author
  
 
 
 
 

 
 
once more with feeling

She's suffered the very worst of betrayals.

And now Sarah's facing a divorce she never expected.

With Christmas round the corner, what better time to re-evaluate her life? As she reconsiders every choice she's made, she starts to wonder if her life was so perfect after all.

This winter, lose yourself in Sarah's world of unmade decisions, lost friends and old flames...

 

Chapter 1

It could be worse.

I made the words my mantra.  A daily chant, an affirmation—and the best part was that it was true.  It could, in fact, always be worse.  Pestilence.  Famine.  Disease.  Death.

Any of those were much worse, obviously, than my own puny little grief.

There were so many people who got divorced.  Many of them had no idea that their marriages were even in trouble until it was all over, just like me.  I wasn’t the only one, the only fool.  I couldn’t be.  Just like I couldn’t possibly be the only one with the great misfortune to come home unexpectedly and find her spouse in bed with someone else. 

It could be worse.  Couldn’t it?

But I was getting ahead of myself.

I got out of court surprisingly early that day, thanks to a “sewage issue” in the local courthouse I wanted to know as little about as possible, thank you, which meant I had to take a break from fruitlessly arguing Benjy Stratton’s latest DWI charge before the granite-jawed and perpetually outraged Judge Fennimore—who was as unamused by Benjy’s antics as I was now that we were on round three and Benjy was not yet twenty-two.  I headed for my car, breathing in the perfectly blue early September afternoon, and made the command decision not to go back to the little law office that Tim and I had spent the last few years building into a fairly robust practice for Rivermark, New York, if I did say so myself. 

I knew perfectly well that if I showed my face in our converted little Victorian offices of Lowery & Lowery, a few steps from Rivermark’s picturesque town square, the overtly busty and only intermittently helpful office manager Annette would bury me beneath the reams of paperwork she always claimed to need help deciphering. 

Help from me, I thought, expertly roaring along the back roads out of the center of town and up toward the ridge where our house stood sentry.  Never help from Tim. 

Instead of dealing with another conversation about why it wasn’t appropriate for Annette to ask me to “check her work” when both she and I knew perfectly well that always meant I ended up doing it for her and then paying her for the privilege, I decided to stage my own, personal revolution and go home.  Even though it was barely two pm. 

I could catch a yoga class, I thought giddily, kicking off my appropriate court heels the moment I walked through the door of the house Tim and I had spent so much time making into the perfect refuge, up high on the ridge overlooking the pretty valley that was Rivermark, my hometown.

I tossed my jacket on the bench in the front hallway, and debated whether or not to go down the hall into the kitchen to grab something to eat.  I went over the shopping lists in my head—different ones for the local supermarket, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods, of course, because we needed different things from all three—and decided that if I hurried, I could make the yoga class I liked and then treat myself to something delicious at the little coffee place next door afterwards, when I would feel lithe and long and more inclined to choose fruit over the chocolate drenched pastry I actually wanted. 

I started upstairs, thinking about pastries and chocolate and how virtuous yoga would make me feel, and how very much I wanted to feel virtuous after another day spent listening to Benjy Stratton spew out his entitled rich boy views on his own poor decision-making skills.  I also noticed how cool the bare wood was beneath my feet as I walked up the stairs, like some kind of massage. 

There was no sense of foreboding.  At all.

The sad reality is that I simply walked down the upstairs hall, completely unaware, as I’d been doing every day for all three years Tim and I had lived here.  Right past the carefully framed photographs that captured choice moments from Tim’s and my life in all their candid glory.  Our first trip together to his favorite beach down in Delaware.  That first Christmas at his parents’ place in Maryland, when he’d proposed out in their woods surrounded by all that quiet and snow, a whole eighteen months before they’d died so suddenly and heartbreakingly, one right after the next.  And our wedding, of course, that slick and spare affair in a modern loft in Manhattan, filled with all of our New York City friends, so few of whom we saw now that we’d moved way out into suburbia. 

I’d put all of those photos together myself, picking and choosing our memories, making a certain group of three pictures real and representative of who we were, of our life together, while casting another set into dusty purgatory in a box beneath the bed.  I’d had them all framed in complementary distressed woods, looking at once elegant and inviting between the built in bookcases that lined the long hallway.  I had always been the custodian of Tim’s and my relationship mythology—I even thought of myself that way with some measure of pride—but that day, I didn’t look at any of those pictures.  Why would I?  They had long since become a part of the décor.  Just colorful parts of the wall I really looked at only when suffering from some kind of melancholy.  Or PMS.  Or as was too often the case, both.

