Eve spent the morning going through photos of her boys. As much as she loved them, her life had not been the one she’d desired. Her four boys were now in college and she was proud of them. But she couldn’t stop thinking how different things would have been if she’d had a daughter. Everything would have been more problematic, and yet, wonderful.
She was feeling a mix of anxiety with the news from the doctor, and her strange experience at the coffee house she’d stumbled upon the night before. She wondered, was that place real? Perhaps not, it could have been an illusion brought on by her apprehension of the pregnancy. But it had appeared genuine. The waitress, the two women. The last thought elated her. What if? She thought of the business card. She grabbed her purse, and feeling inside, touched it, held it.
There it was. Claire Winslow ~ Senator from Washington State.
It made no sense. She felt low again, and sat at the kitchen table turning the card over and over while her mind drifted to the memories of the previous night. The portal, the branches from that ancient tree growing over the door during her visit. The molasses coffee falling like a slow action flick. Her hands grabbed the side of her head, her fingers digging deep into her scalp. She looked down to see the card staring up at her. Why was there evidence telling her that the freakish dream was actually her reality?
It was early afternoon when the doorbell rang.
Eve answered the buzzer to see her good friend standing on the porch. Sandy was short, with a few extra rolls around her midriff. Her expression threw Eve for a loop, like they had plans or something.
“Well, are you going to let me in, Evie? I know I’m a little early, but I’d like to ask your opinion about this dress.” Eve was struck by her friend’s bewildered expression. “Come on, Eve. Let me in before the others get here.”
Eve pushed the door ajar to invite the woman inside, but seemed out of sorts. “Sandy, I’m sorry. Did we have plans?” Then she remembered. “My God. I totally forgot!” Looking beyond her friend, she saw the others coming up the drive. “Well, too late for idle talk, look who’s coming?”
It was their reading group, Eve didn’t have any refreshments prepared, and worse, she was wearing jeans instead of the usual show-off attire. She ushered Sandy in, and then waved for the others to join them. These women were her life line, how could she have forgotten?
“Sandy, please get the others settled in the parlor while I put together some drinks, I think I have a pâté that we can snack on.” Eve scrambled to the kitchen, in shock over her amnesia. This was the most important event of her week, a time when close friends got together to talk about their latest read.
They called themselves the Scarsborough Ladies. They lived in a posh neighborhood called Scarsborough Meadows, a gated community full of beautiful homes. The households were situated around a small man-made lake, and a serene golf course intended for use by only the privileged. The groomed yards in the neighborhood matched the lush greens of the course, manicured perfectly with a shit load of fertilizer and installed by a professional who used a special subsurface drainage system that lowered the water table in the green. The result rendered a superior turf growth.
The vegetation throughout the community was organized with a combination of imported hybrids, some of which needed an underground heating system to grow in the cooler climate, and award-winning roses of all colors whose smells infused the air with subtle pleasing aromas. Banana trees had been one of the imported growths, the wide leafy branches gave a flattering sight to the eye, especially when there was a slight breeze that facilitated them to swirl with the same beautiful weaving motion the American flag exhibited in a light wind.
Each home in Scarsborough Meadows was a unique creation, the work of a prestigious designer who entertained the use of pillars, large-paned windows of all shapes, but rarely squared, and high ceilings. He’d used tall doors that towered in height over the usual design as one of his signatures, that and the unusual rooftops that defied the normal shapes found on most homes. Eve’s roof was made from tiled sheets of glass, giving an open feel to an already large space. The effect was a stunning feat in architectural design that had been featured in magazines for the entire world to admire.
These women were the lucky ones who married into the life of luxury. But each of them hated that they hadn’t been entitled to a formal education. Hence, they had formed this wonderful reading group that inspired intelligent critiquing. They had found a back door, in a sense, to educate themselves.
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