BY MURIEL RUKEYSER
The world is full of loss; bring, wind, my love,
my home is where we make our meeting-place,
and love whatever I shall touch and read
within that face.
Lift, wind, my exile from my eyes;
peace to look, life to listen and confess,
freedom to find to find to find
Nothing has changed except Angela Dunnewald. Sustained by a large, rich inner life, she’s seen to her husband Ross and his wishes with little trouble for nineteen years, and stayed best friends with Lydia for twelve, but her will, her ability, to care about the things they do has dissolved. For Ross, there’s keeping their social calendar full, making sure their housekeeper Ina has hung his carefully starched shirts in his closet by color, buying steaks only from King’s. For Lydia, there’s her gossip and flirtations and need for attention. Angela loves them, she supposes – maybe not enough – but she’s come unglued.
There’s this: The very things closing her in and making her feel half-crazy – reminding the gardener to prune the matching crab apple trees afternoons never mornings; answering invitations the day they arrive; getting ready for a Lydia outing – put corners on her days, and give them shape and substance. But then, when Ross is gone, and he’s often gone, nerves surface, disorganization, and a sort of self-loathing.
And this: During the first moments Ross is out the door, she’ll feel weightless, free, and open to possibility. She’ll garden, read, get a full night’s sleep. She’ll have a party, invite friends in for lunch, or see something new at the galleries on Newbury Street. But she doesn’t. She walks from room to room, window to window, waiting for morning, waiting for Ina, waiting for Lydia to call with an idea as to how to spend the day, defenseless against pellets of nervous energy that skid under her skin like metal balls on a metal tray.