Kathleen began to feel she had picked the wrong restaurant for lunch. She put her eyes down as all three men looked over at her. Erwin was saying something about her to the man she did not recognize. In desperation, she turned her attention to ordering from the sumptuous menu. After the waiter left, Carrie reached over and patted Kathleen’s hand.
“I said you look better than you did at the funeral. But that was a truly awful day. Are you really better?”
Kathleen thought a moment before she answered. “I don’t know, Carrie. I manage to do my work at the Republic, but with little enthusiasm. I feel as if I’ve lost something that I had as a young reporter. I guess I thought I was doing something good for society—reporting to the world the inequities of the system, the injustices that government throws at the average guy on the street. I don’t think readers give a damn any more about those people who have fallen through the cracks of modern life. All they want is the sensationalism of the moment, the ten-second sound bite that feeds the public the misconception that the world is manageable.”
“Maybe it’s you who doesn’t give a damn,” was Carrie’s off-the-cuff reply.
Kathleen absorbed Carrie’s remark for a moment. “No. My lack of passion is because I’m trying to sort myself out, trying to understand the person who lived as the wife of Scott Buckley, bound by the Roman Catholic Church to do my duty. I have these two people in me, Carrie—one is this hard-boiled reporter and the other is this…this obedient, subservient wife. I don’t know how in the name of God I shook off one role so casually and put on the other.”
Carrie looked Kathleen straight in the eyes. “I think you’re being too hard on yourself. Everyone has parts of different personalities in them, Kathy. Be a little forgiving of yourself and your sins. So what if you fell in love with a charming, rich man, and he turned out to be a bastard and you learned to loathe him? Do you think you’re supposed to pay for that mistake, that error in judgment, all of your life?”
“I don’t know; I guess I haven’t resolved that yet.”
“With who, yourself or God?” Carrie asked pointedly.
She was about to answer when the waiter, still smiling, interrupted them with their lunch. Kathleen had ordered lush crab crepes covered with a white sauce, and Carrie’s dish was succulent lamb stew simmered in herbs and spices.
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