Fortunate Lives

Fortunate Lives by Robb Forman Dew Read Free Book Online

Book: Fortunate Lives by Robb Forman Dew Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robb Forman Dew
that will change anything,” he said, and he looked to Dinah for a signal, but she had her
     attention fixed on him only marginally, which made Martin cringe for him in spite of himself. Owen bent forward in his chair
     with the urgency of what he needed to say. “I was just driving
home
….” It was an appeal. He was only going home; he was not rushing to any place particularly desirable. “I’d just gotten off
     from practice, and I was late…. The sun was in my eyes and I didn’t
see.
…” His face suddenly tensed in an effort to fight tears, his mouth crumpled inward at the corners, and still Dinah simply
     gazed back at him, abstracted. “I didn’t
see
….” He couldn’t go on with what he was saying until he looked down at his hands and took a long breath. “I don’t even remember
     thinking about it….” Finally he couldn’t go on at all, but just bent his head to his hands. The adults were frozen where they
     sat, with Owen’s words hanging over them.
    Judith had begun to cry then, and she reached out her open hands in an appeal to Dinah. “Oh,
Dinah
! What do we do now? What do you want us to do? What can we do?”
    For the first time since the accident, Dinah’s attention seemed to become engaged. She blinked at Judith and her mouth quivered.
     “What can we do?” She spoke as though she were repeating a phrase in a foreign language whose meaning wasn’t entirely clear
     to her. “Well… I don’t know.” She sat back in her chair, giving way to exhaustion all at once, her face becoming less taut,
     her eyelids drooping. “Well…”—and she gestured outward with one hand—“we just go on, I guess.” And Judith leaned her headagainst the back of her own chair and closed her eyes while tears ran down her face.
    Larry Croft looked from Dinah to Martin, but he didn’t speak for a moment. “Owen’s talked to the police, of course. We don’t
     know what charges…”
    But Dinah held her hand up to negate what he was saying, what she was hearing. She rose from her chair in oddly uncoordinated
     slow motion and turned away from all of them, making her way slowly off down the hall, her arms extended slightly, palms outward
     as though she were moving in the dark.
    Larry got up, and Martin rose with him, although Judith continued to sit with her eyes closed in silent weeping. Owen had
     straightened up, but he was teary and he didn’t look at anyone. They were all helpless in the silent room, and Martin realized
     that that was what Dinah had understood almost at once when she had heard about Toby’s death—the pointlessness of all their
     overwhelming sorrow.
    “Maybe this was the wrong time to come,” Larry said. “What we wanted you and Dinah to know is how sorry we are.” He paused
     again and ran his hand over his head where his hair had receded. “Oh, God… I don’t know any way for you to know how sorry
     we are.” He leaned toward Martin and grasped his upper arm in an attempt to draw forth Martin’s comprehension of what he was
     saying. His tone was confiding. “I mean, here we are with our own son standing right here. But we aren’t making any excuses,
     Martin. Owen’s not either. He never did. He never did to us or the police….”
    Martin found himself overtaken with an unspecified sensation of pity so powerful that he felt light—unfettered by his own
     body. A sweet, metallic taste rose in the back of his throat, and he shook his head to stop Larry from continuing. “We just
     go on, Larry. We just go on. Dinah’s right. We’ll just have to go ahead.” He looked over inclusively atOwen and Judith, who was drying her eyes and rising from her chair.
    And Martin, remembering all this, saw now that after that meeting they all had gone ahead—what alternative had there been?—but
     they had only progressed in fits and starts, and the amorphous sorrow and shock in the town concerning Toby’s death had been
     left unresolved, glimmering through the air

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