The Story's End

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“Can You Stop By The House Today? Say At About Two?”

Kerry was in bed when she heard Suzanne’s phone ring. Her wife planned on going out for an easy five-mile run; she was still in recovery mode from the Olympic Trials Marathon the weekend before. In Atlanta, Suzanne and other women—strangers mostly—banded together to deal with the wind and the hills on the course for the first twenty miles of the race. At that point, the group began to splinter as the stronger picked up the pace and the less strong, Suzanne (who had not done the training required to race a marathon but chose to do enough to survive) among them, drifted over the final six-plus miles alone in what runners refer to as “no man’s land.” Suzanne, though, was pleased with her sub-three-hour finish—2:53.34—and she and Kerry and the others had a blast in the post-race celebrations and on the Sunday afternoon flight back to New York.

So a nice, easy five-miler up the parkway path before Kerry got up on Saturday was the order of the day. Kerry would probably or at least possibly be up by then and coffee might be ready when Suzanne got home.

It was shortly after eight, and Suzanne was almost out the door when her mother, Kate, called. Then Suzanne bound up the steps.

“You are not going to believe this?”


“I don’t know.”

To Kerry’s puzzled look, Suzanne said, “It was my mother.”

“I figured. Is she okay?”

“I think so. But she asked if we could come up to Simon’s house at two.”


“The strange thing. She asked that we get dressed up for it.”

“That can mean only one thing.”

“I think you’re right.”

“I wonder who else is summoned?”

It did not take long to find out. Kerry’s phone rang.

“Did you hear?”

“Hear what, Mom?”

“About Kate and Simon.”

“Suzanne just got a call from Kate.”

“What do you think?”

“It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. It is.”

And so no one was surprised when upon reaching Simon’s house—soon to be Simon and Kate’s—they found the living room festooned with flowers and an Episcopal priest in attendance. When the group was assembled, after Simon told them that in these crazy times he saw no reason to delay being with the woman he loved, Simon Douglas and Kate Pugh got married.

Andres Doyle:
All the Weddings in the World
...and None of Them is Mine




My family is one extended Austen novel. A PBS dream. The wedding I was in Lenox, Massachusetts for was if my calculation is right the fifth in the last three years. I am the last one standing. Even Suzanne’s mother Kate spontaneously got married in a big house in Greenwich just the prior Saturday.

I am Andrea Doyle. My dream of my wedding was shattered last year when the man I wanted to and expected to marry told me when he was supposed to be proposing to me that he found somebody to love and that she was not named Andrea Doyle. He has not married her, so far as I have heard, but then again I have not found someone to love myself.

What brought on this harangue was my brother Jamie. I was in an inn in Lenox the night before he married his long-time love and roommate Jennifer Astor. We were in Lenox because Jennie’s parents, retired M.D.s from the city, lived nearby. They, Jamie and Jen, planned on a bigger wedding in May, but with the coronavirus concerns, they opted for a smaller affair near her parents’ place.

It was a very nice inn, and the innkeepers were glad to have me and my friends, Kerry and Suzanne. I say “friends” because I am not sure what the technical word is for our relationship. If you have read this far, you know that Kerry’s mom married my dad after Kerry married Suzanne.

We three were the only ones in the inn. It had a somewhat spooky feel but also gave the sense of what it was like to be in Lenox in the Gilded Age, what with a paneled library and large drawing-room in a baby-blue pastel walls with a high ceiling and large arched windows that overlook and drapes that frame a well-tended garden. Though since it was March, it was too early for any blossoming, or green for that matter. It was the site of the ceremony.

We had a family dinner on Friday, the thirteenth, at a restaurant in town. There, too, we were the only guests. When Kerry, Suzanne, and I returned, we brought perhaps three-quarters of a bottle of good red wine with us and set ourselves up in that drawing-room. The lovebirds sat on the couch, exchanging glances and touches as they are wont to do, while I was across from them in an armchair. I had my stockinged feet on the coffee table, and we talked. The innkeepers were in their rooms on the third floor and left us undisturbed after they set out some chocolates.

I do not know why. Perhaps the inn. Perhaps the wine. Perhaps the imminence of my brother’s wedding. But I spoke about my mom. Wendy Doyle.

My mom was my best friend. By far. I was her only daughter. Eileen—Kerry’s mom and my stepmom—is very different from my mom, but my father is in love with her in a way that is different from but just as true as it was with my mom.