I walked down the hallway and into our bedroom.  I didn’t hear anything.  I didn’t sense anything.  I thought I was alone in the house, as I should have been, at two o’clock on a random Tuesday.

I was already pulling my blouse off as I went.  I’d dumped the dregs of my coffee on myself earlier that morning on my way into court, and was fuming slightly about our outrageous dry cleaning bill.  But I’d pulled the blouse up and over my face as I walked through the doorway, just as I’d done a million times before, and as I finished yanking it over my head I automatically tossed it toward the bed, the way I always did—

Which was when everything slowed down. Turned to glue.  Stuck.
It was as if the blouse stayed in the air for a long, long time.  I watched it float in a graceful sort of arc, a silken scrap of royal blue, suspended there before me.  I focused on the blouse because what was on the other side of it, what was happening right there on my bed, pale yellow sheets and crisp white comforter strewn this way and that, was impossible. 

Disgusting. 

Impossible.

They had their eyes closed.  Of course they did, I thought, from some kind of paralyzed distance.  You’d want your eyes closed if you were going at it the way they were.  With all of that intensity.  With so much physicality.  I felt as if I was some kind of alien research scientist, flown in from some outlying planet to make notes on this strange couple, who could not have anything at all to do with me. 

Who could not be who I thought they were.

She was on her hands and knees, both hands braced hard against the mattress, making deep grooves in it with her palms.  He was behind her, his body curved over hers, one hand on the mattress beside her and the other wrapped around her slender hip, slamming her back against him.  Again and again.
This must be what it’s like to watch porn on mute, I thought dimly.  I’d always meant to get my porn on as part of the supposed sex-positive third wave of feminism or whatever, but had never got around to actually doing it.  My consequently uneducated impression of porn was that it was supposed to be very loud, filled with all of that desperate moaning and shrieking and oh baby-ing I’d glimpsed in brief moments in sad hotel rooms, but this was not.  They were both breathing hard, their sex-reddened faces screwed up with all of that taut, silent, terrible focus.  And beyond that, there was the faint sound of flesh slapping against flesh.

My blouse hung in the air.

I stood there, frozen solid, not breathing at all.

Until the blouse landed, right on her face, and everything came to a screeching halt.

I realized then that I was half naked, for all intents and purposes. 

This horrified me so much that it was almost as if the rest disappeared.  Almost.  I wanted to cover myself, but I couldn’t seem to move, and the fact that I was partly naked too, that I was exposed like that in only my raggedy old bra with the slightly stained straps I kept meaning to replace—well—that was what finally sent me over the edge.

I screamed.

Because there was, it turned out, no other adequate way to process the fact that I had just walked into my bedroom to find my husband fucking my sister.  My sister.  There was only the screaming.

It could be worse.  I knew it could.  Amputated limbs.  Suppurating sores.  Cancer of everything.

There were other thirty-three year old women who woke up on a Tuesday morning feeling comfortable—even, dare I remember the hubris, pleased—in their little worlds, only to find the whole of it in shattered pieces by nightfall.  Tim was out of the house—a touch dramatically, I could admit, but it turned out that it felt good to throw his fucking clothes out of second story windows on to the driveway below, especially his shoes as they made so much noise—that very same night. 

I couldn’t think about my sister Carolyn and the things she’d screamed back at me without shaking violently and nearly vomiting, so I didn’t.  I couldn’t.

My situation wasn’t even anything special, I told myself as I sat where I’d eventually collapsed, in stunned silence in the empty living room, staring at nothing and still wearing the skirt and pantyhose I’d worn to court beneath the sweatshirt I’d shrugged on to cover myself.  People went through things like this all the time.  Hadn’t someone I hardly remembered from high school posted three different articles on Facebook in the last few months about how infidelity strengthened a marriage?  It was all about weathering the storm, I told myself piously.  Desperately.

That, I could do.  And did.

I assumed that the abrupt and horrible discovery of his tawdry affair would shock Tim back to reality.  I expected that without me in his daily life, he would notice that Carolyn, my faithless sister, older by two years and heretofore obsessed only with herself and the marketing career she’d been let go from eight months ago, was a complete disaster in every possible domestic department.  She’d always been very vocal and proud of her inability to do her own laundry, for God’s sake.  She’d always claimed loudly that her refusal to perform domestic tasks was a feminist act, while I rather thought it had less to do with ideology and more to do with Carolyn not feeling like washing a dish or her own socks and underwear.

