When Lang opens the bedroom door, Eleanor is asleep with a smile on her face.
Eleanor’s face with a man and a smile.
Lang stands there gripping the doorknob, registering the small details that construct a larger impression: the book splayed on the floor like a dead bird–the smooth sudden beauty of Elle’s bare shoulder emerging from the black silk kimono, the one Lang gave Rosemary on their first anniversary–the heft of the man under the quilt beside her–mardi gras beads draping the canopy bed like lurid party streamers–big brown boots at the foot of the bed–the naked sole of Elle’s foot peeking from under the quilt–
or is it Mae’s foot, Mae with a wig. With her eyes shut. Playing sleeping beauty.
But no. That makes no sense at all. It’s her own girl.
Lang steps back into the hallway and shuts the door.
Downstairs at the kitchen sink. The water’s too hot. Elbows propped on the edge and hands cupped under the tap. It flows down between her thumbs, fills her hollow hands and pushes out between her fingers. Like trying to hold an explosion. She sinks down like a stone.
If you want to read the rest, then ask your publisher-friend to make it happen.