Carrie looked Kathleen straight in the eyes. “I think you’re being too hard on yourself. Everyone has parts of different personalities in them, Kathy. Be a little forgiving of yourself and your sins. So what if you fell in love with a charming, rich man, and he turned out to be a bastard and you learned to loathe him? Do you think you’re supposed to pay for that mistake, that error in judgment, all of your life?”
“I haven’t resolved that yet.”
“With who, yourself or God?” Carrie asked pointedly. She was about to answer when the waiter, still smiling, interrupted them with their lunch. Kathleen ordered lush crab crepes covered with a white sauce, and Carrie’s dish was the succulent lamb stew simmered in herbs and spices.
Over lunch, two fattening deserts, and steaming black coffee, they chatted mainly about Carrie’s two teenage daughters, the gossip at the Sedona school district where Carrie worked as administrative assistant to the superintendent, and her upcoming vacation in Hawaii.
Finally, Carrie set down her fork and put her elbows on the table, leaning toward Kathleen.
“Look, Kathy. I think what you need is to find yourself a good man, someone who will love you and care for you. You never had that in Scott. You never had that in anybody. All you’ve ever had is that damn career of yours.”
Kathleen could not help but laugh at Carrie’s remark. “Ah, the good man theme! I wasn’t very good at that game, Carrie. To me, all that’s left is my career.”
“Well, then, go after it again if that’s what you want! Quit dawdling! Maybe you should go work for one of those big-time newspapers on the East Coast.”
Kathleen smiled. “No, what I really would like to do is run a small newspaper. Be the editor, reporter, the whole shebang.”
For a second, her thoughts flew back to when she was in college and worked summers as a copy editor for a small newspaper in the Los Angeles suburbs. The editor, who was also the only reporter on the paper, was a cranky old woman. Kathleen remembered subscribers loved her or hated her, but they never ignored her. She did not understand why the vision of that woman stayed with her for thirty years, creating a longing she could not explain.
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