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here with her, in this small room after all these years. “Have you been happy? Has Norah? And Paul?””I don’t know,” he said slowly. “As happy as anyone ever is, I suppose. Paul’s so smart. He could do anything. What he wants is to go to Juilliard and play the guitar. I think he’s making a mistake, but Norah doesn’t agree. It’s caused a lot of tension.”Caroline thought of Phoebe, how she loved to clean and organize, how she sang to herself while washing the dishes or mopping the floors, how she loved music with her whole heart and would never have a chance to play the guitar. “And Norah?” she asked. “She owns a travel agency,” David said. “She’s away a lot too. Like your husband.””A travel agency?” Caroline repeated. “Norah?””I know. It surprised me too. But she’s owned it for years now. She’s very good at it.”The doorknob turned, and the door swung open a few inches. The curator of the show stuck his head inside, his blue eyes bright with curiosity and concern. He ran one hand through his dark hair nervously, as he spoke. “Dr. Henry?” he said. “You know, there are a lot of people out here. There’s a kind of expectation that’ll you’ll-ah-mingle. Is everything all right?”David looked at fashion rings Caroline. He was hesitating, but he was impatient too, and Caroline knew that in an instant he would turn, adjust his tie, and walk away. Something that had endured for years was ending in this moment. Don’t, she thought, but the curator cleared his throat and gave an uncomfortable laugh titiffany heart bracele , and David said, “No problem. I’m coming… You’ll stay, won’t you?” he said to Caroline, taking her elbow. “I need to get home,” tiffany jewelry store she said. “Phoebe’s waiting.””Please.” He paused outside the door. She met his eyes and saw the same sadness and compassion she remembered from so long ago, when they were both much younger. “There so much to say, and it’s been so many years. Please say you’ll wait? It shouldn’t be long.” She felt sick to her stomach, an uneasiness she couldn’t place, but she nodded slightly, and David Henry smiled. “Good. We’ll have dinner, all right? All this glad talk-I have to do it. But I was wrong, all those years ago. I want more than just the scraps.”His hand was on her arm and they were moving back into the crowd. Caroline couldn’t seem to speak. People were waiting, glancing frankly in their direction, curious and whispering. She reached into her purse and handed David the envelope she’d prepared, with the latest photographs of Phoebe. David took it, met her eyes and nodded seriously, and then a slight woman in a black linen dress was taking him by the arm. It was the woman from the audience again, beautiful and faintly hostile, asking another question about form. Caroline stood where she was for a few minutes, watching him gesture to a photo that resembled the dark branches of a tree, talking to the woman in the black dress. He had been handsome and he was still. Twice he glanced in Caroline’s direction and then, seeing her, turned his attention fully to the moment. Wait, he’d said. Please wait. And he’d expected that she would. The sick feeling rose up in her stomach again. She didn’t want to wait; that was it. She’d spent too much of her young life waiting-for recognition, for adventure, for love. It wasn’t until she’d turned with Phoebe in her arms and left the home in Louisville, not until she packed up her things and moved away, that her life had really begun. Nothing good had ever come to her from waiting. David was standing with his head bent, nodding, listening to the woman with dark hair, the envelope clasped in his hands, behind his back. As she watched, he reached up and put the envelope casually in his pocket, as if it contained something trivial and mildly unpleasant-a utility bill, a traffic ticket. In moments she was outside, hurrying down the stone steps into the night. It was spring, the air crisp and damp, and Caroline was too agitated to wait for the bus. Instead she walked quickly, block after block, oblivious to the traffic or the people passing or even the slight danger involved in being out by herself at this hour. Moments came back to her, in swirls and glimpses, strange disconnected details. There had been a patch of dark hair over his right ear, and his fingernails had been clipped down to the quick. Square-tipped fingers, she remembered those, but his voice had changed, become more gravelly. It was disconcerting: the images she’d kept in her mind all this time had altered the moment she had seen him. And for herself? How had she seemed to him tonight? What had he seen, what had he ever seen, of Caroline Lorraine Gill? Of her secret heart? Nothing. Nothing at all. And she’d k fashion rings nown that too, she’d known it for years, ever since the moment outside the church when the circle of his life had closed against her, when she had turned and left. In some deep place in her heart, Caroline had kept alive the silly romantic notion that somehow David Henry had once known her as no one else ever could. But it was not true. He had never even glimpsed her. She had walked five blocks. It had started to rain. Her face was wet, her coat and shoes. The chill night seemed to have entered her, seeped beneath her skin. She was near a corner when a 61B squealed to a stop and she ran to catch it, brushing off her hair, sitting on the cracked plastic of the seat. Lights, neon, and the watery red blur of headlights moved across the windows. The early spring air was cool and damp on her face. The bus lumbered