As they sit together in Jeeves’ living room, out of the direct sun of one of the last very hot days of summer, the women of Pine Street absorb the moment. They are safe and together. In Jeeves’ home, there is something beautiful (or at least interesting) to look at in every direction: art on the wall, the garden through the French doors, objects on tables and shelves. Even the colors of the walls seem to embrace them.
It is one of those pauses, a moment of suspended time, that each will remember in her own way for years to come.
A hovering moment, Franny thinks, between the past and future, between movement away and movement toward. Uncertain, uncomfortable, and yet delicious.
“I’ve been thinking,” she begins. Smiles flicker on the faces waiting for her to continue. They know she thinks, a lot, about everything. She smiles in response to their knowing, and the words flow.
“I love it here. I love you all. This place, this town – it received me, when that is exactly what I needed. I didn’t know it at the time, of course. I was just reacting, unsure, scared. But it knew – the place itself, it knew what I needed from it.
“I needed to meet you all. Allison, I couldn’t be luckier that you lived next door. Kassandra, you were right there, across the street, serving the best coffee in town. And Marilyn – oh my goodness. Marilyn.” Franny stops, wipes tears from her cheeks. Marilyn, the art professor, painter of giant squids, easy friend, generous mentor, loving presence. More tears slide down more faces as they listen, and remember.
“She was the force that brought us all together. She’s still the glue that holds us together. Jeeves, you remind me so much of her.
“And Leo. When I thought I would never, ever, have love in my life again. And I was okay with that. I really was. But thank dog for Leo.”
More smiles, and maybe another tear or two. They know the words that are coming, and they are both ready and not ready to hear them.
“It just feels like time, you know? To move on.”