Franny anticipated her third winter on Pine Street with something like delight.
She had a cozy apartment, a set of friends, a full schedule of teaching, and a brain full of ideas for new stories, new books.
She had Leo.
After two years of dancing around the edge of their mutual attraction, they were together. They did not live together, not yet. Leo stayed in his basement apartment in the big old green house with Allison upstairs, helping her with the world’s slowest renovation. Franny stayed in her apartment, in the historic building, far from sterile now.
She even had a comfortable love seat.
And a television.
Granted, the television wasn’t hooked up to anything other than power and a DVD player. But on long winter nights, if Leo was busy, she could curl up and watch old movies or public television series on DVDs she checked out of the library next door.
Every once in a while, if Leo wasn’t busy, he came over and they watched a movie together. But more often, if Leo wasn’t busy, he came over and they did other stuff.
Made dinner together, roasted squash, baked potatoes, cooked up huge pots of spaghetti, drank a little beer or wine.
Made love, delicious ly, regularly, but never predictably.
Talked. Shared stories of their past, present, and most joyfully, future lives.
It was Leo she told first about the manuscript she had finally sent to several small presses, sent with equal parts hope and dread, hope equally divided between wishing for publication and wishing to just move on to the next story. Dread equally divided between anticipating rejection and anticipating success.
This third winter after her divorce felt like a kind of personal spring. No, it wasn’t spring yet, she considered. It was the exquisite anticipation of spring, the firm conviction that spring was on the way, even as the light of day faded early, the nights froze, and the sun took ever longer to rise.