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To My Dearest Friendsby Patricia Volk
Synopses & Reviews
Chapter One: Alice Wakes
Naked Charles pads from his shower to his semainier. He would not dream of turning on our light. Charles assumes I am asleep. After so many years, he senses his way in the dark.
He slides a drawer, raising both pulls so it whispers. He extracts jockey shorts I fold so no seams show, each pair a white tuffet, his small daily gift. When we were newlyweds, Charles stood on one foot, then the other, a flamingo. Now he pulls his shorts up leaning against the wall. Someday he will collapse on our slipper chair, use his cane to spread the leg holes, then inch them up his calves. It is a privilege to watch your partner over time.
If soul may look and body touch,
Which is the more blest?
Charles steers his right foot in. I glimpse the silhouette of his bobbling apparatus. How perverse to cage it in clothes. All that flagrant manhood neatly squared away. He stretches on his undershirt. Watery light sculpts the muscle range of his back. No matter how soft Charles gets around the middle, his bent back stays bandy.
All these years and there's pleasure yet watching him.
In the kitchen, Charles has put up coffee. I take a cup back to bed. November sun stipples trees along the Hudson. Leaves wink like sequins. Today will be perfect. There are, in a good year, perhaps ten such days in New York. They have nothing to do with temperature. They can come any season. No one can predict them. On these days the air is supercharged. There is more of something vital in it. People breathe deeper, walk taller. They pause to fill their lungs and smile without premeditation. Dogs high-step, their tails thrum. On these days the bus driver keeps the doors open when he spots you running.
Along Riverside Drive joggers wear down-filled vests, no gloves, no watch caps. Wind billows hair but not enough to backhand. I won't need a coat. The gray cashmere scarf, perhaps. In my date book I check off yesterday:
NOTES W. YUMI
SKIM, COF. FILTERS, COMET
CALL MR. FLEISCHMAN
A slash through each except Fleischman.
Today is wall-to-wall appointments.
10 MR. OLIPHANT: 230 CPS
I'll have to go downtown, miss my run. Why would Roberta’s lawyer want to see me? Does Betsy need a guardian? Betsy is thirty-one. Jack is alive. Oh Roberta. My poor darling.
11:30 MRS. VANDERVOORT
Mrs. Vandervoort. Normally I don't open the shop till noon but Mrs. Vandervoort is terrified someone will see her in Luba and her things are awfully good. Luba is about nothing if not discreet accommodation.
How did that happen? Bags of winter inventory up to the ceiling. Here it is, almost December. They should have been on the floor after Labor Day.
She's due January ninth. Could the baby's head be down? Oh no. What if they ask us to participate in the birth? Is that an invitation one can decline?
A jam-packed day. Should I cancel the lawyer? Reschedule for late afternoon? Better to get it over with. Surely Roberta didn't leave me anything else. She gave me a bracelet. Our last lunch at Caféeacute; on 5.
Alice. She undid the clasp. “I want you to smile every time you look at it. You've got to
What happens when you find out something you wish you didn't know? From thecritically acclaimed
Two unlikely women--Nanny, a charming, highly disorganized Manhattan real-estate agent, and Alice, the prim owner of a high-end used clothing boutique--are thrown together by the death of their mutual best friend, Roberta, as they attempt to unravel the truth about Roberta's previously unknown lover, in a story of the bonds of female friendship. 35,000 first printing.
About the Author
Patricia Volk is also the author of the novel White Light and two collections of short stories, All It Takes and The Yellow Banana. Her stories, book reviews, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, New York, The New Yorker, Playboy, Redbook, GQ, The Quarterly, and O, The Oprah Magazine, and she was a weekly columnist for New York Newsday. She lives in New York City.
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