- Vol. 06
- Chapter 05
The pills made her feel weightless – weightless and remote, like a spaceman floating in inky darkness. Nothing can touch me out here, thought Marjory. The pills were her spacesuit, her armour. Fourteen layers of airtight cushion between her and the outside world.
‘Uh, Mom? Like, hello? Are you listening?’
Her eldest daughter, Caitlyn. Five foot two and ninety pounds of concentrated, weapons-grade entitlement. Fiery blue eyes, jet-black hair and a stubborn jut to her jaw. Yes, thought Marjory – as she had many times before – Caitlyn was very much her father's daughter.
'Of course I’m listening,’ said Marjory. ‘You were explaining why I should lend you fifty thousand dollars.’
'Um, more like fifty-seven,’ said Caitlyn, ‘once you factor in sales tax, insurance and stuff.’
'Right,’ said Marjory. 'But what I can’t wrap my head around is why you feel you need a new car.’
'For my internship,’ said Caitlyn. ‘Duh.’
'But you'll be working in your father's law firm,’ said Marjory. 'Wouldn't it make more sense to carpool with him? Since you'll both be setting off at the same time, from the same place.’
Caitlyn screwed up her face in exasperation. For a pretty girl, thought Marjory, she had rather a knack for making herself look ugly.
'No, Mother.’ Caitlyn's voice dripped with sarcasm. ‘It wouldn't make sense, actually. See, if I carpool with Henry, then everyone will know I'm the boss's daughter. How do you expect people to take me seriously if they think I'm just some silly little rich girl who's helping her daddy around the office? They’ll think I'm only there because of who my father is.’
Marjory squinted. She was struggling to follow Caitlyn's logic. The pills played havoc with her attention span. 'But won't they think that anyway? You do look quite alike. Not to mention you share a surname.’
'About that ...’ Caitlyn appeared suddenly awkward – an unusual look for her. ‘I was thinking of using your maiden name. If that's, like, okay and stuff. That way, no one will know that Henry’s my dad. They'll just think I'm some nobody's daughter.’
Marjory smiled. These pills really were marvellous. They made one quite numb. Dr Nussbaum had prescribed them a few months before the divorce, when the evidence of Henry’s infidelity had become impossible to ignore. Caitlyn could’ve been beating her with a baseball bat, and she wouldn’t have felt a thing.
‘What about your Civic. That still runs, right?’
‘Ugh I don’t want them to think I’m a pauper. I need to keep up appearances, you taught me that. I was thinking something sporty, like an MG?’
Marjory closed her eyes and gazed down at the earth, that distant curve of eggshell blue. The country club noises faded into the background. Tinkling of cutlery, genteel murmur of conversation. Nothing could touch her out here, not even Henry’s betrayals or her daughter’s scorn. She was a spaceman floating in an airtight suit. Armour-clad. Untouchable.