You can barely her Lily thank her. She watches her go, and smiles again to get the joy back, to breathe through the fear, to remember what Jenny said, how happy that little girl is, smiles until it feels real, picks up her glasses and her notecards. They are still blank. The future is blank.
"I don't even know how she breathes with her blouse buttoned that high," Serena said, and it was true: she'd buttoned all the way up to her glassy eyes. She had to. You button up, that's what being a grownup is about, and that's the thing Rufus will never understand. He knows how to play the guitar, and he knows how to run from Prada to DUMBO in jeans, knows how to show you his heart, right out there in public, shivering in the cold, but he never figured out how to button up.
Sometimes you step outside and breathe, and remind yourself who you are, and all the things you could be and could have been. But there comes a time when you go back inside. It's not very romantic, but romance is for DUMBO. We live in a Bass world, where love is about what you do, for the people you love, and not just about who you are.
And today, just after four, you could see a woman standing in her wedding gown, in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, buttoning up against the cold. She knows she'll have to go out there eventually, into all that life. She will breathe it in. And she'll be looking down the aisle as the guests leave one by one, in towncars and taxis, and as they go, she'll stand still, looking down the street, getting older.
Pretty soon she'll be all alone, but she will keep standing there, for all the world to see. They won't know her like you and I do; they won't love her. All they'll see is this: Just some lovely woman, with her eyes shining and her heart breaking. Still too afraid to breathe where he can see her.
For now, she is framed amid a million arches and doorways, gorgeous. Terrified. Over her head, along the ceiling, framed around her stillness, you can read the bold part:
"A careful reading of this book will have led the student to realize that the unsolved problems of botany are more numerous and quite as interesting as those we have solved. The essence of science is the endeavor to ascertain by the best method that which is most worth knowing." -- Fundamentals Of Botany, by Charles Stuart Gager (1916)