As Sasha struggled to settle in on Pine Street, David experienced something he was not used to.
A sense of peace.
Watching his father remarry so late in life, watching Leo and Franny express their tender confidence in their love, even watching Kassandra being content with art and coffee-making, watching all this had made its mark on David.
He considered how much of his life he’d spent disrupting the lives of others, trying, in a perverse way, to settle his own life that way. He considered how his jealousy and envy had pushed him into so many dramas, so many ugly scenes, and had kept everyone at a distance.
He wondered what it would be like to give up on all his schemes, to stop chasing the lives of others, and to, instead, make a life for himself.
Who would he be, he wondered, if he was no longer the disruptor, the wild card, the bad guy?
Pondering all this as he took a walk after dinner with his father and Louise, David found himself heading toward Allison’s house. The project house, the one that would never be done, which had been a target of David’s derision. Leo still held the basement apartment, though he spent most nights with Franny. A selfish waste of space, David would have thought, or a sign that Leo was not fully committed, that David could still split them apart.
But on this early autumn evening, dark falling around him, David tried on the notion that Leo’s decisions were none of his business.
What if, he thought, all these lives happening around him had their own emotional logic, a through line that had nothing to do with him? What if his own through line was his only concern, the only thing he could control was his next step?
If he could only control his next step, where should it lead?
The question paralyzed him. He pulled his jacket close around him in the sudden gust of a chilly wind and stood on the sidewalk, unable to move in any direction.
“Hey there,” a voice called out. “You look cold. Want to come in and warm up?”
David turned to Leo, and surprised himself by saying, “Sounds good. Thanks.”