My Name is Lucy Barton
On the morning my youngest was to leave for Russia, I got up to a darkness strange for that hour of morning; it was snowing and it was going to snow, and that had not been in the prediction the night before; the storm was supposed to blow north of us. We left an hour earlier than we’d planned for the airport and although we saw three wrecks, weren’t in one. We had breakfast at the airport, in a restaurant from which we could see the security line, which was never very long.
After Walker went through security, I stayed at the airport for another hour or so, until it looked like his flight would take off on time. Then I drove a few miles to a shopping center in Columbus and parked at the Barnes and Noble, where I drank hot chai made with soy milk and read Elizabeth Strout’s novel My Name is Lucy Barton. I read it straight through and teared up a little at the end, sitting there in the café, “the sky lingering, lingering, then finally dark.”
It was this passage that really got me:
“When Chrissie left for college, then Becka the next year, I thought—and it’s not an expression, I’m saying the truth—I did think I would die. Nothing had prepared me for such a thing. And I have found this to be true: Certain women feel like this, that their hearts have been ripped from their chests, and other women find it very freeing to have their children gone.”
I am still in the café, and the snow is still falling, in a desultory sort of way that will probably continue until it’s too dark to see anymore. I will drive home and watch the new episode of Supernatural that’s on tonight and drive to work in the dark of the morning tomorrow, although I won’t have to worry about how dark, because it’s not that far.