Tim had always rolled his eyes and agreed.  But that was before.

While Carolyn could perform doggie-style sex enthusiastically—an image I would now be forced to carry with me to my grave—could she make the dinners Tim liked to have ready for him when he got home?  Buy groceries and keep the house stocked so that she could toss together a dinner for two, six, or eight clients or friends at a moment’s notice?  Make the bed every morning or take care of the house so that an unexpected visit by anyone would never embarrass us?  Do any of the hundreds of things I did daily, none of which Tim even necessarily specifically noticed, yet all of which kept his life running smoothly, prettily, and competently?  All while also maintaining my own career as one half of the practice?
I didn’t think so.

I didn’t even attempt to process what had happened.  What would be the point?  It was un-processable.  It was impossible, and yet it had happened.  I simply sat there on the plush sofa, surrounded by all the things Tim and I had gathered over the course of our seven years together, two years of dating and five years of marriage.  All the detritus of more than half a decade.  The by-products of intimacy.  I threw out all the sheets they’d touched and put that mattress on the curb.  I sat.  I waited.

But Tim did not call.  Carolyn did.  And not with the expected groveling, prostrate, tearing of hair and rending of garments sort of apology, either. 

“I am so sorry,” she said.  Her voice did not sound rough with shame.  Or grief.  Or horror at her own behavior and the pain she’d caused.  She sounded the way she always did.  “I really am.  I never meant to hurt you.”

I was unable to speak.  I wasn’t sure why I’d picked up in the first place.  Anger and betrayal and something else that hollowed out my lungs and sent acid coursing through my belly stole my breath, my words.  I could only stand there at the island in my kitchen, frozen into place with my cell phone clamped to my ear and the refrigerator door swung wide open and abandoned behind me, unable to process what I was hearing.

“I love him,” Carolyn said in that same perfectly normal way of hers.  But it was impossible.  Absurd.  And yet she said it as if in her world, there was a cresting soundtrack and all the right kind of lighting, making her the hero of this moment instead of its villain.  “And he loves me.  I’m sorry.  I really am.”

But she wasn’t sorry enough to stop.  She wasn’t sorry enough to give me back my husband, who, she told me, was staying in one of the bed and breakfasts in town.

With her. 

She wasn’t, I recognized, sorry at all.  Not in any meaningful way.  Not really.

It could be worse, I told myself bitterly as, over the next few weeks, I was forced to come to terms with the fact that Tim appeared to be remaining in that bed and breakfast.  With her.  A step up for Carolyn, who had been riding out her unemployment at my parents’ house.  A step down for Tim, I told myself.  It had to be. 

I attempted to work from home because I didn’t want to go into the office and face him.  Or, worse, the judgmental Annette.  Her inability to ever treat me with one iota of the deference she’d slathered all over Tim struck me now, in retrospect, as a clue I should have heeded.  There I’d been, furious that she wasn’t respecting me as she should, and meanwhile, had she known the whole time that Tim was sneaking around behind my back?  Was that why she’d steadfastly refused to do what I wanted her to do?  Had she assumed that I simply didn’t matter enough—to anyone?

Because that was certainly how it felt.  Even from my parents.

“Oh, Sarah,” my mother said in that sad way of hers that always made me feel as if she thought she was the victim, no matter what the issue was.  She patted my hand as it lay between us on her kitchen table, the house free of Carolyn’s presence but only because she was currently tucked up in bed with my husband, and sighed heavily.  “We don’t condone what Carolyn did, of course, but we don’t want to get involved.  We don’t want to be in the middle.”

I didn’t understand how there was a middle of this to be in, when it seemed like there was a very clear side to choose here—that this was one of the very few situations in life that was not grey at all.  But I had never had any success figuring out what went on in my mother’s head before, so the fact that I couldn’t now?  Not a huge surprise.

I told myself it didn’t even hurt.

And it could be worse, I reminded myself when Tim sat me down for a “friendly chat” about six weeks after he’d moved out, and long after I’d figured out how to navigate going in and out of the office without having to see him—i.e., monitoring his calendar to see when he was in court or out with clients.  It was strange to see him again, after so much had happened.  It was stranger to note that our “friendly chat” had a clear agenda.  It was all about what was fair and what we both knew to be true about our marriage (except I hadn’t known anything, a point he glossed over) and the best way for everyone (by which, it became clear, he meant himself and Carolyn) to get what they wanted out of “this unpleasantness.”

