As Leo lets Precious sleep a while longer, enjoying her dreams of youth and love, just up the street David rises. He has promised to help Louise clean out her sister Penelope’s house today. His father, Douglas, is home after a lengthy hospital stay, battling the virus that has everyone realigning their lives to a new set of rules. Douglas is still frail, to David’s eyes, although his father insists on his own robustness. David assured his father he would help Louise, convincing him to continue his rest and recuperation.
This chilly morning, landing in the middle of the month that is supposed to be full of heat, wraps its cool arms around David. It reminds him of the years he spent on the other side of those mountains to the west, where chill and damp seemed the norm. It reminds him of the man he was, before the interruption of the pandemic.
David is learning to welcome these reminders. They help him to move forward, to let go of the grudges and private wounds that ruled him in those days. Coming to Pine Street, his intentions had been something between revenge and domination. But here, he found himself beaten.
I found myself, he considers. Just plain found myself, even though I hadn’t realized I’d been lost, before.
As often happens when he thinks of his past, Sasha’s image floats into his mind. Usually, it’s an old memory of their time together. But today, David sees her walking into his father’s wedding to Louise, draped in her fancy dress and her sharp intention to capture his attention.
The way Sasha loved him, it grips his heart, her inability to distinguish love from possession.
He takes a hot shower, then makes a pot of strong coffee. Dresses in old clothes, knowing he and Louise will be generating clouds of dust.
Can a person really change so much, so quickly? Sometimes, the thought panics him: I’m fooling myself. I’m still that old me, that old me is still here, he’ll come back and I’ll be caught again.
David shakes off the remnants of the past, grabs his car keys, and goes to meet his father’s wife.