In this superb novel by the beloved author of Talk Before Sleep, The Pull of the MoonUntil the Real Thing Comes Along, a woman re-creates her life after divorce by opening up her house and her heart.Samantha's husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany's, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccentric mother tries to help by fixing her up with dates, but a more pressing problem is money. To meet her mortgage payments, Sam decides to take in boarders. The first is an older woman who offers sage advice and sorely needed comfort; the second, a maladjusted student, is not quite so helpful.
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December 31, 1999
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Excerpt from Open House by Elizabeth Berg
YOU KNOW BEFORE you know, of course. You are bending over the dryer, pulling out the still-warm sheets, and the knowledge walks up your backbone. You stare at the man you love and you are staring at nothing: he is gone before he is gone.
The last time I tried to talk to David was a couple of weeks ago. We were in the family room -- David in his leather recliner, me stretched out on the sofa. Travis was asleep -- he'd had his eleventh birthday party that afternoon, the usual free-for-all, and had fallen into bed exhausted. The television was on, but neither of us was watching it -- David was reading the newspaper and I was rehearsing.
Finally, "David " I said.
He looked up.
I said, "You know, you're right in saying we have some serious problems. But there are so many reasons to try to work things out." I hoped my voice was pleasant and light. I hoped my hair wasn't sticking up or that my nose didn't look too big and that I didn't look fat when I sat up a bit to adjust the pillow.
"I was wondering," I said, "if you would be willing to go to see someone with me, just once. A marriage counselor. I really think--"
"Samantha," he said.
And I said, "Okay."
He returned to the paper, and I returned to lying on the sofa, to falling down an elevator shaft. There were certain things I could not think about but kept thinking about anyway: how to tell the people I'd have to tell. How lonely the nights would be (that was a very long elevator shaft). How I believed so hard and for so long that we would be able to overcome everything, and now I would have to admit that we could not. How wrenching it is when the question you want to ask is "Why don't you want me " but you cannot ask it and yet you do not ask -- or talk about -- anything else.
"David " I said again, but this time he did not look up.