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nineteen

Nov. 25th, 2016 02:04 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
[personal profile] smackenzie
Two weeks later, Sadie boarded a train with her bridesmaid dress and her new bridesmaid shoes in a suitcase and her old winter coat with its new fur collar (an early birthday present from Gigi) around her shoulders, and she went back home for Rose's wedding.

The weather was cold and damp and windy, as if Mother Nature was threatening snow, and the trees along the train tracks were still bare. It seemed like a terrible, inhospitable month to get married, and Sadie wondered again if Rose and Mr Rockland - she'd have to start thinking of him as Adam now - needed to get married in a hurry, to do it now. They hadn't even known each other that long.

But then, her parents had only known each other eight months before they got married, and her Uncle Samuel and Aunt Minnie had known each other six, so who was to say? Maybe they really were that desperate to get started on that chapter of their lives.

Besides, Sadie couldn't see Rose as the kind of girl who would sleep with a man before she was married to him, even if they were engaged at the time.

You're the loose friend, her brain suggested, as she sat on the train and watched the landscape pass beyond the wet windows. She had to smile at herself. She wondered briefly what Rose and Ida really knew about her life, what they might have guessed, and what they would have shared. She hadn't been to any of Rose's bridal showers, because they were all up here and she hadn't been able to come. She'd been invited anyway, and had sent some embroidered pillow cases for the linen shower and a nice set of mixing bowls for the kitchen shower, and in the overhead compartment on the train was a box with a carefully packed, decoratively-painted water pitcher (courtesy of Addy) and a small photograph of Washington Square Park, taken at night during a snow shower (courtesy of Carroll, whose repertoire was thankfully broader than just vaguely obscene photographs of his friends without any clothes on). Sadie had thought the photograph was romantic, and she hoped the pitcher wasn't too avant-garde for Rose. The shower gifts had been much more conventional, but for the actual wedding Sadie wanted to give her friend something that represented her and her life, as well as something that Rose and her future husband would use.

Henny met her at the train station - Sadie had written both her family and some of her friends to let them know what she was coming, but only Henny had responded - kissed her on the cheek and told her how nice she looked.

"I guess the big city agrees with you," she said.

"You look good too," Sadie told her, and indeed she did - rosy-cheeked from the cold, her brown hair freshly bobbed, a modern-looking enamel pin on the collar of her dark red coat. "How's Rose?"

"So excited there's no living with her." Henny grinned. "You can meet my nice young man too. We've only been together a few weeks, but I think he's a keeper."

Henny drove Sadie home, chatting the whole way. Sadie hadn't heard much gossip, and now she got an earful of news about friends of theirs, about people they graduated with but hadn't really socialized with, about Rose and Ida's sisters and brother, about Henny's brother, about one of the history teachers at the high school who had run off with a bank clerk, about the new rabbi at the synagogue - "I didn't even know the old rabbi retired," Sadie said, and Henny had added that he was sick and had effectively hand-picked his replacement - about the owner of the Packard dealership who was being investigated for tax fraud, and about the opening of a new restaurant and club.

"They say it's a good place to go dancing," Henny said, finally winding down. "We should go while you're here. I bet the clubs in New York are much better."

"I don't know," Sadie said diplomatically. "I'd have to see this place before I can make a judgement."

"The drinks are probably better in New York." Henny grinned at the road. Sadie wondered if that were true. They were in the middle of nowhere here, but there might be enough back roads and secret paths to get into and out of Canada with a load of Canadian whiskey, whereas New York was full of liquor that had been made in the basement, with the occasional scattering of actual bottles smuggled in from overseas or over the border. Gigi had gotten her hands on champagne for New Year's, after all.

"It depends where you go. There's a place I like called Lucy's - it's a jazz bar - their cocktails are good, or at least good enough that you can't taste the liquor, and if you go somewhere like the Cotton Club you'll pay through the nose but you can assume you're at least getting decent liquor. But there are a lot of places that serve rotgut, barely disguised by juice or syrup." She thought about the Pepper Pot, overpriced but fun, and any one of a number of speakeasies dotting the Village, tiny crowded places with liquor strong enough to make you pie-eyed in short order, if you could just get past the taste.

