The French doors swing open with violent force, hinges spurred along by the grease your husband used to lather them with. Their squeaking was a nuisance on his teleconference calls. Sea air whips the chiffon into your face and you grin. A wandering gardener sees you on the balcony and flees.


Your husband. He was still in Hong Kong, somewhere, “stranded” as he told you, the one time he’d called since March 2020. A year had passed, stretched into a limp oblivion, while you had waited for him to sign the papers. He probably wants your house, and your Belgian marble, and your squeaking French doors, and the crying children.

He couldn’t have them.

The first of several therapists you’d screened had recommended yoga. “To relax,” they cooed. The next had suggested surfing, while the Hamptons weather wasn’t too gusty. The one you’d settled on had handed you a book on fashion. “You’re creative. Do something with it!”


The Dolce & Gabbana gown went first. You felt powerful, and tried to rip it, but settled for scissors. Next went the Fendi spandex, and the Armani Prive gloves. Louis Vuitton and Van Cleef & Arpels brooches were dumped next to Boucheron diamonds. The boarding school had sent your son home with a glue gun. Or he’d stolen it, so you stole it back.

Clack. The French doors close. Clack. Your hands rest on cool, wrought-iron bannisters, heavily bejeweled fingers sending warm resonant tones throughout the foyer. Still grinning, you clap your hands a few times. The nanny emerges, with your daughter. “Yes, Mrs. Murdoch?”


Clack. Clack. Clack.

You rush down the spiraling staircase, back to Earth, and sweep your daughter up into your arms. “Bordeaux, my love. I made this myself.” She’s crying again.


“Doesn’t mommy look pretty?”

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