If she drops off her child wearing inorganic rubber-soled shoes, they will notice. If she feeds him one fewer leaf of kale, they will notice. If she comes one minute later than she did yesterday, they will notice that, too, because they stand around before yoga and watch her, and they will notice how Manhattan she looks while doing it all.
She does not fit here.
A few miles over the bridge, Nick promised Melinda a lot of things. That was years ago, and the things that she wanted to grow grew: their relationship, his bankroll, her stomach. And then there were three. Polka-dot bordered stationary with a blue bundle of joy cartoon.
The great migration. It was Nick’s idea.
Gavin’s getting big, he said, and Melinda nodded, mostly because he was. She heard the tapping of her heels on the slanted floorboards in their Upper East Side walkup as she did. She kicked one of Gavin’s toys under the couch, where it stopped, lodged there until the day they moved.
In the Brooklyn Brownstone, everything changed. They spread out. Nick suggested they learn how to cook, which meant Melinda would have to learn how to cook. Nick bought a set of golf clubs. They had space. And they had enough spare rooms for a twenty-four-seven nanny to live in.
Did you know they make those? They’re new, like the next iPhone or something, Melinda marveled from behind her desk with the view of Fifth Avenue. She still put on her heels every morning, and walked her pencil-skirted-size-two-self to train each morning before Gavin was old enough for school.
But when Nick suggested—no, said—the nanny would go upon Gavin entering Kindergarten, Melinda nearly had a fit. In her heels, of course. Outside of the natural food store, of course. Nearly, because on the side of the bridge, people don’t have fits, of course.
At home, she spread out.
And now, every day she is on the wrong side of the bridge. It’s late, and she’s thinking about what to wear tomorrow. She steps away from her closet, puts her glasses down on the nightstand, and comes downstairs.
Nick, she says, you take him tomorrow.
I can’t, he calls from the basement, where he has set up a putting strip.
Yes, she says. You can.