New to me. You knew that. It's called That Old Cape Magic, and I think I'm going to like it.
It's always in the first few pages that I taste the flavor of the words and catch the mood. After that, I'm all too tied up (one hopes) in the story to remark upon each turn of phrase.
In this story, something "hove into view." I hardly ever read anybody writing about things heaving, into view or otherwise, and "hove" is a word that caught my eye. I had to stop and think of what it was the past tense; that's how long it's been.
So that's all about that.
When I was twelve I rode the school bus every day from the village to the town, to the central school. The last leg of the journey took us through a residential development. At the time the houses were new-ish, certainly newer in style than any house I'd ever lived in. One house in particular, a corner house, with odd exterior angles and irregularly-shaped and -placed windows, interested me.And one day, as the bus passed that house, I saw . . . a woman, sitting at the kitchen table, her arms raised to hold a widely-spread newspaper. It was a sunny morning, and the warm September light flowed through the big window onto her table, onto her arms and the paper. The windowsill was low, nearly floor-level, and I saw that she relaxed in her chair, her legs crossed. Here's the detail that has become iconic to me: she wore a long, silky, aqua-colored robe and matching slippers. I made up a whole life for that woman, based on having seen her relaxing at her new house kitchen table at 7:40am on a weekday, having a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper, and wearing a long aqua robe.
She would be mother to someone my age, wife to a handsome, kind, and financially successful man. She would be in complete comfortable control of her home and her schedule . . . which would not be overly demanding . . . lots of hair appointments. After she finished the newspaper she would swipe a sponge along her spotless kitchen counter, float off to take a bath and dress in tidy tailored casual slacks and sweater, and telephone her friends to laugh lightheartedly over the small news of their days and talk about what they would serve for dinner. She would have a coterie of other similarly wealthy and well-housed and -heeled friends and they would share stories of their family's successes. It was obvious to me that anybody who wore a silky long aqua nightgown in a big window in her kitchen in the broad morning light must be hugely confident and secure in every way, living a perfectly comfortable life. Nothing bad had ever, or would ever, happen to her.
Of course I never knew the woman, and I can't even remember, now, the name of the road. I could find it again, and I could look at that house again, if I wanted to. I bet it would seem dated and shabby to me now. And now I know that nobody lives a life such as I imagined for her.
But I still want a long, silky, aqua-colored robe and matching slippers.