I cannot say there was necessarily anything special about my relationship with my mother. Except that it was my relationship with my mother. What was different was my telling Kerry and Suzanne that no one understood how much I miss her. She died of ovarian cancer in 2014. I was twenty-two and just graduated from college, preparing for med school.

There was not much to say other than how much I pined for her to be around for the little things and the big things. Much as I adored my father, he was not her. So I stopped talking to the girls, afraid I embarrassed them. After a minute, with all of us drinking from our glasses and after we heard the grandfather clock in the hall strike the quarter-hour, Kerry spoke. Her father died when she was sixteen, but she said he was sick for a while and that her mom, Eileen, is what helped her make it through.

“I don’t know. My Mom would be different. But I don’t think of my dad that often. I know that sounds cold, but it is how I feel.”

Suzanne gave Kerry a kiss. “Well, you guys know too well my screwed-up family. My father might as well be dead, especially now that my Mother married Simon. I still hold out hope—”

“Don’t hold your breath, babe,” Kerry interrupted.

“No. Really. If my Mother could come around, there’s hope that he will, too. Look what happened with my Uncle Edward and Aunt Jennie.”

Suzanne’s Uncle Edward reconciled with Suzanne in New York some months earlier and Edward’s wife Jennie shortly followed suit.

“Look.” This was Kerry again. “I am not saying it cannot or will not happen. I am only saying that it probably will not. I hope I am wrong.”

“Still,” Suzanne continued, “I do not know what would have happened if my Mother did not come to New York. She was cold to me growing up. If you were to ask me whether I cared about her reconciling with me, I probably would have told you I didn’t. In retrospect, though, now I cannot imagine life without her nearby. It’s like she’s a different person from when I left San Francisco.”

“And your father?” This was me.

“Right now, he is kind of in the same position my Mother was in before she came to me. I am not exactly indifferent to him and his existence, but I do not lose sleep about him. As Kerry says, I hope but I do not have an expectation. If that makes sense.”

Kerry leaned against her wife. “That makes sense, love,” and she ran a hand across Suzanne’s stomach.

I said, “But however different they may be, they are our parents. Even as adults, they are our parents. For good or bad.” I was in a pontificating and contemplative mood.

“Sometimes when I visit Chappaqua,” I said, “I see or hear something, maybe even smell something, and suddenly I think of her. It doesn’t happen as often as it did at first. Then it was terrible. Everything reminded me of her. Now it is almost random. When I was last there, it was the field where she always watched my horrible soccer games. A bunch of kids were playing in the same-colored uniforms we wore, and I could almost see her in the stands. It made me sad. I thought of some of the mothers sitting in those stands and wondered whether any of them would be taken too young and how her daughter would ever recover from it.” I took a slow but long drink from my glass.

The two girls were like sisters to me. Without thinking, I spoke to them of things I never told anyone else. Whether it was the conclusive termination of my curiosity about lesbianism or the day Jack Olson, M.D., S.O.B., P.O.S., dumped me in a hospital cafeteria or now when I was drunk and feeling a wee bit sorry for myself but needing to open myself up. I had these two.

But soon I at least also had a combination of a light head, a desperate urge to urinate, and a stomach somewhat at risk of exploding—and I mean that literally and since I am a doctor I would know—and it looked like Kerry and Suzanne were upright solely because they were leaning against one another. I would give my kingdom for a burly man to lift me to my bed and just leave me there but seeing how that was unlikely I pushed myself up from the arms of the chair and announced to the girls that I at least was retiring for the evening. I actually said, “retiring for the evening,” and they both giggled. Kerry said, “Save yourself and bury us together” as I left the room and struggled up the amazingly steep and surprisingly wide staircase. “Tomorrow is another day” indeed.

Somehow I made it to my room. I brushed at least some of my teeth and got into bed, though I did not get out of my underwear since I was in my bra and panties when I heard a banging on the door. It was the woman innkeeper so I am sure she was not banging, but it sure sounded like banging to me.

“Dr. Doyle. It is eight o’clock. You asked to be awakened.”

She knocked a second, or perhaps a third, time.

“Dr. Doyle. Are you alive?”

Her voice was a mix of concern and amusement.

“I’m up,” I somehow managed to say.

“Very good. I will just get the other girls, shall I?”

She was gone, and I dragged myself out of bed. Which is when I realized I was wearing my, frankly, fetching lingerie. Yes, when out of town, hope springs eternal. Even in western Massachusetts in mid-March.

