Section E

The youngest one is knocking on your bedroom door. She wants something to eat. You hear one of the other girls shouting that she can make her own food, what’s the big deal? But still the little one persists. Please, Mama, she says, a lisp in her s. You make the best PB&J, she says, and though your mama heart melts at such an innocent plea, you cannot bear to see all those bright faces, full of expectation, so you lie still and focus on breathing softly, keeping your secrets caged away. For minutes you remain like this—both of you still, both of you listening—and you wonder at the many ways your life might have been different.

My girl, if this were a different kind of story, you would finish the bottle of wine beside your bed, feeling sorry for yourself and the choices you’ve made, and sleep through till morning. You would have a choice to wash the dishes or not, to tell your girls you love them or not. But this isn’t that kind of story. We still have so many choices to make.

Tell me, what crossroad would you like to return to?

The night last week when you realized what was really going on between the man Oren and your most beautiful daughter? Go to section I.

The afternoon six weeks ago when the man Oren first showed up at the chowder shop? Go to section F.