Open ArmsBook - 2001
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From what I’ve heard about Doreen’s father, I would have liked him a lot more than I like her. But stories about people are deceptive. Patrick would sound quite interesting too, if you heard stories about him. He sounds fascinating when he tells you them himself.
When I was in Grade 6 I had to write an essay at school on trees, and I wrote about pine trees. _We should be grateful to the towering pine which keeps its verdant green all through the year_, I wrote. My teacher sent my essay home with a note on it to say I’d copied it from a book, and my grandmother went down to the school the next morning and tore a strip off her. It was _verdant_ that made it sound copied. It also sounded pretentious, of course, but nobody mentioned that. This was before I got sent to the Nova Scotia Ladies’ Academy, where if nothing else the teachers can distinguish between plagiarism and pomposity.
Doreen and Patrick are not married. Apparently he told her he’d had enough of marriage. Katherine and Isabel, having been married to him, could probably have said the same thing.
She’d been being kind, trying to get something through to me, but she must have seen herself reflected in my pupils, the way you do, or in my expression.
She picked up her coffee cup again and opened the back door.
“I’m going to run my life differently,” I yelled at her. “I won’t be like you!”
She looked back. She was furious, glittering. It was the cream of the joke. “You’re going to be just like me,” she said. Then she pitched the cup out onto the concrete walk. It smashed, coffee underneath the splinters, and she walked out the door, down the steps, right through the smashed cup.
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