A recently divorced woman trudges out of one small, Maine town and into an even smaller one, hoping to escape her pain. Instead she finds herself surrounded by people who are trudging on, just like her. Waiting for things to get better. Waiting for spring.
Waiting For Spring
Tess Dyer is in pain.
It's not the kind of pain she can see and smell and wrap with an ace bandage. It's the kind she tries to numb with sex and work and cleaning-cleaning-cleaning the house. The kind that comes from enduring a lifetime of rejection. First from her mother--whom Tess knows would have aborted her had the law allowed it--then from a string of men whose names she can never remember. And finally, at age thirty-four, from her husband of ten years; the man who once promised to love her forever.
Now her divorce is final. She trudges out of one small Maine town and into an even smaller one. There she meets twenty-five-year-old Brian LaChance. He is struggling to keep Rachel, the sister he raised, from becoming another victim of the drug problem that infests their impoverished town. Brian is immediately drawn to Tess's quirky, outspoken nature, and to the beauty he sees in the haunting pictures she paints. Her own initial attraction to him is purely physical; just a warm, young body to help her mask the pain. Soon, though, she comes to admire his kindness and strength, and reluctantly allows herself to fall in love with him. But the fear of losing it is always there. Because Tess has heard the promise of forever before and now she knows that there's no such thing. And when her ex-husband pays an unexpected visit, his cruel, taunting remarks make Brian wonder whether her feelings for him are genuine. Whether they go any deeper than just sex after all.
Meanwhile, Rachel begins a relationship with an abusive drug dealer and dives head-first into the dangerous world of addiction. As his sister's life spirals out of control, Brian is unable to cope with his guilt and grief, and Tess is unable to comfort him. Because she has finally found a pain that sex will not bury. A pain that uncovers her own barely-suppressed feelings of worthlessness, and forces her to make a choice: continue wandering through life, drifting and numb, or confront her past and start living…for real.
Rachel looked up at the ceiling so I did, too. It was a drop ceiling, a grid. Big white squares with yellowish water stains here and there that looked just like piss. The Doctor and Dusty Pink Nurse talked to each other in low voices, about whatever it is that doctors and nurses talk about. And then it was time.
Stirrups. Ultrasound. The screen was pointed mercifully away from Rachel. Even if it hadn’t been she wouldn’t have seen it, because she didn’t shift her gaze, not once. Still looked straight up and I wondered if she was counting tiles. Or maybe counting the tiny little holes in the tiles. What were those holes? Were they there just for looks? Ventilation? Air bubbles that formed when the factory cooked the tiles? What the hell were those tiles made from, anyway? Styrofoam? Plastic?
It didn’t matter, and now I had to listen to The Doctor again. She was saying something about sedation. Demerol for pain and Valium to help her relax. Rachel nodded. She was all for that. Until The Doctor mentioned the dangers of giving it to her if she’d consumed any drugs or alcohol in the past twenty four hours. And that’s when she had to tell us.
She’d taken Something last night. Right before she’d hopped into bed.
“Just so I could sleep, Tess. Just so I--”
I put my hand up. “It’s alright, Rach.”
I said it even though it wasn’t alright. It was as far away from alright as we could get. But it was a done thing and right now I couldn’t do anything about it. Right now she needed to settle down and not worry about Condemnation and Judgment and Consequences. There would be enough of that later. But when it came it wouldn’t be from me, and it wouldn’t be about the Something that had helped her drift off to sleep. It would be even worse. It would be Rachel judging Rachel. I knew it. I could see it in her eyes. Already.
--Chapter 26 WFS