I slouched there in the deceptively uncomfortable faux-leather Starbucks armchair, wearing my post-sister-in-bed-with-husband uniform of ancient grey sweats and a navy blue zip up hooded sweatshirt, breathing in the competing scents of burnt coffee beans and warm milk, while staring at my husband, the man I had chosen to spend the rest of my life with, forced to contemplate the possibility that he was a complete and total stranger to me.  Or, alternatively, a zombie in Carolyn’s evil thrall. 

I preferred the latter explanation, if I was honest.

“I’m sorry,” I said.  I felt as if I choked on the words, but my voice sounded normal enough, if a little unhealthily high.  Also, I wasn’t sorry.  I cleared my throat.  “Did you just call sleeping with my sister ‘this unpleasantness?’”  I laughed slightly.  It felt like a saw and sounded worse.  “Because I can think of other words.”

Tim sighed.  I knew every line of his boyishly handsome face, every single expression he was capable of producing, and I knew that one, too.  I assured myself I was reading him wrong.  Because if anyone had the right to look resigned, it was not him.

“Don’t make this more difficult than it has to be, Sarah,” he said.  Gently, but with that undercurrent of exasperation to which he was not in the least bit entitled.  Then he smiled.  “We’re better than that, aren’t we?”

I was ashamed of how much I clung to that, how much my heart swelled and my breath caught.  His use of the word we. 

Long after we’d separated with an awkward almost-hug in the chilly parking lot, long after I had returned to the empty house on the hill and got back to the important work of hollowing out the perfect position on the sofa cushions to hold me as I brooded and shoved things in my mouth without thought, I still turned it over and over in my head.  We.  A word that did not, could not, had never included Carolyn.  We.

Tim did not call or stop by to reiterate any of the things I felt sure were lurking there in that one, meaningful syllable.  We.  But I still thought it was only a matter of time before the impossibility of living with Carolyn—because he’d told me that, too, that the two of them were now living together in that damned bed and breakfast, right there in the center of town where every single person we knew would be sure to see them—became clear to him.  How could it not?  No one could live with Carolyn.  I had moved down into the largely unfinished basement of our parents’ house in the sixth grade so I would no longer have to share the upstairs bedroom with her mood swings and melodramatic demands.  College and post-college roommates, boyfriends, even that insufferable hippie she’d been engaged to briefly during her strange period in Portland, Oregon—everyone agreed that Carolyn was too selfish, too immature, too adolescent to live with. 

I held onto that when Tim asked to meet again, about two months after he’d moved out, to discuss the quick, no-fault divorce he thought we should get.  As if it was something we could just pick up downtown together from one of the specialty shops, as easy as that.

“It seems to me that there is a fault,” I said after Tim presented me with all the paperwork and explained that this was the best way out of what he called the situation.  As if our marriage was a preposterous guy from New Jersey, all steroids and terrible hair, soon to be discarded and forgotten.  He sat there as if his own faux-leather Starbucks chair was perfectly comfortable, and I had the near-uncontainable urge to throw my not-nearly-foamy-enough pumpkin spice Halloween latte at his head.  “Your fault, in fact.”

I actually thought it was Carolyn’s fault, but I also thought that there was a lot of groveling Tim could do—like, any—before I let him know I understood that.  I had elaborate fantasies of his extended apologies, all of which I would eventually, graciously, accept with varying degrees of longsuffering goodness, and all of which involved him on his knees.  Or prostrate before me on a public street.  In tears, of course.  Begging me to take him back—

“Do we really want to drag all this out?” Tim asked, interrupting my favorite fantasy, which featured him somewhat bruised and battered and writhing on his stomach in the driveway.  In the rain.

He smiled in that way that made his blue eyes dance and his dimples show.  He reached over and put his hand over mine, right there in front of half of the town, and I thawed a little bit, like a fool.  See?  I wanted to shout at all the pricked ears and averted eyes that surrounded us.  See?  We are still a we!  We are!   

“Are we those people?” he asked softly. 

And I still wanted to impress him.  I still wanted to show him that I wasn’t the one who was unreasonable, who made impossible demands.  I could never be those people, whoever they were.  Just like I could never be the notoriously demanding, high-maintenance, haughty and sister-betraying Carolyn.

A week or so after that, Tim and I met to discuss the shape our divorce would take.  It could be so much worse, I told myself as we sat there awkwardly in a more secluded mid-range restaurant this time, a gesture that I found suspicious at best, as Tim was not the sort to think of such things.  I was the partner in our marriage responsible for gestures.  I could feel the controlling, deceitful hand of Carolyn hovering over everything, and told myself that was why I couldn’t bring myself to so much as pick at the warm bread the waiter had delivered to the table in a big, fragrant basket. 

