Goodnight Ladies Excerpt

Goodnight, Ladies

On her twentieth birthday Chessa’s first true love telephoned her during Christmas break to say that she was the one for him forever, but by the time she got back east he was dating a Wellesley girl. On her thirtieth she debated whether she should get divorced or pregnant. For her fortieth her husband, the second one, gave her a surprise party that temporarily rocked her sense of reality — coming into a dark room, a blaze of light, and there stood all her friends and family and Emily in her lion pajamas. For her fiftieth the three of them flew to Puerto Escondido to walk the white sands and only she got sick from brushing her teeth with local water. On her sixtieth George lay in a hospital bed recovering from heart surgery and she took him the most spectacular bunch of birds of paradise in a great glass vase. On her seventieth she quit the Unitarian Society, dropped her subscription to the New York Times, and got a dog.

She named him Jack J. Johnson. That was the name of her first true love.