Up until her fortieth year, there hadn’t been a season of Marian’s life she hadn’t had to grovel and beg, send off invoice reminders couched in manic cheer: Just checking in! At forty, an unexpected windfall changed all of that. She bought a house in a town in the Hudson Valley that seemed occupied solely by arty people, and made a hobby of overpaying for furniture. She spent $5,899 on an antique chest of drawers, laughed as they loaded it into her car.
“What’s funny?” asked the guy with the dolly.
“Where to begin?” she said.
The children adjusted instantly. They shrugged off their old lives like winter coats on the first real day of spring. Marian never caught them pining or calling the friends they’d left behind. She bought them anything they asked for, and they asked for a lot. Sophie wanted a horse and Dan wanted a BMX bike…