We would save ourselves the trauma of a long, drawn-out, agonizing divorce proceeding, Tim said.  I wouldn’t fight him for anything, he said, right, Sarah?  Because we weren’t like that.  We were reasonable, logical people, and a big battle over hurt feelings—well, who did that serve?  We could share everything.  The law practice too, of course!  Why should our careers take a hit simply because our marriage hadn’t worked out as we’d planned?

We, we, we.  I felt noble.  I nodded along, earnestly.  He’d cheated on me, in my own bed, with my sister, and yet I sat at the tiny table too close to the busy kitchen and felt graciousI’ll show him how reasonable and logical I am, I thought fiercely, as if our divorce was a competition and I could actually win it. 
And I was sure that when this insanity with Carolyn died down, Tim would wake up from this spell he was under and remember just how easy I’d made all of this.  He might even thank me, I thought smugly.  I drove back to our dark, empty home with visions of Tim’s thanks dancing in my head, like bloated pre-Thanksgiving sugarplums.

Shockingly, the thanks didn’t come.

But… it could be worse, right?  Luckily, everyone I knew was appalled.  Scandalized and horrified.  They told me so at the supermarket, at stoplights.  The joys of living in a midsized village in the Hudson Valley were that everyone I met in the course of my day knew the whole of my business.  More to the point, they also knew all there was to know about Carolyn.  And there was so much to know.  Carolyn’s entire history of shocking, self-obsessed, her needs-above-all-else behavior was laid out and dissected in detail over the produce section in the grocery or in the shampoo aisle at the drug store, and, everyone agreed, no one could possibly trust that Tim now that he’d proved himself to be such a terrible judge of character…
 

Until Carolyn announced their wedding plans, to take place in roughly six months, which was, I couldn’t help but note, just about how long it took to get a no-contest divorce in the state of New York.  The minute the divorce goes through, is what she meant when she waxed rhapsodic about a June wedding.  I wondered if there was fancy wording for that sentiment that she could include on the invitations. 

If there was, I felt certain that Carolyn would find it.  And use it, with as much shame as she’d exhibited thus far: none.
 

“I know that somewhere deep inside of you—even if it’s buried right now—you’ll understand that we just want to be happy,” Carolyn confided to my voicemail, as I had stopped taking her calls after that first, horrible one.  “And we want you to be happy too, Sarah.  We really do.”

Which was when I started to think hard about plagues. AIDS, I thought fiercely as I started to think about the laborious process of making a new life for myself when I’d had no hand in dismantling the old one.  Bubonic plague.  Tuberculosis. I thought about insects.  Locusts and bird flus.  Ebola, I chanted to myself as I navigated a hometown, a court house, a gauntlet of clients filled with all those knowing, pitying stares.  Mad cow.  SARS.  Necrotizing Fasciitis.

Because it was getting harder and harder to convince myself that there was anything at all worse than this.

“I think we have to start considering the fact that this is really happening,” Lianne said, carefully, as if I was inordinately fragile and might shatter if she used the wrong tone.  As Lianne was my best and, really, only remaining friend from high school, and had thus known me since we were both infants, I had to consider the possibility that, in fact, I might.  “I don’t think he’s coming back.”
We stood together in Lianne’s bright and inviting kitchen, drinking coffee out of charmingly mismatched ceramic cups that somehow seemed perfectly grown-up and planned, like everything else in her happy life with Billy, who she’d started dating way back in the eighth grade.  We were having our longstanding Wednesday midday coffee date that we’d instituted not long after I’d moved back to town three years ago.  I couldn’t remember the last time either one of us had canceled it.  These days I considered it my lifeline—to a degree I was afraid would make Lianne a bit uncomfortable, were I to tell her.

“It’s okay,” Lianne said in that same gentle way, such a far cry from the usual matter-of-fact briskness that made her such a good nurse in the OBGYN practice where she’d worked for years. 

“We’ll get through this.  We’ll be just fine.  I promise.”

Her use of we, I noted in a kind of dazed amazement, was even more comforting than Tim’s had been.  And also meant exactly what I wanted it to mean—no contortions of reality required. 

