Dee had less time to visit Marsha in Cambridge, often pleading work. When she
finally had time she found Marsha, pregnant with number four, exhausted. “This one
is so much worse than the others.” “What does the doctor say?”
Marsha grimaced. “He chuckled and patted me on the shoulder and said, ‘Must be
routine by now.’ Men.”
The doorbell rang. “That’s the mail.” Let me get it.” “No, no. I’ll do it.” Dee watched
Marsha push herself up from the armchair. “We’re waiting for something.” She
moved heavily toward the mail basket hanging on the front door. Wedged between
the supermarket flyers and the coupon offers was a long white envelope. Marsha
carried it into the living room. She smiled as she ran her thumb over the embossed
return address, weighing the envelope in her hand. “Maybe this is it.” “Aren’t you
going to open it?” Marsha shook her head and propped the envelope on a shelf. “No,
I’ll let Carl do it. It’s about the new job – I hope. We may be moving to Chicago.”
Dee was surprised and relieved all at once. “Chicago?” “Carl has applied for a job at
the university there. If he gets it…” She looked at the envelope. “It will make a big
difference. We can move to Chicago, get a bigger place, hire a nanny, get a cleaning
lady.” Marsha closed her eyes. “It would be wonderful.”
Dee took a deep breath and told Marsha her own news. “Mr. Shapiro has sold the
company and is moving to New York to be part of a bigger PR firm. He wants me to
move with him.” There it was, out in the open, somehow more real, more concrete.
Dee hadn’t yet accepted the offer, asking for time to think it over. She was sure
Marsha would be shocked, afraid for her, warning her of all the dire things that could
happen to a single woman in New York. She was even hoping for some reaction
from her friend, pushing her to a decision, for or against. Marsha’s reaction
surprised her. “That’s wonderful. Then you’ll be moving too, and New York is closer
to Chicago. You can visit.”
Typical and somehow disappointing, thought Dee. Marsha sees everything through
her own perspective, no help there. “I haven’t decided yet.” “What does Fred say?”
“Oh, I haven’t talked to him about it. Why should I?” “But you should. You must.
Maybe he has plans for you too.” Dee, who had a suspicion this might be true, didn’t
want to get into a long talk about relationships and futures, but said she would take
one more night to think it over. She promised to call the next morning to find out if
Chicago had made the offer and say whether she’d be moving too.
When Mr. Shapiro had told her about his plan, her first thought had been to search
for another job, the help wanted pages again, but after five years at EDC she
realized that changing jobs, bosses, all of it, would be worse than moving to a
different city. Besides she liked Mr. Shapiro. He was an easy-going boss. She liked
the work. Who knew what she would find instead? The work, the contacts, her boss
would all be the same, just in a different place. There was really nothing holding her
Talking to Marsha about the possible change had made it seem like a real possibility.
When Dee called the next morning to announce her decision and ask Marsha about
the letter, Marsha laughed, admitting she’d only had a sip of the spumante, but she
would save the bottle, a souvenir of their time in Boston.
Dee wondered what her souvenir of Boston would be. Certainly not Fred, although
he’d promised to drive down as often as possible. He wasn’t as shocked as he might
have been. Maybe he’d seen it coming or only tried to echo her own coolness. She
was convinced his visits – if they happened at all – would become less and less
frequent and that was fine with her.