"People have their ways," Henny said, turning onto Sadie's street. "We're all going out for dinner tonight. I can come get you at eight. It's just the wedding party, so you can meet the groomsmen. They're nice, I think."

"You think?"

Henny shrugged as she pulled up in front of Sadie's parents' house. It looked smaller than she remembered, but neat and tidy even with the bare-branched trees in front and the damp, empty flower beds. "They're pretty much all city men. They're slick. They dress well, though."

Sadie had never meet Mr Rockland - Adam, she had to remind herself, she should call him Adam - but from what Rose had said, he was kind and gentlemanly and sophisticated and smart and ambitious. Sadie suddenly realized that this meant Rose would be living in the city, or at the very least in a nice suburb in Brooklyn or Queens, or maybe even on Long Island or just north of the city in Westchester County. She'd get her big house and her yard, and she'd still be in the same area as Sadie, so they could, theoretically at least, still see each other.

But that was a pipe dream. Rose as a married woman would be if anything even more conventional and straight-laced than Rose as a single girl. She'd have an image to maintain and a status to hang on to, and she probably wouldn't have time for her bohemian friend down in the Village, with her modern dress patterns and her modern friends and her wild social life.

Maybe that was uncharitable. Ida would still be around, and from what Sadie could gather from her get-togethers with the twins, Rose had turned her matchmaking efforts towards finding her sister a good husband. No doubt she'd already tried to set her up with one of Adam's friends.

"Sadie," Henny said, putting her hand on Sadie's arm as Sadie started to get out of the car. "I have to ask you, because no one else will agree with me, but don't you think Rose is starting too early? She and Ida are just twenty. You don't think that's too young for a modern girl to get married?"

Sadie paused, her hand on the door, thinking. Henny was a gossip but she generally only share information you could get from someone else, and most of them time she was very good about keeping her friends' secrets of they asked. Sadie wasn't sure she wanted it known that she thought Rose was rushing into marriage, or that Adam was rushing her into it. But it would be nice to have some confirmation that she wasn't the only one who felt that way, and it would be especially nice to get confirmation from someone who knew Rose. Gigi had said she thought Rose was getting married way too early, but Gigi was enjoying her singlehood and couldn't understand why any girl would tie herself to a man so young. Addy didn't seem to want to get married at all, Marianna was happy in her marriage because she never saw her husband, and Layla couldn't marry another woman even if she wanted to. Sadie had learned that Julia Chase was married at nineteen, and that was some kind of scandal - according to Gigi, Julia would have eloped if her stepmother had refused to have the wedding as soon as possible - but from all accounts Julia was a special case.

"I was surprised when she told me she was engaged," she said. "It seemed to have happened really fast. But she's happy. I mean, this is what she wants. I think she could have waited a year, though."

"Good. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Her mother's over the moon, as you can probably guess."

That was no doubt due more to the kind of man that Rose was marrying, and less to do with the fact that she was marrying at all. Mrs Teitelbaum's future son-in-law was a lawyer in a big city law firm. That was something.

Sadie suddenly felt bad for Ida, having to watch her twin sister marry the kind of man any parents would be glad to have in their family, while she herself was still single. Altho Sadie was sure she wouldn't be single for very long, if Rose had anything to do with it.

She thanked Henny for picking her up at the train station, and Henny reminded her to be ready for dinner and hopefully dancing at eight, and Sadie got out of the car, retrieved her suitcase and the carefully-packed pitcher from the back seat, and went up the walk to her parents' house.

Her sister was the only one home, but Edith was so glad to see her that Sadie didn't immediately mind. Edith peppered her with questions about the trip and the city and her friends and her work and her apartment and Franny Teitelbaum said she had a boyfriend and what was he like and Mom and Dad were both at the grocery store and Jonathan was helping out in the bakery because Aunt Minnie twisted her ankle but Edith said someone needed to be at the house to welcome Sadie home and welcome home!

