business was, there had to be sex in it. She was as full of sex as a grape is full of juice, and so young that it hadn't begun to sour.
Afterward, Sara didn't really remember falling asleep, still wearing her robe although she meant to get dressed and had had Serafina lay out a pair of jeans and a blouse for her. In any case, she had slept. And there had been dreams -- of the unsettling kind she didn't want to recall.
Bett didn't have any siblings because she said her father had preserved what was dead for too long to be able to create life. When Bet was younger and had begged for one, her father gave her a marmot he' stuffed for a man from Wyoming."This is your brother Christopher," he'd said, placing the marmot on Bett's pillow one night. "He doesn't talk much, so you'll have to pick up the slack there.
Laine had been very proud of herself last night. Nicholas had talked about ghosts and magic and woven a bit of a spell himself. He'd sounded so convincing, so logical, so sad, that she'd found herself wanting to believe him. But testing prods at his argument had made him angry, and long years with Gavin had taught her that angry, defensive people shared the lousy habit of being wrong.
I didn't mind what she called me, what anybody called me. But this was the room I had to live in. It was all I had in the way of a home. In it was everything that was mine, that had any association for me, any past, anything that took the place of a family. Not much: a few books, pictures, radio, chessmen, old letters, stuff like that. Nothing. Such as they were, they had all my memories.
Sometimes she'd go a whole day without thinking of him or missing him. Why not? She had quite a full life, and really, he'd often been hard to deal with and hard to live with. A project, the Yankee oldtimers like her very own Dad might have said. And then sometimes a day would come, a gray one (or a sunny one) when she missed him so fiercely she felt empty, not a woman at all anymore but just a dead tree filled with cold November blow. She felt like that now, felt like hollering his name and hollering him home, and her heart turned sick with the thought of the years ahead and she wondered what good love was if it came to this, to even ten seconds of feeling like this.
Didn't you know I was out here, just waiting for a friend like you?""Of course I didn't know. I'd have been dancing on top of every bar in town, instead of studying, if I'd known that.""Tell me not to kiss you," he said, when his lips were a breath away from mine."Don't kiss me," I told him, my voice a breathless rasp."Mean it," he said, crowding me into the corner of the pool.He tilted my chin up with his finger."I can't," I gasped.The words had barely left my lips before he was kissing me.
Paul D did not answer because she didn't expect or want him to, but he did know what she meant. Listening to the doves in Alfred, Georgia, and having neither the right nor the permission to enjoy it because in that place mist, doves, sunlight, copper dirt, moon - everything belonged to the men who had the guns. Little men, some of them, big men too, each one of whom he could snap like a twig if he wanted to. Men who knew that their manhood lay in their guns and were not even embarrassed by the knowledge that without fox would laugh at them. And these "men" who made even vixen laugh could, if you let them, stop you from hearing doves or loving moonlight. So you protected yourself and loved small. Picked the tiniest stars out of the sky to own; lay down with head twisted in order to see the loved one over the rim of the trench before you slept. Stole shy glances at her between the trees at chain-up. Glass blades, salamanders, spiders, woodpeckers, beetles, a kingdom of ants. Anything bigger wouldn't do. A woman, a child, a brother - a big love like that would split you wide open in Alfred, Georgia. He knew exactly what she meant: to get to a place where you could love anything you chose - not to need permission for desire - well now, THAT was freedom.
She'd just had the best sex of her life, with an ex-boyfriend she'd spent the last decade pretending didn't exist, in his adorable half-finished, renovating-by-himself one room schoolhouse. Unsettled wouldn't even begin to describe how Laney should be feeling, and it didn't matter, because how she actually felt was pretty damn good.
People who couldn't imagine themselves capable of evil were at a major disadvantage in dealing with people who didn't need to imagine, because they already were. She'd said it was always a mistake, to believe those people were different, special, infected with something that was inhuman, subhuman, fundamentally other. Which reminded her of what her mother had said about Corbell Picket. That evil wasn't glamorous, but just the result of ordinary half-assed badness, high school badness, given enough room, however that might happen, to become its bigger self. Bigger, with more horrible results, but never more than the cumulative weight of ordinary human baseness.