Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

Description : Little Earthquakes
April

Lia

I watched her for three days, sitting by myself in the park underneath an elm tree, beside an empty fountain with a series of uneaten sandwiches in my lap and my purse at my side.

Purse. It’s not a purse, really. Before, I had purses—a fake Prada bag, a real Chanel baguette Sam had bought me for my birthday. What I have now is a gigantic, pink, floral-printed Vera Bradley bag big enough to hold a human head. If this bag were a person, it would be somebody’s dowdy, gray-haired great-aunt, smelling of mothballs and butterscotch candies and insisting on pinching your cheeks. It’s horrific. But nobody notices it any more than they notice me.

Once upon a time, I might have taken steps to assure that I’d be invisible: a pulled-down baseball cap or a hooded sweatshirt to help me dodge the questions that always began Hey, aren’t you? and always ended with a name that wasn’t mine. No, wait, don’t tell me. Didn’t I see you in something? Don’t I know who you are?

Now, nobody stares, and nobody asks, and nobody spares me so much as a second glance. I might as well be a piece of furniture. Last week a squirrel ran over my foot.

But that’s okay. That’s good. I’m not here to be seen; I’m here to watch. Usually it’s three o’clock or so when she shows up. I set aside my sandwich and hold the bag tightly against me like a pillow or a pet, and I stare. At first I couldn’t really tell anything, but yesterday she stopped halfway past my fountain and stretched with her hands pressing the small of her back. I did that, I thought, feeling my throat close. I did that, too.

I used to love this park. Growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, my father would take me into town three times each year. We’d go to the zoo in the summer,...
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