A week passed, and then two, and then Susan stopped pleading with Lincoln to “let it go… comeback” to her and the children. She gave up thinking that words, food, or sex would make a difference. By then, Lincoln was spending the greater part of his days in bed or on the living room sofa in front of the television trying to soothe his aching memory, watching movies of people who live golden, storybook lives dissolve into one another like the pixilated landscapes of a Monet painting.
Grief brought with it an incurable disorder to their lives. Susan was pregnant with their fourth child, and the unbearable redundancy of Lincoln’s addiction seemed permanent. She no longer recognized the stunted, frail man slurring words and gestures together in an ancient speak that recalled generations of sorrow. Not just that Lincoln was less of the man she loved, but that he, whoever he was (a forgotten season in some other woman’s life?), had appeared without a bit of warning. Not a threat or danger that she could do anything about.
Had it been another woman, had he been the longing of some other woman’s misfortune, she could confront the lies and indiscretions and prepare for the inevitable defense. But this was not a woman, or even a man. Not nearly, a man, but a relentless god she watched and waited for as one watches and waits for rain. With everyday that passed, knowing more, she knew as she knew the life that grew inside her, it would come—that moment—when not all the love in the world would matter as much as the ability to obliterate pain.