thoughtwisps One commit at a time

an unexpected reunion

Draft extracts from a novel I started writing around 2012-2013.

Two day’s after Kitty’s death, we gathered at Anne’s. It would have been exactly like in college had we not been in our early 30s, lackluster with the unflattering patina of adulting, and of course for the gaping absence of Kitty.

Leila had flown in from Colorado, Sheryl from London and I drove down from New York where I’d ended up after a few unsuccessful years trying to grow new roots in places that sounded chic but soon gave way to bouts of extreme loneliness, places with names like London, Stockholm and Paris.

Life had scattered us apart in more ways than physical distance and this sudden death had brought us back into close proximity. We sat on the patio of Anne’s suburban Pennsylvania McMansion, drank margaritas and popped some of the pills Sheryl had produced from her Birkin.

To be honest, all of us had been in love with Kitty one way or another. But it was a toxic kind of love, the love one might imagine an ugly woman (or any woman really these days) feels for the photoshopped images in Vogue editorials.

In all of our imaginations, in the curated glimpses that we received of her post-college life, we saw everything that we had hoped to become and didn’t.

I reclined on the sofa and tried to conjure an image of Kitty as I remembered her from the first day of college. Light brown bangs, lavender dress, long slender legs that would soon land her modeling gigs in New York, and Oxford shoes. The kind I imagined she wore when on weekend trips to the summer house in the Hamptons.

I think we - all of us - or me, maybe just me, could have forgiven her her looks, her slender modelesque frame, the inexhaustible and steady supply of money she came from, had she been at least average at something.

But Kitty was ahead of the curve, ahead of the game, in every possible way: stellar grades, good at sports, excellent at dance, lead in school plays.

Well, there had been one way where she was found wanting. Between her front teeth was a large, very noticeable gap. The kind that instantly knocked a few years off her age and gave her an air of eternal innocense.

You had to get that fixed too, didn’t you, I thought into my margarita. It was getting cold on the patio or maybe it was just the company.

Braces for the first 8 months of her freshman year and then she had become truly perfect.

“How’s Will doing? Has anyone checked up on him? We really ought to. He must be devastated, poor thing.”

The voice belonged to Sheryl. She had come straight from the airport after her red eye, but her hair was unruffled, her suit without so much as an errant wrinkle and her eyes well-rested, which made me think she had splurged on a first class. She had been carefully avoiding me since she had stepped into the house.

We hadn’t seen each other since the summer after college when I had broken it off with her in a very public confrontation. A very public confrontation that was diametrically opposed to the well-manicured perfection that she usually was. She would never forgive me and I wasn’t looking for it either.

“He’s taking the kids to Connecticut. His parents are going to take care of them for a while.”

I have, of course, neglected to mention the children, the husband. And the marriage. The marriage in which my misery and heartbreak became crystallised and on display.

I feel that it would be cheating to start there, though. To start there and not go to the beginning where the the threads of life first started intersecting in ways that we would find hard to untangle later.