As I said, the wedding was to be in the inn’s garden. In addition to the bride and groom and we Tres Amigas, there would be Jen’s folks and her sister Abby and my dad and Eileen plus several people from their jobs, including the best man and maid-of-honor. It would start at eleven, and there would be a small luncheon afterward.

Before that, though, there was something I had to do.

It was about eight-twenty. I sat in the dining room with a black coffee and scrambled eggs and toast, prepared by our host. I needed the caffeine to wake up and the eggs and toast to keep me going for the ceremony. As I ate, I heard Kerry and Suzanne come down the stairs. The pair looked almost as bad as I felt. Kerry was the most chipper of all three of us. Annoyingly so.

“I need to borrow your car,” I said when they sat with their coffees, waiting to say how they wanted their eggs. Suzanne was already several bites into a Danish.

“I’m sorry. Why do you need to borrow the car?” Kerry asked.

“I’ll be back in plenty of time. There’s…There is something I need to do.”

The two looked at one another until Suzanne got up, took a sip of her coffee, and went to their room. While she was gone, I told Kerry I needed to speak to my brother about something important.

Her eyes got big. “Just tell me it is not some family secret or something about Jennie like you have test results and she only had forty-eight hours to live or that she is your long-lost sister.”

“I need to talk to him about our mom. Like I did with you. I need to know his feelings for her. We’ve never shared. And I just think it is important that we both know.”

“Know what?” Suzanne asked as she returned.

“I’ll tell you in a minute, love,” Kerry said.

I quickly finished my coffee and got up and gave Suzanne a peck on the top of her head in exchange for the car key as I hurried, insofar as I was capable of hurrying, to get my purse.

Jennie’s folks’ place was a couple of towns south. It did not take long to get there. Her father had the door open before I reached the porch.

“Is something wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong. Don’t worry. I just need a minute with Jamie.”

He hesitated a moment, before telling me to come in and make myself at home while he got my brother.

“There’s fresh coffee in the kitchen,” he said, but I had enough even were my insides up to any more.

It was about eight-fifty. Showtime in just over two hours. Jamie entered the living room. In his jeans and a T-shirt and with wet hair. Barefoot. He looked very concerned.

“What’s wrong?”

I rushed to him and hugged him. We are not a hugging family. I hugged him.

I told myself on the drive down that I would not, but I could not withhold the tears.

“It is about mom,” I said as I pushed away.

“What about mom?”

“I miss her so much. And I thought about her last night and I talked to Kerry and Suzanne about her when we got back to the inn and I had more wine than I should have—we all did—and I told them how much I miss her and that she was my best friend and I never told anyone that and I realized that I never spoke to you about that and it wasn’t right or fair that I hadn’t so I had to come here to tell you so you would know and so I would know that you missed her too.”

At some point in this stream, his hands gripped my arms lightly and when I was done I realized that I had not told him how much I love him but I could not tell him because I used up all of my words and could only sob as he pulled me closer and then his arms encircled me.

He kissed my hair.

“Is that all?”

He pushed me away to look at my face. I sniffled as I got control of my tears.

“‘Is that all?’ I bare my soul to you and that is all you can say? ‘Is that all?’’

He quickly understood that I was teasing. He sat me down and was next to me on the couch.

“I miss her all the time. But I know it is not like for you. That’s the nature of parents. Boys and their fathers. Girls and their mothers. I know how important she was to you and I have always known how much you miss her. We all do.”

“I am sorry I’ve ruined your wedding.”

He put his fingers below my chin and lifted my head.

“You would only ruin my wedding if you didn’t come.”

“You are so full of shit.”

“Hey. You burst in a couple of hours before I am to get married like Dustin Hoffman, and I’m full of shit. And you need to watch your language.”

And he was right about that last thing and he was right about my mother and us as a family and I hugged him one final time before getting up and reminding him that he, yes, was to be married in a few hours so he had better get his ass in motion so he was not late.

I left as abruptly as I had come, shouting, “See you later” to the house as I went and hurried to the girls’ Subaru so I could be sure not to be late for my own brother’s wedding. And I was not.

Best of all, I got to mingle with the best man who, by luck, happened to be unattached and very handsome.

William Nelson’s Last Chance for Redemption

On the final Monday of winter 2020, William Nelson, a middle-aged man who was one of Silicon Valley’s most consulted lawyers, sat on a bench across from Starbucks and Baskin-Robbins in an affluent New York suburb. He had never been to the village. The sun was out but the air was chilled, and he watched the people pass by as he sipped his Caffè Americano, studying the faces hoping to see his daughter, Suzanne Neally.

