The seeds drift in offhand conversations, in the daily news, in the air we breathe.
“I saw him downtown with that girl—Whatshername—you know the one I mean—with the fizzy blond hair …”
“Patti Pritchett? Don’t tell me.”
“That’s it. Would you believe it?”
“Who is that woman, do you know?”
“No, but I keep seeing her …”
“Right—walking. Always walking.”
“Strange. She looks a little weird, don’t you think?
“Donnie has a man teacher this year.”
“A man! Teaching third grade?”
“Right. Big burly blond—like a football player, but soft.”
“You have to wonder, don’t you?”
Which ones find the soil to germinate, grow, and flower into suspicion, then conviction?
“Doubt,” Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character says in the opening soliloquy of the 2008 movie by that name, “can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty.” If you missed that movie, which was nominated for several Oscars, Hoffman and Meryl Streep give a masterful performance on this powerful theme.
In my just released novel, HOME FIRES , Myra Benning, wife of a promising oceanography professor, flicks on the answering machine and hears …
“Derek—Professor Benning. This is Gina. Call me.”
The nervous young voice clicked off, leaving Myra staring at nothing. The only motion was the drifting fog, the only sound her own breathing; if she stood here long enough, the fog and the sea would lift all else away; gradually all would grow faint, diaphanous and vanish. But it didn’t. Not this time. The mistaken use of his first name—the urgency, even anger, in her voice. The breathy intimacy of the tone. Gina with no last name or phone number. Like rocks, damning lumps crashed through her barriers and lay inert.
Once trust is broken, what’s next? Who should she believe? What should she do?
Myra’s decisions carries her into deeper and deeper waters that fracture family and more.