That Summer in Maine: A Novel by Brianna Wolfson
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 3.2 MB
A novel about mothers and daughters, about taking chances, about exploding secrets and testing the boundaries of family
Years ago, during a certain summer in Maine, two young women, unaware of each other, met a charismatic man at a craft fair and each had a brief affair with him. For Jane it was a chance to bury her recent pain in raw passion and redirect her life. For Susie it was a fling that gave her troubled marriage a way forward.
Now, sixteen years later, the family lives these women have made are suddenly upended when their teenage girls meet as strangers on social media. They concoct a plan to spend the summer in Maine with the man who is their biological father. Their determination puts them on a collision course with their mothers, who must finally meet and acknowledge their shared past and join forces as they risk losing their only daughters to a man they barely know.
Hazel Box had been feeling self-conscious about the blackness of her hair lately. She had long gotten over having a different last name than her mom. She had even come to enjoy telling the tale about how her hazel eye came from her mother and her green eye came from her father, whoever he was, wherever he was. But the blackness of her hair was really beginning to get to her now. Every other member of her family was blond. The blond of Marilyn Monroe and stock photos of Midwestern families. The blond that could look white depending on how the light hit it.
Lately, sitting down at the dinner table had become an exercise in holding back tears.
“Food’s ready, honey!” her mother shouted from the other room.
Hazel flinched. She considered staying locked in her room and declaring she had too much homework, but her tummy grumbled. So she dragged her feet along the hallway and into the kitchen. She was disappointed to see Cam there, though she should expect it by now. Cam always tried to be home from work early enough to share these moments with the family. Still, Hazel couldn’t help but wish and wish there was a single day, any day, he’d have to work late and miss dinner.
As soon as Hazel slid onto her chair and tucked her knees under the table, all those gurgling feelings of disgust and resentment and faraway-ness began stirring around in her belly again.
“How was school?” Cam asked Hazel without looking her way as he finished setting the table. Hazel felt like she was too old to be getting this question but sensed that it was a thing Cam thought fathers were supposed to ask their children. A thing he was practicing for when the twins grew up.
“Fine,” Hazel responded, barely audibly.
Cam continued to shuffle plates and cups and forks and knives from their cabinets and drawers onto the table. Hazel paused. There was an effortless rhythm to Cam’s sound in the kitchen. It was different than the syncopated clanking that used to ensue—dish knocking against dish, cabinets opening and closing precariously.
Hazel tried to recall when Cam started moving so naturally through space. When his movements became so automatic, rehearsed. Cam pulled a glass out of the cabinet, filled it up with water from the sink and leaned against the countertop as he took a slow, casual drink. There was so much comfort there, she thought. Like that glass, that water, that countertop was his. Like this space was his. Like this whole home was his.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the twins chattering in food-stained T-shirts despite their bibs. Her mother ran over to give all of her children kisses. Hazel was last.