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Posts tagged ‘novel’

“Not a commune.” Ivor looked embarrassed. “Okay, this is going to sound weird to you but I had this fantasy that Julie and the kids and Andy and I would all move into some kind of village somewhere that we could live in separate houses on the same block and the kids could play in between. One of those places where the whole neighborhood acts as the parents. Somewhere we could both see them every day without having to get a court order.”

“Does anyplace like that still exist?” Read more »

Meeting Laura

Hearing Charlie lecture me made me want even more to torture him with doubt. But I didn’t want Ivor or Matt or any of my family to have to deal with police officers. I dialed Charlie’s office number, figuring at one in the morning New York time, he wasn’t likely to be there. “Charlie,” I told his voice mail. “It’s me. Kidnapping? Bullshit. The kids are safe. You’ll see them when I’m ready.” I hung up. Read more »

About halfway through my second glass of iced tea, my beeper went off. It was a call from St. John’s, so I excused myself to use my cell phone. Afraid my voice would carry too loudly even from there, I took the stairs to the second floor. On the first landing, something caught my eye, an eight-by-ten photo framed an hung on the wall. By then, I was already on the phone, and it was a long conversation; one of my patients was scheduled for angioplasty and Naresh didn’t think it was necessary. It’s rare for me to forget the details of a case, but now I could hardly remember enough to make my argument. After I hung up with him, I figured I should check my messages, and as I half-hoped, half-feared, Charlie had called again. Read more »

In that moment, just hearing Charlie say he had broken up with Zulya wasn’t enough for me. As Anabelle suggested in her comments on my last post, I couldn’t trust him, at least not yet. I needed proof. And an apology.

As I put the phone back in my handbag, I finally took in the picture I’d been staring at. Sure enough, it was a photo of the famous four-person wedding: Dad, Mom, Laura and Leif stood on their dais, joyful but self-conscious. Leif is dressed incongruously in a tuxedo, Dad in a jacket and tie, Mom in a business suit and Laura in a green scoop-necked dress. I imagined that anyone who looked at this picture could tell, by the way their hands are linked, that these are more than friends.

As I absorbed the photograph, my breath shortened. Read more »

Read the previous post.

When Laura said she had more photos of the group marriage, I was surprised by the eagerness in my voice. “Can I see them?” Read more »

Read the previous post.

Thanks for the comments about where I should go. I liked Annie’s idea. Apparently this place where Leif lives has a kind of open-door policy for anyone willing to put in the effort of finding it, somewhere in the North Carolina mountains. Read more »


Without asking me the kids had found the VCR in the living and were watching an old Bill Nye the Science Guy video, about the only video Ivor had in the house. I turned it off and knelt in front of them where they sat on the sofa. Read more »

The trail headed upwards now, and my breath came shorter. I paused to shift Chloe from one arm to the other. “How much further?”

“Not far. You want me to take her?”

I hesitated for a moment. Chloe didn’t like being held by people she didn’t know, but my arms were about ready to give way. “Okay.” I took the bedding from him and he took Chloe from me.

“Want a ride?” Leif said. He held her up to show her his smile, then gently transferred her to his shoulders. She didn’t peep.

“Harmony House,” I said. “That’s where you lived after the breakup?”

“Yes. The den of iniquities where my sons were forbidden to go.” It was the first time his voice had edged away from equanimity since we had arrived in Selu.

“What happened to it?” Read more »

When I woke up it took me a second of staring at the sticks and mud of the ceiling to remember where I was.

Pale light from one small window illuminated the dimness. The fire had died and on the other side of it, Leif had disappeared, his bedding folded neatly. I found my watch and was amazed to see it was after nine; we’d slept for over twelve hours – the longest rest I’d had since… when? Maybe since I was a teenager.

Read more »

I stood. Corinne looked up at me with her placid brown eyes, expecting me to say something more. But at that moment Dante and Chloe appeared, led in by a tall man whose dreadlocks reeked of patchouli oil. I went to find them some food.

The corn harvest started after breakfast, and Chloe, Dante and I headed into the field with our burlap sacks along with everyone else. The work reminded me of my teenage days, planting the vineyard whose fruit I never tasted. I studied the kids for signs of the resentment I’d felt. But they loved the novelty of it, and anyway, all the other kids were working, too; they didn’t want to be left out. We were halfway down our first row, when Chloe asked me if we could invite her daddy and Lucia to come live with us in Selu.

“We’re not going to live here.” I dropped another ear into a burlap sack. “We’re going home in a few days.”

“I don’t want to go home,” Chloe said. Read more »

It was a hot day and the corn went on forever. By the afternoon I was sweating, my hands were chafed and my legs ached. Afterward, while the kids got lessons in how to make corn-husk dolls, I wandered off by myself into the shade along the creek. Read more »

Trust

The kids had indeed been fed, and hardly seemed to have missed me, though in few minutes Chloe rushed up to grab my knees with her applesauce-covered hands. I was just in time to get the last of the tomato and basil salad to go with my corn.

Leif had already slipped out by then. In fact, after our first night in Selu I hadn’t talked much to him. He showed up in his hut long enough to start the fire for us, then he left. It wasn’t hard to figure out he was sleeping with a woman – or women – elsewhere in the commune. Read more »

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