Brian and Christine
“Well, then, it’s time for you to have something pretty to draw. Tomorrow, if it’s a nice day, why don’t you go out in the back and see the trees and bushes. There are flowers. Juan keeps the grounds looking very nice. You’ll probably find something interesting to draw.”
“Okay” she said.
Now Wendy and Brian had a problem. Who were they going to invite to the wedding? If they invited everyone they knew and they all came, there would be no room for them.
“I want to keep it simple but I don’t want to leave anyone out” said Wendy.
“What if we just rented a lot of chairs and tables and did it around the pool?”
“Well, that might work if we set up the chairs for the wedding and then had them mill around while we set up the tables. We could even put some of them in the backyard and inside. How many people are you going to invite?” asked Wendy.
“I don’t know yet. They’ll all be people from the studio I guess. How about you?”
“Well I have to invite Wong and his wife, and a few colleagues. Not too many.”
“I thought I’d send invitations up to Buffalo Gap although I doubt if anyone from there would come, it’s such a long way.”
“Still, you’re right, it would be nice to include them.”
“I spoke to the Romeros yesterday and Mrs., Romero is doing some planning for the reception. She’ll tell me what she needs as soon as we know how many are coming.”
“She’s going to need a lot of help” said Wendy. “Can she handle it?”
“This is the kind of event she loves. Feeding a lot of people is her pleasure. I’ll bring in cooks and waiters to help her. Don’t worry.”
The next morning Wendy went off to work and Brian called Myron Bloom. “Good morning, Boss….Fine….That’s good….I need a favor….I need a bunch of wedding invitations ASAP….I told you, I am….to Wendy Klein….How quickly you forget….Yes, you’re invited. If you promise to behave yourself….I know you never behave yourself, but I would like you to make an exception in my case, and Wendy’s and Christy’s….She’s the girl who has been with me, remember, who blew the whistle on that horrible Saint Jane’s place?....Yes, she is….I don’t know, I think so…..Okay, here it is. Are you writing?....Good.”
Brian gave the information to Bloom and thanked him. Then he hung up. Brian couldn’t help being a little nervous and anxious. Was he actually going to go through with this? Getting married again, after all these years. Something inside him made him want to run, go to some strange place, change his name, become anonymous and forget the whole thing.
Just at that moment Christy came into the room and asked “Brian, when are you going to teach me to swim?”
“Right now. Go put on your bathing suit.”
At first Christy was apprehensive of the water, but at Brian’s urging she eased her way into the water and held on to the steps. Brian stood at some distance from her and said “Okay, let go of the steps and swim to me.”
She did and with a lot of desperate huffing, flailing and splashing she reached him. “Very good” he said trying not to laugh.
He held her front down and told her how to breathe, how to stay buoyant, how to kick her legs and move her arms.
She eventually began to feel more confident and could swim on her own for a few feet. Every time she felt frightened, Brain was right there to hold her. He could not help remembering how she was so close to falling through the frozen lake and drowning and how he carried her that lest day of their terrible staggering through the wilderness.
[“TAKE MY LIFE! TAKE MY LIFE, IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT! KILL ME, IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT! BUT I’M GOING TO CARRY THIS CHILD TO SAFETY AND YOU CAN’T STOP ME!]
And he had done it. Now in the safety of his own home, in his own swimming pool, he was carrying the same child and she was letting him, because she felt safe in his hands.
And what was Christy thinking? Probably not about malignant men who had handled her in rough and rapacious ways, but about the mysteries of swimming.
Under Brian’s care and teaching she learned quickly not to fear the water and to keep afloat and to move through it. She eventually got to swim the length of the pool in an awkward, haphazard fashion, staying close to the edge and with Brian close beside her. But she was pleased and excited.
“I did it! I did it! Wow! I can’t believe it. Brian, you’re a good teacher. Thank you. Oh, I can’t believe I did it.”
“Well, you did. Now let’s get out, dry off and go have some lunch.”
(To be continued.)