“We’re a team, right?” I said to Doris. “Partners?”
“Past tense, baby?”
“Could be again.”
“Exactly. We make changes.”
“Partners decide together. Usually.”
I’ve mentioned this about Doris. For a gal who looks like a kewpie doll — those big eyes! those dimples! — she can be remarkably hard-headed. Once she’s made up her mind, you’d have an easier time diverting a glacier.
“I gave it all away.” She made a vague motion with her hands, waving them to take in, apparently, everything.
“When you say all…”
“The house. The money. The cars. I stuck a million in an IRA. Transition funds. No point in being stupid. But the rest of it…”
“This is a lot to think about.”
“This is a lot less to think about. Which is the point.”
“You don’t mind I ask? You gave it to…”
“Catholic Church. The Archdiocese.”
“Our mansion? Forty million bucks?”
“Something like that. Depends on the market, the day of the week.”
“You’re not even Catholic. Not really.”
Lapsed. Disaffected. Fallen. Had it. Fed up. There are all sorts of words that apply here to describe Doris. Me, too, for that matter. We were both the product of Catholic education. Blessed insanity. Credulity strained to the max. The True Faith.
“I didn’t want to give it all to someone I love. We know how that goes. More curse than gift. My thinking, let those fossils fight over it. Maybe they do some good by accident. Maybe it kills them off. Either way.”
I looked at her hard for some sign she was joking.
“When do we move out?”
“It’s theirs now. The movers come tomorrow. Most of it, we leave where it is. Take the clothes, some wine from the cellar. A few pieces of furniture.”
“Move back to Frogtown. We were happy there, Charles.”
“Were. Before we had a point of comparison.”
“We forget this happened. It was a mistake.”
“The old house isn’t really ours anymore.”
“Duke. Remember? I signed it over. The life-coaching office.”
“I don’t care what deal you made. I did not make a deal. I thought it was our house.”
It was mine. My name was on the title. I paid the note. This didn’t seem like the time to niggle over details.
“I signed in blood.”
“Blood. It’s just another way to scribble, Charles. Tell Duke the place is ours. He has a problem, he can talk to me.”
“Okay,” I said.
“I’m going to bed.”
I wasn’t sure where that left me.
“You coming?” she said.
“You know it,” I said, my impulses so quickly defeating my many concerns.
Tomorrow: Part of me fell asleep