Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Brilliant Morning Light

by David Meuel

Lynn loved the mornings when she woke up at Roger’s. She loved the warmth of his body close—sometimes very close—to hers. And she loved the long columns of brilliant, direct light that poured in around the sides of Roger’s thick red curtains to announce the new day. After six years of sleeping alone in her room, where the first light of morning was always dim and gray, this was magnificent.

That May morning, Lynn also thought about how important this day was going to be. Her daughter Kimberly was flying in from Boston. She had just completed her junior year at Wellesley and was going to spend the summer with Lynn in San Jose. Finally, Kimberly and Roger were going to meet.

After Lynn’s husband died, Kimberly became the center of her life. And, as time passed, Lynn saw the two of them more as friends than as mother and daughter. Lynn told Kimberly nearly everything, so much more than she and her own mother ever shared. And she appreciated how open Kimberly was about her life, even about the boys she dated.

When Kimberly went away to college, Lynn became painfully lonely and thought about dating again herself. She hadn’t seriously looked at any man besides Kimberly’s father for twenty-five years, and the prospect seemed frightening. But she made the leap and went out with several men who, for one reason or another, just didn’t fit. Then, at a business luncheon four months ago, she was seated next to Roger. They chatted, exchanged cards, met for coffee, and after that everything flowed as easily as the light that streamed into his bedroom in the mornings.

Lynn was both excited and nervous when she introduced Kimberly and Roger at the airport that afternoon. They smiled and shook hands, but Lynn could tell immediately that they weren’t going to like each other.

As the days passed, the tensions grew. Kimberly thought Roger was too self-centered and simply not good enough for Lynn. Roger thought Kimberly was a snob and a “manipulative brat.” Soon, Kimberly objected to Lynn spending nights at Roger’s, and Roger criticized Lynn for being weak and letting Kimberly walk all over her. The more Lynn tried to please them both, the worse things got.

After two months, a sad, frustrated Roger broke up with Lynn. She still had Kimberly, but, after another month, Kimberly was back at Wellesley. Lynn’s house was empty again. And the warmth of Roger’s body and the brilliant light that once shined on them both were just things she remembered each morning, when she woke up alone in the dim, gray light of her room.

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