A Slender Thread

A Slender Thread by Katharine Davis

Book: A Slender Thread by Katharine Davis Read Free Book Online
Authors: Katharine Davis
pretty bad. I’m so afraid for her.” She crumpled back onto the pillows.
    He reached toward her and gently smoothed the hair away from her face. “Lacey is a strong person,” he said. “You know how tough she is.”
    â€œAlex isn’t.”
    Oliver drew back. “What do you mean?”
    â€œI can see he’s suffering. He’s terribly afraid. I can feel it.”
    Oliver drew in his breath. “Alex is a grown-up. He can deal with it on his own terms. It’s the girls you need to worry about.” He looked quickly at his watch. “I’ll be home in time to take you out for a late lunch. Are you going to be okay?”
    â€œOf course.” She set her cup on the tray. “I’ll read the paper for a while. And I need to unpack.”
    Oliver stood in the shower and let the hot water pummel his head. Perhaps he should have gone to New Hampshire. Poor Margot had had to deal with everything on her own. He closed his eyes. His attention shifted back to his painting. Silver birches, he thought. Maybe a few, mere slivers through the trees.

5
    Weft: Horizontal threads interlaced through the warp of a fabric.
    A fter Oliver left for his studio Margot lingered in bed, not feeling ready to face the world. The newspaper remained on the covers beside her, untouched. Oliver was right. She should be thinking about her nieces. They were losing their mother. Margot was close to the girls, as close as aunts and nieces could be, she thought, but she could never be Lacey. Lacey always knew what to say to her daughters; she listened to them when they wanted to talk and she hugged them not only in spontaneous, joyous moments but also when they suffered disappointments, when hugs were more important than words. Her way of touching, her lovely arms, and her hands seemed to know exactly how to move with an instinct that Margot knew she would never possess.
    Yet Margot couldn’t think of Lacey and her family without thinking of Alex too. The girls would not be the only ones to suffer. He was facing a future without his wife. Margot closed her eyes, picturing them together. Alex had a way of keeping Lacey in his gaze, as if he could never get enough of her. On the Friday hike, the day after Thanksgiving, he had shot Lacey a glance that in a mere second said everything. Just after they had reached the overlook point at the summit, Lacey had drunk from her water bottle and passed it to Alex. Her cheeks were pink from the climb, and her gesture, so quick and automatic, expressed their tacit understanding. Lacey knew Alex was thirsty, not just for the water but for her attention, to know that she was there. He smiled when he handed the bottle back to her, his breathing now level and calm, his thanks implicit. During that small exchange they had forgotten her illness.
    When Margot glanced at them later, after they began the descent, Alex’s expression was closed, his mouth tightly drawn. Following closely behind them, Margot saw him look over at Lacey periodically, watching her straight back, her steady gait, her feet avoiding a tree root, deftly stepping across rocks or fallen logs on their path. Had Alex been thinking about what his life would be like without Lacey?
    And what about herself? The idyllic summers at Bow Lake were long past.
    Once they had grown up, their lives had changed. Lacey had married Alex, and there was no room in a marriage for a full-time sister. Margot had accepted that. Over the years if she thought of Alex at all, it was in terms of Lacey. They were a couple, a unit. With the knowledge of Lacey’s illness, everything had altered. Margot considered his life apart from Lacey. How would he cope with the uncertainty ahead?
    Once she had finished college, Margot moved to New York, determined to seek a different life. More than anything, she dreamed of becoming an artist. She found a job as an assistant in an advertising agency and took painting classes on

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