He had not spoken to her since his surprise visit to her Manhattan office a year-and-a-half earlier. When she took him to a nearby park and ignored his attempt to convince her to return to California. This was shortly before she married Kerry Neally. He barely began his rehearsed and carefully chosen words about saving her soul and returning her to where she belonged that September when she stopped him. She was a rock, oblivious to whatever he planned for her. He could not accept that she was a lesbian. His faith would not allow it.

But she would not go with him. Her last words were, “I’ll leave the door open. But you will not walk through until you tell me that, with all your heart and with all your faith, you accept me and you love me for who I am. Not despite who I am. For what I am.” The words hung over him every moment since.

Since then, he had no communication with her. His only contact was when she was in his town for the wedding of a friend. He stood near the entrance to the church where the wedding took place and saw her and who he assumed was her wife walk from a limousine to the entrance, where Suzanne would be the maid-of-honor. They did not know he was there.

What happened destroyed his family. His wife, Kate, followed his daughter and received a civil divorce—they would never be divorced, as far as William was concerned, in the eyes of his Church—and moved to New York. She married another man a little over a week before the morning he was sitting across from that Starbucks. His son, too, was gone, to Yale instead of Stanford and not returning in the year-and-a-half since.

William long thought Kate gave up too easily. She, too, went to New York to retrieve Suzanne but had been won over by Suzanne and the family of Suzanne’s fiancée.

He was no saint since Kate, Suzanne, and Eric left him. He abused Maya Yang, a young lawyer he mentored, convincing her that he was interested in her but throwing her out when he finished having intercourse with her. He was fortunate that word of that had not circulated in San Francisco legal circles. He never found out what happened to her, but he carried guilt for it.

William had sexual liaisons with other women. Women he paid. Who trolled San Francisco hotels. Who would do things to him, and allow him to do things to them, that he fantasized about when he was married but never did. Then he could not do even that. He found he could not get an erection with a $1,000 whore in his suite in a Chicago hotel. The failure happened again in a San Francisco hotel a month or so before he was in New York.

This news of Kate’s marriage came to William from Devlin Pugh, one of his brothers-in-law. The Pughs were, by default, William’s only family, and they were split into pro-William/anti-Kate and pro-Kate/anti-William camps. The Church’s teachings were clear. Yes, the Pope said it was not for him to judge, but William knew God had judged and God condemned sexual activity between two women. God condemned what his sister Elizabeth did, and her parents, and he, properly disowned her. God condemns what his daughter was doing with the woman to whom she believed she is married. Kerry Neally. The woman who was with his daughter when he watched from outside the church where Annie Baxter married a man not long before.

Shortly after he was told of Kate’s marriage, and the day before he sat on that bench, William drove up to visit her parents, about an hour north of where he lived. They were joined by the two of Kate’s siblings who resisted accepting Suzanne, and their spouses.

Kate’s marriage unsettled them all. Yes, they were clear about Suzanne and her sins. But Kate’s marriage somehow made everything permanent. Kate was not coming back. Suzanne was not coming back. Kate’s parents had several other grandchildren (though Suzanne was their favorite). They had a full house for Christmas and Thanksgiving and an annual get-together over Memorial Day Weekend. And Kate and Suzanne and even Eric inevitably were a subject of conversation, with words of regret for their having made the decisions they made.

“She’s your wife, William. You are again the one wronged here.” Kate’s father said, looking at his son-in-law as the group sat around the living room. “Comfortable” was the only word to describe the room, with well-worn chairs and a recently re-covered sofa. Pictures of the family were scattered about with one of Kate with Suzanne taken at their granddaughter’s Stanford graduation given a slight but noticeable prominence. It was clear that someone took it off its shelf regularly.

“Let her go,” said Debbie Pugh O’Neil, Kate’s sister, again. She was the hard-liner among them.

“That is easy for you to say,” William told her. “It is not your family that we’re talking about.”

“Of course it’s my family. But I will not allow…this to destroy us. She made her choice and that’s—”

“What about Suzanne? Are you saying that it was her choice too?”

“It was not her choice to be what she is. It is her choice to refrain from sinning. It is God’s test.”

William had heard it all before.

“And she has failed His test,” he said. “And we are to just abandon her. What about Kate? She is no sinner. She is doing what we are supposed to be doing. Tending to her daughter. What I am supposed to be doing.”

“And now she is a bigamist,” Kate’s mother said about her daughter.

