The Bridge – Dan Lawrence




When the kids were safely asleep, Adrianne dragged herself to the kitchen. Gom, sitting at the kitchen table struggling to stay awake enough to write a postcard, raised her head. She looked done in, and Adrianne, seeing it, felt a stab of guilt. She loved her mother, but after leaving home nearly 20 year before, she’d come to realize that a week was about as long as she could sustain the effort of showing that love before the cracks appeared. It had been nearly two weeks.

Except for her evident exhaustion, Gom didn’t show the strain. She was better at it. A better person. A better mother. A wave of resentment washed over Adrianne as she stuck her head in the refrigerator and rehashed all the things that Gom had done to make this trip easier for her, starting with giving up her bedroom to her and Paula and sleeping on the futon in the study.

“You never did get any dessert did you?” asked Gom, rising from her chair.

“That’s OK,” muttered Adrianne. “Just looking.”

Gom came over and nudged her out of the way. “Let’s see if there’s any parfait left from last night. Would you like some parfait?”

Adrianne shrugged. “Sure, parfait sounds good.” She went to the table and sat across from Gom’s half-finished postcard. She turned it over, revealing a sepia view past the bridge, down the beach where the girl had been found, to where the ocean was torn by rocks.

“No. No, I don’t see any. That’s right. Parfait’s all gone. Melvin finished it this afternoon. How about some nice vanilla ice-cream?”

“No thanks, Mom. I’m really not that hungry.”

“Let’s see,” said Gom, rummaging deeper. “We have some old fruit salad you could put a little brandy on, or a slice of cake might be good. It’s Aunt Louise’s upside-down cake, and you could have a glass of milk with that. How does that sound?” Gom was deep in the refrigerator by now.

“No thanks, Mom,” repeated Adrianne, making a conscious effort to keep the annoyance out of her voice. “Nothing. I’m fine.”

“Oh, I know! Just the thing: Eleanor’s homemade raspberry jam. If you put a little of that over the ice-cream … and we still have a few oatmeal cookies that need to be eaten….”

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