"She had an edge to her, but we became pretty close this summer. She meant a lot to our family."
There was more but there weren't words for more. It was enough. Even Buttercup understood.
"You must have meant a lot to her too," the daughters said. "Otherwise she wouldn't have left you the house." Marlene added a daughter and a grandson to her life, changed the will, left Cathy the house. Cathy was shocked: It was Eddie who built that house, all those years ago. Stocked it with memories.
In her shock and her ideas of right action Cathy gave the house back again, to the daughters. They'd assumed it was a symptom of Marlene's illness to begin with; that everything they didn't like and didn't understand about their mother, the glorious complexity and the hidden glints of light, were just symptoms of illness. Shoved into a box and put on a shelf for irrelevance, like any other lonely old woman.
Paul won on a scratch-off, at just the wrong moment; Cathy smiled awkwardly at the daughters and went home.
In the mailbox was an envelope: A building permit, exactly three months in coming just as the man said. A pool for the summer, now that it was done.
"Thank you, Marlene," Cathy laughed, looking up into the sky.
They will tell you that not choosing is itself a choice, and that is true.
Cathy had the men in, to finish building the pool. She was giddy. "I want to be able to dive into my pool by the end of the summer," she said, when his look calmed her down; the man reminded Cathy that the summer would end tomorrow.
"You need to find a new dream," said the man, and behind her eyes Cathy smiled brightly, and let it fall.
"You wait by the phone," she said, too disappointed to explain herself now.
Rebecca found Sean, still terrified by her, and the smell of him made her violently ill. "See? You're like the Exorcist! You have so much evil in you, some of it had to blow out!" But Rebecca was pregnant. With his son or daughter. She'd said she was on the Pill, but now she was pregnant.
"What pill was that, Zoloft?"
Rebecca took a breath and admitted some things. She'd gotten kind of lazy about the Pill since turning forty, figuring her Fallopian ship had sailed. He called her stupid; women in their hundreds were having babies by that time. She shook her head.
"You've really got a lot of nerve. I had a completely shitty weekend trying to figure out how and why this Immaculate Conception even occurred. But I've decided even though it's a cruel joke from God, probably, that I'm going to call his bluff. Because I think this is the last shot that I'm gonna get at having a biological child, so: Out of decency and respect, I just wanted to let you know that you're gonna have a blood child in the world. But that's all I'm doing, just letting you know. I don't need anything from you. I don't expect anything from you. I am just letting you know."