A Fitting Place – Excerpt

The lunchtime conversation haunted Lindsey for the rest of the day. It came back with a vengeance while she brushed her teeth before bed … having to admit to Dee that she’d left Ted’s toothbrush sitting in the bathroom of the country house. What she’d said to Dee was true—that she’d stopped noticing it—but she knew that at some level, she was still clinging to the idea of them as a family.

As she put her toothbrush down, the light caught the stones in her pendant and cast two small red discs on either side of a single white spot on the bathroom wall. She stared at them, fascinated by the myriad ways in which light could come alive, but they disappeared the moment she raised her hand to touch them. She rubbed the pendant between her fingers as she stared at the now blank spot on the wall. Although this tiny piece of jewelry was the repository of some of her most treasured memories, it had been years since she thought consciously about why she always wore it.

But now, she couldn’t avoid thinking about the day Ted gave it to her, the day Zoey was born. He’d had it made by their neighborhood jeweler in Sydney. A ruby for each of the July-born women he loved, and a diamond for himself, an April Fools’ baby.

She’d worn that pendant for thirteen years, rarely taking it off. For many of those years, as they lay in bed at night, he’d run his fingers along the chain around her neck, and tell her that she was more valuable than any jewel he could ever hope to buy.

When had he stopped doing that?

Turning to observe herself in the mirror, she reached up and opened the clasp at the back of her neck. She held her hands there for several moments, then slowly lowered them, and dropped the chain and pendant into the top drawer of the bathroom vanity.

The diamond in her world was gone, and she could no longer pretend it would return.