While washing his mom’s car, Laurette shows up, invites him for drinks at six and drives off. His mom warns him not to go, but he does. He meets Laurette’s female lover, Lydia, who treats Clive badly. After two drinks he stumbles home and his mom pours a pitcher of water on him as he has fallen on the front lawn. And here Clive is supposed to be taking care of his eighty-five year old mom. Slowly he missed NYC less. He looked forward to getting to his canvas each morning. “The Great Debate began to arise, something that had been with him most poignantly for six decades or so, philosophically and politically: the conviction that mayhem rules and nothing solidly constructive can be done about it.” I concur as I reflect on my own habit of watching the DVR’d Daily Show and The Colbert Report every morning with my breakfast before a bike ride or yard chores. I, too, found the move here had its moments of regret about the need for NYC, but that soon abated and now trips to NYC are not needed but done to see people and then escape to this, my first love. I’m reading now with such joy and no encumbrances like work. His mom reflects on Clive’s painting again. “But I’m glad you’re painting again. Way back when you were an artist you were happier. You’d come out for the summer visit with Tessa and Sabrina and we’d have picnics and we drove up to Mackinac Island and stayed in a fancy hotel. Remember? When you became a big shot professor you always acted like you were at a funeral.” Clive has come full circle back to his first love. He has sublet the NYC apartment for six months and will use the other six as a wandering painter.
I can relate to how we get to our second life and appreciate the now as my hummingbirds scurry about the feeder and the sound of early morning chatter, the monotonous waves pounding continually even when I’m not there, and the road racing along under my handlebars. And then I find myself relaxed with my first love, a book.