I had a good friend I grew up with in California and like Lucy in this book, somewhere around the age of 30 my friend discovered that he had a half-brother than he’d never known existed. Their shared father made some efforts to get them involved in each other’s lives, but ultimately they weren’t, and I don’t believe my friend Christopher has seen this half-brother in twenty years at this point. They just weren’t interested, plus it complicated issues of inheritance and ownership of property and other rather important and often sticky matters.
Lucy and Loretta start off badly—very badly—but because of who they are as individuals, they are able to work through their problems, and end up like “real” sisters. They each move a little towards the middle, that ground between them where, well, Lucy can convince Ellen to give up her baby, and Loretta can understand why Lucy believes what she does about freedom of choice. In the end, given Lucy’s personal struggles with wanting to be a mother and yet not ever getting to a place where this was possible, the painful and not at all simple resolution of Ellen’s pregnancy turns out to be the best of all possibilities. Ellen surely pays a high price—not just juvenile detention time but also the guilt she feels at having done what she did. A justifiable homicide, yes…perhaps—but a homicide nevertheless. She doesn’t get away with murder…or does she? I wrote this story believing that what Ellen did was completely justified. There are surely those among you who might disagree, mildly or vehemently. Please feel free to weigh in. My arguments are not particularly sophisticated, but I think they are sound. Tell me otherwise. Convince me otherwise.
Everybody lives “happily” ever after, except maybe Ellen’s two brothers. We know Loretta will be better off away from her evangelical authoritarian husband. We know Lucy will be a great mother, and that she and the lawyer will love and respect one another. Ellen might fall apart again—she’s got a burden to bear—but she has a fighting chance at making a life for herself, thanks to Lucy.
Donna and I were going through some struggles before and during this time, in a vain effort to achieve fertility so we could have a baby. We were over 40 and it didn’t work out.
Instead, eventually, we went to China and adopted Jade, our daughter, who was 14 months old at the time and is now 17 years old and a junior in high school. She is a bright girl and the future looks good for her. We have taken good care of her, loved her well, and she is as happy as any 17 year old could be. At a certain point, you make a choice, and it turns out to be the right one. At least it did for us. And for Ellen and Lucy as well, at least so far.
What the future will bring to Lucy remains to be seen. I have a story half-told in my head. One of these days Lucy will make me tell it.