Wickett's Remedy

Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg Read Free Book Online

Book: Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg Read Free Book Online
Authors: Myla Goldberg
cured me, Lydia, and for the first time in my life I’m healthy. No fevers, no coughing, no weakness. Today, after I did what I ought to have done months ago, I actually
home. Can you imagine? Before you cured me I would have exhausted myself just walking from the trolley to the front door. Darling, you’ve shown me that medicine is bunkum!”
    She could certainly work until they had children, but after that he would need to bring home a salary. She supposed he could work at Wickett Imports, Ltd., but he hated his father’s business. She felt strangely exhausted. She needed to lie down.
    Henry’s voice grew more certain. In his excitement he launched himself from the settee to pace the room. “And so now, instead of doing what others expect, I’m going to follow my destiny,” he declared.
    If she went immediately to sleep, there was a chance her husband would arrive home at the expected hour. She would apologize for not having dinner ready and tell him about her strange midafternoon dream.
    But instead he continued. “Today is the beginning of a new life for us, Lydia. We are going to be the sole proprietors of—you’re going to like this—Wickett’s Remedy!” He stood tall and proud before the window, the light behind him transforming his face into asilhouette of the sort found inside anonymous, abandoned cameo brooches.
    “You’re not making any sense,” she insisted from the couch, a veritable wax statue save for her moving lips. Then, as though the pin holding her to the divan had been spontaneously withdrawn, she started up in a burst of movement and began to pace the path her husband had abandoned. It still seemed possible he would reveal his announcement to be a terrible joke.
    “No, my dear, for the first time in my life I
making sense,” he rallied. “I finally know what I am meant to do. You can’t imagine how stultifying it is to spend life so uncertain of what path to take, going through motions someone else prescribed simply due to an inability to choose a different course. When I look back on my boyhood I can’t help but despair at how much time spent in sickbeds might have been avoided.”
    In his renewed excitement he resumed his pacing, matching his steps with his wife’s. “I ask you: how much sickness is caused by loneliness? By lack of sympathy? These are the people I intend to reach, darling. These are the people Wickett’s Remedy is meant to cure.
    She hated the whisper of her house slippers against the floor. Her steps sounding like a curtain being pushed aside. She would have gladly traded her nicest pumps for a pair of her brother’s work boots in order to fill the room with sound.
    “Henry Wickett,” she cried, “if I’d wanted to marry a man who thought loneliness could be cured by something from inside a bottle I would have stayed in Southie.”
    Henry smiled. “You’re exactly right, darling, you can’t cure loneliness or provide sympathy with a bottle. But you can with a letter.”
    She stood at the far corner of the room and stared at her husband as if he were speaking Chinese.
    “If I hadn’t written you,” Henry explained in the patient, tender voice she had adored in every circumstance until now, “you would either still be working at Gilchrist’s or you would be a Southie wife. And I—I would still be sickly and devoting myself to something I despised.”
    Though it was petty, she would have liked to remind Henry that she had not received a single letter since becoming his wife. She did not know why she had expected Henry’s letters to continue once the days no longer kept them apart, but for months Wednesday had felt hollow when it brought no blue envelope bearing her name.
    Henry’s voice swelled. “If letters could bring us so much good, then what’s to stop them from helping others? Sufferers of hypochondriacal illnesses will never find lasting relief from a bottle, but if my letters can offer them some pale happiness or companionship,

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