Sadie felt a little bowled over.

"Is that your own pattern?" Edith asked, pointing to Sadie's dress. She'd stopped talking long enough to let Sadie hang up her coat and hat and take off her winter boots and put her suitcase in the bedroom they used to share. Sadie looked down at the cream-colored knit with the blue and red zig-zag pattern and the pleated skirt. It had a blue belt and no collar. She nodded. "Will you make me a dress for the spring formal at school? Mom says I can go this year but I want a new dress. I found a pattern from McCall's but you know how hopeless I am with a sewing machine, but Mom won't buy me a dress ready-made. But you can make me one that no else has. Please? Pretty please?" Edith batted her eyelashes and put on her best begging face.

"Yes," Sadie said. "I'll make you a dress. Tell me what you want and I'll take your measurements home with me and make you something pretty."

"Thank you!" Edith threw her arms around Sadie. "You're the best. Mom and Dad have all kinds of opinions about you - well, Mom does, Dad is pretty quiet - but I knew you still loved me."

"Of course I still love you. Why would they think I didn't?"

"Because you haven't come home. You didn't come back for any of Rose's showers, and I know you were invited." She sat on her bed. "Tell me about your boyfriend. Franny said Ida said you have a boyfriend."

"I don't have a boyfriend." Sadie sat on her own bed and peered at Edith as if she could wring Ida's exact meaning from Edith's memory. "I was seeing someone, but I broke it off. But right now there isn't anyone else." Did Ida mean Leo? Had she figured something out about Alistair? Was she grasping at straws and telling people Sadie had a boyfriend because she couldn't bring herself to gossip about something she suspected (that Sadie was sleeping with someone) but couldn't prove?

Did Leo count as a boyfriend yet? Sadie had been to his house to meet his parents and so his mother could feed her, and in the intervening two weeks he'd been to see her a few times at the tailor shop, and he took her to the movies and out to dinner one Friday night. And she had broken it off with Alistair for him.

She might have to admit - to herself if no one else - that she was seeing a nice Jewish boy. Wouldn't her parents be pleased.

But her parents seemed more interested in trying to convince her to come home, when they bothered to talk about her life at all. Her mother came home with Jonathan a little after six, evidently to make dinner for the two youngest Grabels, and after she asked Sadie "How was the trip", she talked mostly about Sadie's aunt and uncle and cousins, about her own friends and their children, about a couple of young men from Sadie's high school class who were off at college, about the rest of the single young men who were working, about the sisterhood at the synagogue, and about the grocery.

She didn't seem interested in what Sadie was doing, or what her plans were, and if Sadie had wanted to mention Leo before, now she felt a perverse desire to share all the wild details of her life with her mother instead. Lucy's. The Pepper Pot. Posing naked for Carroll and seeing photographs of her bare back and ass hanging in a gallery. Alistair. Marianna's unconventional and successful marriage. Victor and his nice young man. Layla and her ladies with bohemian pretensions. Roman and his string of girls. His all-female Hamlet. Gigi. The nights that ran so late they turned into mornings. The Russian poet who lived upstairs from her with his two girlfriends. Her many happily unmarried friends. The theater collective. The times she woke up hungover, or sleep-deprived, or still tipsy from the night before.

The fact that she'd had a casual sexual relationship with a lovely young man in her building, who would read her his poetry and listen to her talk about her work, and who could make her come with his mouth and his tongue and his long bony fingers.

She wanted to tell her mother everything her mother might have suspected but still wouldn't have wanted to hear. Instead she said nothing, because her mother didn't seem to care if she was part of the conversation or not.

It was a relief when she could take a bath and get dressed for dinner, and even more of a relief when Henny came to get her at eight.

Adam's groomsmen were just as Henny said - slick city boys in nice suits, but they were friendly and more or less gentlemanly, although after the group of them went off to a club to dance, one of them became very interested in Sadie's body, which he let her know by telling her that he knew what girls from the Village were like, and he liked that about them.

She lied and said she had a boyfriend. He said he didn't care.



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