through the streets, picking up speed as it reached the dark stretches of the park, the long low hill. She got off in the center of Regent Square. A roar, shouts, swelled out of the tavern as she passed, and through the glass she glimpsed the shadowy figures of the players she’d seen earlier, glasses in their hands now and fists pumping in the air as they gathered around the television. Light from the jukebox cast stripes of neon blue across the arm of the waitress as she turned from the table nearest the window. Caroline paused, the wild adrenaline rush of her meeting with David Henry suddenly gone, dissipating into the spring night like mist. She felt her own isolation acutely, the figures in the bar joined by a common purpose, the people moving around her on the sidewalk drawn along the lines of their lives to places she could not even imagine. Tears rose in her eyes. The television screen flickered and another cheer swelled through the glass. Caroline moved off, jostling a woman carrying a paper sack of groceries, stepping over a pile of fast-food trash someone had left on the sidewalk. Down the hill and then up the alley to her house, the city lights giving way to those so well known and so familiar: the O’Neills, where a golden glow spilled out over the dogwood tree; the Soulards, with their dark stretch of garden, and finally the Margolis lawn, moonflowers growing wild up the hillside real tiffany jewelry on sale in the summertime, beautiful and chaotic. Houses in a row like so many steps down a hill and then, finally, her own. She paused in the alley, looking at her tall, narrow house. She had closed the blinds, she was sure of it, b return to tiffany ut now they were open and she could see clearly through the dining room windows. The chandelier glowed over the table where Phoebe had spread out her yarns. She was bent over the loom, moving the shuttle back and forth, calmly, intently. Rain was curled on her lap, a fluffy orange ball. Caroline watched, worried at how vulnerable her daughter seemed, how exposed to the world that swirled so mysteriously in the darkness behind her. She frowned, trying to remember that moment-her hand turning the narrow plastic stick and the blinds falling closed. Then she glimpsed a movement deeper in the house, a shadow shifting beyond the French doors to the living room. Caroline silver bead bracelet caught her breath, startled but not yet alarmed, and then the shadow took shape and she relaxed. This was no stranger but only Al, home early from his travels, puttering through the house. She was surprised and strangely gladdened; Al had been taking more jobs and was often gone two weeks a antique tiffany jewelry t a time. But here he was; he had come home. He had opened the blinds, giving her this moment to savor, this glimpse of her life, contained within these brick walls, framed by t wholesale tiffany jewelry he buffet she had refinished, the ficus tree she had not yet managed to kill off, the layers of glass and paint she’d washed so lovingly all these years. Phoebe glanced up from her work, staring unseeing out the window at the dark wet lawn, running her hand along the cat’s soft back. Al walked through the room, holding a cup of coffee in one hand. He stood beside her and gestured to the rug she was weaving with his cup. It was raining harder now, her hair was soaked, but Caroline didn’t move. What had been an emptiness outside the tavern window, a bleak vacancy real enough and fearful, was banished by the sight of her family. Rain hit her cheeks and streaked down the windows, beaded on her good wool coat. She took off her gloves and fumbled in her purse for her keys, tiffany jewelry sale then realized that the door would be unlocked. In the darkness of the lawn, as the eternal cars swooshed past on the freeway, their headlights catching in the dense lilac bushes she’d planted as a screen so many years ago, Caroline stood still a moment longer. This was her life. N claddagh ring ot the life she had once dreamed of, not a life her younger self would ever have imagined or desired, but the life she was living, with all its complexities. This was her life, built with care and attention, and it was good. She shut her purse, then. She climbed the steps. She pushed the back door open and went home. IIi HE WAS A PROFESSOR OF ART HISTORY AT CARNEGIE MELLON?, and she was asking him about form. What is beauty? she wanted to know, her hand on his arm, guiding him across the gleaming oak floors, between the white walls on which his photos hung. Is beauty to be found in form? Is meaning? She turned, and her hair swung back; she swept it behind her ear with one hand. He stared down at her, at the white part in her hair, at her smooth pale face. “Intersections,” he said mildly, glancing back to where Caroline lingered by a photo of Norah on the beach, relieved to see her still there. With an effort, he turned back to the professor. “Convergence. That’s what I’m after. I don’t take a theoretical approach. I photograph what moves me.””No one lives outside of theory!” she exclaimed. But she paused in her questions then, eyes narrowing, lightly biting the edge of her lip. He couldn’t see her teeth but he imagined them, straight and white and even. The room swirled around him, voices rose and fell; in an instant of silence he became aware that his heart was pounding, t jewelry shop hat he still held the envelope Caroline had given him. He glanced across the room again-yes, good, she was still t antique tiffany jewelry here-and tucked

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