At First Sight
than usual, Miss Lexie. Engagement definitely suits you, my dear.”
“Thank you, Tom,” Lexie said.
Doris rolled her eyes and was about to shoo him from the room when Gherkin turned his attention back to Jeremy again.
“Do you mind if we talk business for a minute here?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Now, I’d be remiss as a public servant if I neglected to ask if you were planning to write something special about Boone Creek, now that you’re living here, I mean. It might be a good idea, you know. And good for the town, too. For instance, did you know that three of the top four catfish ever found in North Carolina have been fished from Boone Creek? Think about that . . . three out of the top four. There just might be some sort of magical quality in the water.”
Jeremy didn’t know what to say. Oh, his editor would love that one, wouldn’t he? Especially the title: “Magic Water Responsible for Giant Catfish.” Not a chance. He was already on thin ice for leaving New York; if there were ever any cutbacks at the magazine, he had the sneaking suspicion that he’d be the first to go. Not that he needed the income; most of that had come from the freelance articles he sold to other magazines and newspapers, and he’d invested well over the years. He had more than enough to survive for a while, but the column at Scientific American definitely kept his profile higher than it might have been.
“Actually, I have my next six columns done already. And I haven’t decided on the next story, but I’ll keep the giant catfish in mind.”
The mayor nodded, pleased. “You do that, my boy. And listen, I want to officially welcome you both back to town. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that you’ve chosen our fine community to be your permanent home. But I have to get back to the bingo game. Rhett’s been calling the numbers, but with him barely able to read, I’m afraid he’s going to make some sort of mistake and a riot’ll break out. Lord only knows what the Garrison sisters will do if they feel they’ve been cheated.”
“Folks do take their bingo seriously,” Doris agreed.
“Truer words have never been spoken. Now if y’all will excuse me, duty calls.”
With a quick turn-remarkable considering the man’s girth-he was out of the room, and all Jeremy could do was shake his head. Doris peeked beyond the door to make sure no one else was coming, then leaned toward Lexie. She motioned toward her granddaughter’s belly.
“How are you feeling?”
Listening to Doris and Lexie whisper about Lexie’s pregnancy, Jeremy found himself thinking that there was an irony involved in having and raising children.
Most people were aware of the responsibilities of having and raising children, he knew. Having watched his brothers and their wives, he knew how much their lives could change once a child came along; no more sleeping in on the weekends, for instance, or going out to dinner on the spur of the moment. But they claimed they didn’t mind, since they viewed parenting as a selfless act, one in which they were willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of their children. Nor were they unique. In Manhattan, Jeremy had come to believe that this view was often taken to extremes. Every parent he knew made sure his or her child attended the best schools, had the finest piano teachers, and participated in the right sports camps, all with the goal of enabling the child to one day attend an Ivy League college.
But didn’t this selflessness actually require selfishness?
That’s where the irony came in, Jeremy thought. After all, it wasn’t as if people needed to have children. No, he knew that having a child was essentially about two things: It was the next logical step in a relationship, but secretly it was also a deep-down desire to create a miniaturized version of “you.” As in “you’re” so special, it was simply inconceivable that the world should be burdened with the fact that there’s only one of

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