“It’s fine,” I said.  It wasn’t.  It was any number of things, many of them in direct opposition to each other and all of them changeable and contradictory, but it certainly wasn’t fine.  And yet I found herself producing a smile, however faint.  “I mean,” I heard myself say.  “It’s not like we’re those people.

Lianne poured some more coffee into my mug even though, after thirty-three years of friendship and the fact that she had given me my first cup of coffee in her parents’ house when we were twelve, she was well aware that I was not the kind of person who liked “topping up” my coffee.  I preferred to fix the whole cup myself, so that it had the perfect ratio of coffee to creamer to sugar.  But Lianne’s brand of nurturing wasn’t about coddling.  It never had been.

“Which people?” she asked, not looking at me.  “The people who argue about every last detail because they’re heartbroken and hurt and trying to fight back the only way they can?”

“Tim and I aren’t like that,” I said with a certain loftiness that I suspected was simply because I looked for any excuse at all to say that these days.  Tim and I.  “We’re not going to make a big circus out of this, whatever happens.”

Lianne blew on her coffee as if she expected it to be scalding.  “Why not?” She looked at me, then away.  “This is the end of a marriage.  Maybe it deserves a circus.”  She shrugged.  “Doesn’t have to be the full three rings, but maybe a clown or two?  Some trapeze artists?  A parade of elephants?”

Thinking of trapeze artists made me think of Carolyn’s rather impressive contortions in bed.  In my bed.  Contortions, I couldn’t help but think, that my body simply wouldn’t perform, yoga or no yoga.  Carolyn was built willowy and bendable.  I was curvier and shorter and significantly less flexible.  I thought of myself as solid.  I wasn’t flashy, like Carolyn.  I kept my more dirty than blonde hair in a sharp, professional bob that I hadn’t cut since That Day.  I wore professional suits that had to pass muster in court.  I didn’t lounge around in tattoos and kohl, like Carolyn.

“Is this supposed to be helpful?” I asked, and I could hear the rage in my voice, but knowing it was unfairly directed at Lianne did nothing at all to dampen it.  “Don’t you think this is humiliating enough?  My fucking sister is sleeping with my husband, planning a June wedding to my husband—”

“I have one question for you,” Lianne said in a calm, wholly unperturbed way that was more effective than slapping a hand across my mouth.  She met my gaze, her own steady and sure.  “And I really want you to think about your answer.”

“Am I tired of you talking to me like I’m a crazy person?” I asked dryly.  “The answer is yes.”

“Are you upset that you lost Tim?”  Somehow, her very calmness made it worse.  “Or are you upset that Carolyn took him?”
           
I spent a lot of time spinning that question around and around in my head.  Luckily, I had nothing but time.  It was increasingly more humiliating to leave the house and see anyone, because every single person in this town knew what had happened to me—what was still happening to me, right this very minute in the bed and breakfast in the center of the village—which meant I had a lot of time to sit alone and brood when I wasn’t working, explaining to Rivermark’s drunk and wealthy why the state of New York was not going to be impressed with their pedigrees.
It was getting harder and harder to cling to my belief that Tim would shake this madness off one day, and come back to me, the way I knew he should.  But I was nothing if not tenacious, hide it though I might beneath the veneer of pathetic despair and questionable dietary choices.  My belief in what should happen, what had to happen, only grew as the days passed—took root and spread wide, created whole forests.  I knew, I just knew, that Tim would come back to me.  He had to.

He had to.

And then came the lovely day two weeks before Thanksgiving when nosy, gossipy Mrs. Duckworth, who had always been such a stalwart supporter of mine, always eager to talk about Carolyn’s numerous trespasses with relish and glee, made that awkward, embarrassed face in the bread and cereal aisle at the supermarket where I had never, not once, seen the faintest hint of my sister.  I had been secretly regarding that as incontrovertible proof that Carolyn’s unholy alliance with Tim was therefore doomed.  Because I knew the earth would be well into another ice age before it occurred to Tim to do the shopping.

“These things do get complicated,” Mrs. Duckworth clucked, holding a family-sized loaf of multigrain bread between her pudgy hands.  I looked down, dazed, to see I’d clenched great big grooves into my own skinny, newly-single person’s baguette.  I forced myself to loosen my grip.  Mrs. Duckworth shrugged.  Guiltily, I thought.  “But it’s different when it’s love, isn’t it?”

Which was when I accepted the fact that maybe it couldn’t actually get much worse, after all.

But, of course, I was wrong about that, too.

 

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Copyright © 2012 by Megan Crane

 

 

 

 
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Once More with Feeling
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Release date: December 6, 2012

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