Wickett's Remedy

Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg Read Free Book Online
Authors: Myla Goldberg
then perhaps they will feel a small degree of the rejuvenation that has blessed me, through you.”
    “But Henry,” she cried, “I didn’t write you any letters! And while it’s true your letters brought us together, if I hadn’t been inclined toward you already, your letters wouldn’t have made a bit of difference!”
    “Exactly!” Henry exclaimed, and it was all she could do not to shriek. “And the people who buy remedies
want
to get well! Just as my letters coaxed a latentfeeling from within you, they will foster an inclination already present within my customers! What does it matter if someone buys a bottle of Wickett’s looking for a cure inside it and instead finds one in the letter that comes with it? The important thing is that they are cured! People will not accept being cured by words alone. They want something they can hold in their hand, something they can point to and say, ‘This did the trick.’ This is my calling, Lydia. This is why I have left medical school behind. So that I can help those whom medicine cannot.”
    He stared triumphant from the opposite corner, his arms crossed, looking like he expected her to applaud.
    She leaned against the wall for support. She closed her eyes and swallowed. She had worked so hard to make the flat feel new. Just yesterday she had found an old stain on the settee, one that had preceded their arrival, and though it had taken thirty minutes of vigorous scrubbing she had managed to remove it completely from the upholstery. She did not want to have to leave. Henry’s parents certainly would not take them in. They would have to return to Southie.
    Angelina Fratelli is positive Lydia is referring to the pomodoro stain left by a misfired plate of spaghetti thrown by her cross-eyed husband. As long as Angelina lived in the flat, she looked at that couch with fondness.
    “It was a dissection today, wasn’t it?” she began, proud of the evenness of her voice. “I know how hard those can be for you. I’m sure if you returned right now and apologized for whatever it was you said, they’d take you back. You’re the son of a prominent family; I’m sure they’d be happy to do it.”
    “Lydia,” he began.
    “I’m certain it’s not too late,” she continued.
    “Lydia—”
    “You can tell them you weren’t yourself,” she assured him. “Something came over you, but now you’re fine.”
    “LYDIA,” he shouted. It was the first time she had ever heard him raise his voice. “You’re the one who’s not yourself!” The way he was shaking his finger reminded her of Father O’Brian. “I have finally realized my destiny, the very destiny
you
prepared me for. You can’t possibly be displeased. I remind you that you are my
wife.

    Henry is certain his wife never caused him to speak in anger.
    He left the parlor. His steps moved down the hallway and into the bedroom. She observed the stillness of the room he had left behind: the settee from which she had once proclaimed her name as if she were royalty; the side table on which she had imagined Henry’s medical school friends would rest their drinks during parties they would now never throw; the broad, smooth floorboards of pumpkin pine on which she had imagined hosting dances once they could afford a phonograph. Lydia felt like she was attending a funeral for the room, the various aspects of its stillborn future laid out before her. She thrust her head out the parlor window and sucked in draughts of tepid West end air.
    According to Angelina, the room was much too small for dancing.

    You need an extra man behind the counter today, Mr. Thornly?
    Before the Somerset was divided into flats, Paolo di Franzio points out that it housed a dance academy. He prefers to think Lydia’s thoughts at this moment were influenced by his memory of having waltzed across that once spacious floor. His hope is Our shared desire: that at an unguarded moment, Our whisperings will broach a living ear.
    Hello there, Quentin. I

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