Prologue

September 11, 2001

Manhattan

“…and I guess after that we’ll head over to the library for some story time.  The typical busy day of a preschooler.”

“Sounds fun.  What about my mom?”

“What about her?”

“She’s starting to get upset that you don’t bring Alyssa around more.”

“You’re kidding, right?  We were just over there on Friday.  And I have plans to go over there again on Thursday.  She sees her plenty.  It’s you that she doesn’t see.”

“I know.  But please humor her.  Losing my sister to the wackos was bad enough.  Then losing Dad?  It’s too much.

“You’re right.  Okay, I’ll see if she wants to meet us at the library.  But you need to make time to see her, too”

“I will.  Soon. It’s just so crazy right now.”

“Yeah, well, work isn’t everything.”

“No.  It just pays the bills.”

“You know what I mean. “

“I know.  I am taking those days off next week, remember?  We’ll have a good time then.”

“Great.  Now you’re quoting Cat Stevens on me.”

“Not Cat Stevens.  Harry Chapin.  Everyone gets that wrong.”

“Whatever.  I just don’t want to set any precedents.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Where you end up regretting the time you’ve spent away from family in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.”

“Katie, we’ve been over this.  I’ve only been here six months.  I’m low man on the totem pole.  I need to earn some street cred.  After another few months, it won’t be so bad.  I’ll only be working 60 hour weeks instead of 80.”

“It doesn’t mean I have to like it. “

“No I guess….Holy crap!  What the hell was that?”

“What? I didn’t hear anything?”

“I don’t know.  Sounds like some sort of explosion.   They usually tell us when they’re doing demo work in the area. ”

“Wonder what it could be?”

“Who knows?”

“Surely it’s nothing to get excited about.”

“And that’s what Captain Smith said.”

“Who?”

“You know.  The captain of the Titanic.”

“Nice.  Way to be positive.  It’s nothing to get excited about.”

“Are you sure, there’s something on tv…eyewitness reports say that some idiot lost his bearings in an AIRPLANE of all things and hit the other tower.  Guess it’s on the far side from you or you would have seen it.”

“Guess so.  Well, then it’s something pretty random then.  I don’t need to worry about anything.”

“I still don’t like it.”

“Well, I better get back to work. Tapas for dinner tonight?”

“Oh, you are such a bad influence.  Yeah.  Sounds good.  Maybe Alyssa won’t melt down this time.”

“Here’s hoping.  Luv ya, babe.”

“Me too.  Bye.”

Ten days later…

“So, Katie.  Now what?”

“What do you mean, Mom?”

“I mean:   Now what?”

“It’s a little early for that.”

“You need to move back to Austin.”

“No, I don’t.”

“You don’t have anyone here.  No one who can help you.”

“I have Evelyn.  I have my friends.  I have the other widows from the company.”

“Exactly my point.  No one who can help YOU.  You can move in with us.  The new house has plenty of room.  Stay as long as you need to.”

“No, Mom.  I can’t leave Evelyn.  She’s been through too much this year.  We’ve already talked about moving in together.”

“What?  Not at her place?”

“No, here.”

“Oh, that’s healthy.”

“Mom.  I’m barely functioning right now.  Please.  I can only handle so much so don’t start in on me.  Moving back to Austin would be way too much right now.”

“Katie, be reasonable.  If you stay here, you’ll be taking care of her and Alyssa and where will you be then?  What about you?  You need to be a little selfish here.”

“Mom, for the sake of everything, I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.  This has just destroyed Evelyn.  I can’t leave her.  At least not now.  Just give me some time.”

“Well, I suppose you know best.  We’ll give you all the time you need.”

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