“Please, mother. We are not going through this again,” Debbie said. “All we can do is pray for them and be welcoming to them when they come back.”

“What don’t you understand? They are not coming back. They are gone. I saw Suzanne and her…wife when they came for that wedding in Mill Valley. Edward saw her in New York. And Lizzie went to Suzanne’s wedding, for God’s sake. And now neither Lizzie nor Edward are welcome here.”

“Of course they are welcome,” Kate’s father said.

“No, they are not. Admit it. Suzanne is happy. She is happy, and now her mother is happy with another man. And they are happy.”

“But it is their choice. They have made it.” Devlin was protecting his sister from William’s onslaught.

Debbie said, “Don’t you get it, William? They are happy the way Eve was happy when she tasted the fruit. But they are destined to suffer for their quote-unquote happiness.”

Debbie was right. They had this conversation countless times. They rehashed the same ideas and they did it in part so they would reinforce each other’s faith. That, as Debbie said yet again, was all they could do, pray and be ready when the prodigals returned.

That day, though, William understood the absurdity of it all. Kate’s marriage did that. He was not to the place that Kate reached, of rejecting the belief that her God could be so cruel to her child, which caused her to leave the Church. William once thought God was testing him, tempting him to cast aside his faith in favor of his blood and he once was proud that unlike his wife he did not do so.

But he was a man and he was a father and he was a husband. And he was miserable in all three capacities. He might have killed himself except for it being a sin, which would be ironic because he would have killed himself because he refused to commit a much less grave one, of loving his child. Such were the depths of his despair.

As he drove south late that afternoon, he was concerned that flights, even domestic flights, might be canceled because of coronavirus. If that happened, he feared that he would not do what he knew he had to do.

His trip was spontaneous and probably inevitable. When he was through the door of the house in Mill Valley, he went to his computer and found a red-eye flight from San Francisco. It left at midnight and got into New York at about 8:30 the next morning. As far as he could tell, the flight was going. It was nearly empty, and he booked a seat in first class and drove to the airport.

On the plane, he declined offers of alcohol and quickly fell asleep. Only when the plane was on its final approach to JFK did he wake.

He had no luggage, only a backpack he filled with toiletries and a change of underwear. He booked an afternoon ticket home. When he reached the terminal he pulled out his phone and found a bench. The picture on the screen was of his family in what he at least thought was a happy time.

It was about a quarter to nine. He stared at that photo before opening the messaging app. William scrolled down his contact list until he got to “Suzanne.” He opened it and saw the last message was in July 2018. He hoped Suzanne would be working from home. He thought it likely, given what he knew about her company’s business.

He typed.

{William: Suzanne. I am in new york to see you. Please tell me whether you will see me. And where. Father.}

He stared at the draft. Would she understand? Would she respond?

He added “Love” before “Father” and hit send.

He had come this far, but there was no response immediately. He had her address. By an accident of the post office, though she lived in Tuckahoe her address said Bronxville. He went to the sidewalk outside the terminal. There was no taxi line so he got in one that was waiting and asked to be taken to Bronxville. When the cabbie asked how to get there, William said he did not know. The driver found it in Waze, and they began the trip.

Passing the time, the cabbie spoke of how difficult things had been with the virus.

“We have suffered so much. Uber was bad, but this is worse. No one is traveling. This will be a good trip for me.”

William was often gregarious with cabbies, but now he spoke just to keep the conversation going. The expressway was almost empty though it was Monday, and William never got out of JFK so quickly. Or so anxiously. He held his phone in his hand on his leg, glancing at it as if his will would cause the receipt of a message.

As the cab climbed the bridge to the Bronx and William was looking out over the Sound, the phone chirped. He hesitated and took a breath before lifting it. He opened the message.

{Suzanne: You should drive to Bronxville. When will you get there?}

William stared at the words. He asked the cabbie when they would get to town.

“Waze says it will be only seventeen minutes.”

William, his hands shaking, typed and sent the information.

{Suzanne: There are benches by the train station. Across from Starbucks. Near the movie theater. I will be there in 25.}

Suzanne had, in fact, seen her father’s first message shortly after it was sent. She was working remotely, as was Kerry, and was in the kitchen preparing breakfast. She rushed to the bedroom and showed it to Kerry.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“Fuck.” Kerry sat up in the bed. “There is no way he would come all this way to pull a stunt like the last time.”

“Agreed. I have to see him. I told him I would.”

Kerry reached up and pulled Suzanne’s head down, kissing the top of her head.

