Dune Road - By Jane Green

Chapter One

One of the unexpected bonuses of divorce, Kit Hargrove realizes, as she settles onto the porch swing, curling her feet up under her and placing a glass of chilled wine on the wicker table, is having weekends without the children, weekends when she gets to enjoy this extraordinary peace and quiet, remembers who she was before she became defined by motherhood, by the constant noise and motion that come with having a thirteen-year-old and an eight-year-old.

In the beginning, those first few months before they worked out a custody arrangement, when Adam, her ex, stayed in the city Monday to Friday and collected the children every weekend, Kit had been utterly lost.

The house suddenly seemed so quiet, the huge new colonial they had moved into when Adam got his big job in the city, the house they thought they had to have, given the entertaining he now wanted them to be doing, the investors he wanted to invite over to dinner.

She still blames the house for the ending of the marriage. A huge white clapboard house, with black shutters, and a marble-tiled double-height entrance, it was impressive, and empty. Much the way Kit felt about her life while she was living there. The ceilings were high and coffered, the walls paneled. Everything about the house shouted expense, and it never felt like home.

There was nothing cozy about the enormous Great Room, the expansive master bedroom suite complete with his “n” hers bathrooms and a sitting room attached that no one ever sat in.

There was nothing comfortable about the formal living room, with its Persian rugs and hard French furniture, a room that they used perhaps three times a year, although no one lasted longer than twenty minutes in there before moving into the kitchen and crowding around the island in the one room in the house that felt welcoming and warm.

The kitchen was the room that Kit lived in, for the rest of the house felt like a mausoleum, and the day they moved in was the day it all started to go wrong.

Adam started commuting into the city during the week, leaving on the “death train” at 5:30 a.m. to avoid the crowds, getting home at 9 p.m.

From Monday to Friday he didn’t see the children, didn’t see her. She rattled around in that huge house, growing more and more used to being on her own, resenting his presence more and more when he was back for the weekends, feeling like he was invading her space, attempting to mark a territory that, without her knowing, or wanting it to, had undoubtedly become hers.

They became like strangers, ships that pass in the night, not able to agree on anything, not having any common ground, other than their children, and they’d make dinner plans on the weekend and beg people to join them, so they wouldn’t have to sit in restaurants in silence, looking around the room, wondering how it was they had nothing to talk about anymore.

When they separated, then talked divorce, Kit knew the house had to be sold. And she was glad. There was nothing in the house that felt like hers, no good memories, nothing but loneliness and isolation within its walls.

During the early days she felt, mostly, lost. For so many years Adam had been her best friend, her lover and, even toward the end, when they barely saw one another, she still knew he was her partner, she still always had someone to phone when she needed an answer to a question.

After the separation, during those first few days, when Adam and the kids pulled away from the house in his Range Rover, Kit would stand in the driveway watching them go, not knowing who she was supposed to be without her children, what she was supposed to do, how she was supposed to fill two whole days without mouths to feed and small people to entertain.

She lost her partner, her lover and her identity in one fell swoop.

She didn’t have the energy to go out, although her social life shrank to almost nothing anyway. A single woman, it seems, doesn’t have quite the same appeal in suburban Connecticut. Their couple friends initially invited her out, feeling sorry for her, or wanting to hear what had happened, but the invitations petered out, and she quickly realized that the friends she and Adam shared, their friends, would not necessarily remain her friends, because the chemistry just wasn’t the same.

And she couldn’t even think about dating (although it