- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
But the person Cynthia surely does not want to see, who always makes her uncomfortable, is James Russell Lowell Byrd, father of Melanctha. Russ, who was once a famous poet and a playwright, now just writes screenplays, sometimes -- he was the true reason that Cynthia and Harry moved to Pinehill in the first place: Cynthia wanted to meet the poet, she loved his words. And a few years later it had happened, they had had the affair that she had always had in mind. Which had been terrific, in its way, but all that is left of it now is social embarrassment. Discomfort at seeing each other. Russ must feel it too, she is sure, along with guilt; it happened so soon after the death of SallyJane, his wife, mother of Melanctha -- poor SallyJane with the overlarge bosom, who drank too much and then died of the shock treatment they gave her for depression. Now Russ is married to Deirdre, who used to be the most beautiful girl in town, and who had a little boy with Russ before they were married, and now has a little baby girl, unaccountably named SallyJane. Cynthia sighs, and she thinks for the thousandth time, I will never understand the Southern mind, not in any way.
Cynthia does not want to see Russ, nor her supposed best friend, Dolly Bigelow (Dolly is just too idiotic, some of the time) -- nor Jimmy Hightower, another "dear friend," a former Oklahoma oilman who with Russ's help wrote one best-seller. The person she would actually like to see is Esther, Jimmy's wife, who is in New York now doing something with Jewish refugees.
She was glad, Cynthia was, that none of the grown-ups have chosen to wear their bathing suits. They're mostly too old and too fat, a lot of them. Dolly Bigelow is very plump, and her husband, Willard, too; Deirdre Byrd is truly fat (could she possibly be pregnant again? Russ has this crazy thing about birth control: SallyJane told several people that, and Cynthia had what you might call firsthand knowledge). Curiously, the men looked better than the women did: Russ looked really okay (all that time at Hollywood swimming pools, probably), and Jimmy Hightower's exactly the same as always. Cynthia thought then with a pang of guilt and longing of Harry, so trim and elegant in his Navy things -- and then of Derek, so very tall and thin, in his belted trench coat, with his pipe.
By mid-afternoon, no one had really drunk too much except Deirdre Byrd; she did not seem exactly tight, but Cynthia had observed her: lots and lots of gin-and-tonics, there in the waning sun, in the warm smell of grass and flowers and chlorine. Dolly Bigelow had also been aware of Deirdre's drinking, and Cynthia had observed Dolly watching Deirdre. Dolly and Cynthia viewed each other with equal parts of suspicion and affection.
Dolly suspected that a while back there was something going on between Cynthia and Russ Byrd, not long after SallyJane died. About the time that Dolly and Cynthia opened that little store, with some things that Odessa had made along with things by white ladies too, from out in the country. The store didn't work out too well, and probably if they'd've kept it, the war would've finished it anyway. But: Cynthia and Russ. How could a thing like that have come to any good? Lord knows Dolly was no prude, but she really didn't hold with married folk carrying on, you're supposed to keep the promises you made in church. Russ Byrd is a handsome man all right, but then so is Harry Baird, especially now in his naval uniform. How many handsome men does Cynthia need -- what is she, some kind of a nymphomaniac? Besides, Dolly never had what you might call evidence, just a hunch from their ways of looking at each other, of saying each other's name.
"This is just the best rice salad I have ever tasted," Dolly said to Cynthia. "You sure have taught Odessa a thing or two," and she smiled, very sweetly.
Cynthia suspected that as usual Dolly was wearing falsies inside her dress, and for what, for whom? Certainly not foggy Willard, her boring husband, who taught Greek and Latin at the local college; she doubted that Willard had had a sexual thought in his head or anywhere else for fifteen or sixteen years, which was how old their younger boy was. She smiled back at Dolly as she told her, "I made it myself, actually. But I'm sure Odessa could have done it better."
Cynthia believed that in some private and half-conscious way Dolly had it in for Odessa, and not just because Odessa was "colored" and Dolly was a Southern woman; it was more personal than that. As though Odessa was not really "Negro" enough for Dolly.