“This is why I love you so much. You are so forgiving. I would never be like you.”

Suzanne pulled away. “Yes, you would. Even if you would never admit it. Which is why I love you.”

“And my tits?”

“Be serious…And your tits. Though I prefer the left one. Or is it the right?”

Now Kerry was reminding the other to behave and be serious.

Suzanne plopped on the bed when Kerry gave her room.

“He is your father, and he did believe what he did was right.”

“I know that.”

They were silent.

“I don’t think he should come to the house until I see him.”

“Agreed. And don’t tell anyone. Where can he meet you in town?”

“There are benches on the train platform,” Suzanne said. She looked at Kerry. “The one where you waited for me that wonderful morning when you stopped being so damn stubborn.”

Me? You called me, remember.”

“Yeah. Because you were too stubborn to do anything about it.”

“Well, appropriate as it might be, I can’t see your father sitting alone on a train platform like Forest Gump waiting for his daughter.”

“Fair enough,” Suzanne said. “It’s not too cold and he should not sit inside anyway. He can sit across from the Starbucks.”

“Are you sure?”

“I wasn’t quite sure when you had me meet my mother but I’ve never forgotten it or you telling me she could take the next train to the city and be out of my life forever. I can still hear that ‘for-ev-er.’”

“That was pretty dramatic, if I do say so myself.”

“Yeah, but it worked. With my father, he knows my terms. He wouldn’t have come unless he agreed to them.”

With that Suzanne rose.

“Should I go with you?” Kerry asked.

“This time, love, it will be just him and me.”

Kerry got out of bed and stood behind Suzanne. She put her arms around her waist.

“I am so lucky to have you.”

“We are lucky to have each other,” Suzanne said, as she often did. “I so hope this works. And whatever happens from here happens from here.”

She turned.

“Now, let me tell him.”

*     *     *

William clutched the phone.

“Is everything all right, sir?” the cabbie asked.

“Couldn’t be better. Could not be better. I’ve never been there before. I’m told there’s a Starbucks.”

“Beats me. It doesn’t look like a big place. Someone’ll tell us.”

Waze directed them to the middle of town. It was, in fact, not a big place. It was five minutes before Suzanne was due, and William jumped out to ask where the Starbucks was. When he was told, he leaned into the cab.

“It’s just around the corner here. I’ll walk. What do I owe you?”

The cabbie rang it up, and William gave him a hundred.

“Keep it.”

“Thank you very much. Have a very good day, sir.”

“I hope to,” he told the cabbie as he started to walk. Then, to himself, “I hope so.

As he approached Starbucks, William saw the benches. He got his usual concoction and sat on the one to the left in the sun. It was a nice little town, and he knew its reputation as being not unlike Mill Valley in its affluence. He wondered if he could tolerate the snow, though there had been virtually none in the winter that was soon to end.

His thoughts were diversions, crowding out the only thing that mattered. Suzanne.

He wondered half-seriously whether she would recognize him. He was in gray slacks, an open-necked shirt, and a blue blazer. Suzanne used to tease him that he always looked like he just addressed the U.N. General Assembly when he was in “serious mode.” She once took a pair of scissors to a Hermès tie—it was light blue and one of his favorites—when they sat at a restaurant in the city to celebrate her twenty-first birthday. Kate looked shocked at that and Eric looked amused.

If she were home and up when he was heading out to catch the train, Suzanne invariably tried to muss his hair, and he loved the brief contact they had on those mornings although he always retained the facade of a gulf between father and child much as his parents had with him and his sister. Kate was the same. In retrospect, it seemed cruel.

William wondered whether if she came she would comment that his hair was slightly longer than it had ever been. At least since law school. He wondered whether she would soon have a baby and he would be a grandfather. He wondered about a thousand things as he waited. As he had countless times when he allowed his mind to wander and be free.

He did not dare look at his watch. Instead, he took sips of his coffee. He did not know the direction from which she would come. He did not know what kind of car she drove or even if she would drive. His head was in constant motion when he was not drinking, praying for a glimpse of her.

Would he recognize her? Then his doubts vanished. He again held his breath for a moment. He did not quite see the details of her face but recognized the stride with which he was so familiar. A determined yet relaxed stride as she walked directly towards him. Her dark-brown hair bouncing ever so slightly with each step.

Then he saw the face framed by the hair. Perhaps he saw a smile. He could not be sure.

She paused, but it was barely perceptible. As he stood, she rushed to him.