Louise finds herself asking the same question her estranged daughter, Jessie, asks herself: how did I luck into finding this man? This time, her question is prompted by an offer from Douglas that parallels the one made by Stephen, Jessie’s husband.
“Do you want me to come with you? I’d love to meet your daughter, when the time is right.”
Louise found Douglas late in life, in distinct contrast to the long and powerful marriage of her daughter. Yet the only moment we ever have with our beloveds is now; since Douglas’s scare with the virus, Louise has reminded herself of that a million times.
Make this moment blossom, she thinks. It’s all we have.
Unconsciously mirroring her daughter, Louise asks Douglas to stand by, rather than attend the meeting. Louise recognizes the old anxieties rising in anticipation of the meeting: a combination of a hazy fog that makes it hard to focus, and occasional thumps of tension in her bowels.
They plan to meet at the coffee shop. Jessie lives about two hours away, and Louise offered to come to her. But she knows Jessie always feels safer being the one who can leave, and Louise respects that.
After all the years of alcoholic damage, Louise is committed to giving Jessie the space she needs to heal.
Louise is glad to see Kassandra working behind the counter as she walks into the coffee shop – too early, she knows, but she could not sit at home any longer. They can have a few moments of small talk to absorb some of the waiting time; and Kassandra’s kind presence is tangible.
While they are chatting, the bell over the door jingles. Louise turns to see her daughter, also early. They are alike in this, too.
As always, Louise finds her breath momentarily stopped by Jessie’s beauty. She cannot believe this lovely person is her daughter. Tears threaten to flood over her eyelids, and she fights them back – masks and crying do not mix well.
“Hi, Louise,” Jessie says.
“Hello, sweetheart.” Make this moment blossom, Louise thinks. It’s all we have.