Unlike the lawns, the rest of the garden and the planting around the pool have done well. Flowering sweet-smelling privet thrived, and the lilac bushes that Cynthia, missing New England, insisted on. Next spring they will bountifully, beautifully bloom -- assuming that we're all here next spring, thought Cynthia, who was not at all sure what she meant. Nothing to do with the war, probably; she did not think that Hitler would win in Europe and then come over here with his Blackshirts and Storm Troopers and concentration camps. Although some people seemed to believe just that; Cynthia's friend Esther Hightower seemed to believe it. But Cynthia's sense of impermanence had more to do with the fragility of personal connections, specifically her own: with Harry, who was doing God-knows-what in London, and with Abigail, her very own and only daughter, always so independent, so intelligent. And now off to Swarthmore, so far away, difficult to get back from there, what with wartime transportation.
And then there was Derek, with whom anything at all could happen, or, just as possibly, nothing.
Posted May 26, 2012
(After the dark forest attcks thunderclan.) Brambecw padded to the Moonpool. Jayfeather sat down the the edge of the pool. Jayfeather heard fur brush stone as Brambleclaw layed down beside the water. "Drink the water." Jayfeather meowed to Brambleclaw. Brambleclaw lapped up the water. Jayfeather crouched down and walked in Brambleclaws dream. Before he did he thought 'I hope I see Hollyleaf.' Jayfeathers sister had died in the Dark Forest war. Jayfeather leaped into Brambleclaws dream. In the dream Jayfeather hid in the bushes. They were at the island were the Clans met at the full moon. Brambleclaw was standing in the clearing alone. Suddnly the stars above them started to swirl around. They seemed to loop to the ground. Once the reached the ground they dissappeared and in their place were cats. Yellowfang, Goldenflower, Hollyleaf, Feathertail, Bluestar, Whitestorm, Mousefur and Ferncloud. Last of all was Firestar. They crowded in a circle around Brambleclaw. More StarClan cats arrived. Once they were all there all the cats meowed as one. "Welcome Brambleclaw. Are you ready?" They meowed as on Jayfeather stared at the crowed searching them for familer faces. "Yes." Brambleclaw meowed. Jayfeather could tell he was trying not to sound weak. "I'm ready." Goldenflower came foreward. She was a pale ginger she cat with amber eyes like Brambleclaw. "Goldenflower!" Brambleclaw exclaimed. Goldenflower stayed silent. She touched her nose to his. "With this life i give you protection. Use it to protect your Clan as a mother protects her kits." She meowed. Brambleclaw closed his eyes and stiffened as th life flowed through him. Goldenflower padded back to the crowed and melted in. The next cat was Hollyleaf. Jayfeather forced himslef to stay where he was. "With this life i give you courage." She whispered. "Use it well in defense of your Clan." Brambleclaw stared at Hollyleaf. She touched her nose to his head. Brambleclaw stiffened again. As Hollyleaf padded back again he called,"Wait do you have a message?" But she ignored him. The third cat was Ashfur. "With this life i give you justice. Use it well to judge the actions of your Clanmates." He meowed. He pressed his nose to Brambleclaws head. This time brambleclaw seemed prepared for whatever he felt. The fourth was Ferncloud. "With this life i give you loyalty. Use it to guide your Clan in times of trouble." She touched her nose to his. Brambleclaw shook his pelt once the pain seemed to be gone. Another cat came foreward. Runningwind. The name flashed in Jayfeathers mind. "With this life i give you tireless energy. Use it to carry out the duties if a leader." Brambleclaw just closed his eyes. The sixth cat was Yellowfang. "With this life i give you mentoring. Use it to train the young cats of the Clan." She rasped as she touched her nose to his. Cinderpelt came foreward. "With this life i give you love. Use it well for the cats in your care." She whispered. The next cat with Feathertail. "With this lifei give you compassion. Use it for the elders of the Clan the sick and the ones weaker then you." Brambleclaw stiffened as thoigh unprepared. Firestar stepped foreward. "Welcome Brambleclaw. My apprenrice my warrior and my deputy. I always knew you would make a good leader." Brambleclaw bowed his head. "With this life i give you nobility. Use it well to lead your Clan." At this Jayfeather left the dream. (Next post in the second book.)
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.