He was powerless. He loved her so much. He would have forsaken his parents, his kids, his friends, everyone one he knew, for her. All she ever had to do was ask. She didn’t ask, for anything, ever. During her weakest moments she seemed so self-sufficient, as though she were allowing him to take control so he’d feel better about it all. It wouldn’t have surprised him to see her get up out of the hospital bed, moving him gently out of her way, as she made things right in a way that only she could.
Her medical record was full of information that he wasn’t aware of. Marion was no longer healthy. She hadn’t apprised him of her concerns. He supposed she had been worried that he’d realize she’d been after pills in between legitimate appointments. He should have wondered why her prescriptions were recurring without seeing her doctor. He was helpless to change his participation. That was the problem with life, it moved along whether you were a participant, a spectator or asleep at the wheel.
He’d been driving to the shore camp without realizing where he was headed. There was something about the place that was restorative. When the kids were young they hadn’t taken vacations. Shore camp was close enough to town that they stayed there through the summer and he could commute to the firm. As the years went by, more of his time was spent drawing and more of his clients had a level of affluence that allowed them to purchase expansive shore frontage parcels. He’d refused to design McMansions. He did not mince words, “I will not draw something that defaces the natural landscape. I appreciate your time and thank you for coming in but I am not the architect for your project.” He’d managed to approach some of his clients regarding the Land Trust, leaving their parcels in protective stewardship for perpetuity. Marion had hooted with victory when he’d made the suggestion to the Dunfeys and they’d been so keen on it that they’d left several of their properties to Land Trusts all over the country.
They hadn’t changed the footprint for shore camp. They’d repurposed what they could, donated what was salvageable to Habitat for Humanity and designed a clean spare refuge that did not infringe upon the natural environment. It was just over 900 square feet with windows that allowed sight lines from one end of the building to the other and likewise across. There was no wasted space and nothing that was not functional or essential to physical comfort. Marion was especially pleased by the fact that it was barely distinguishable from the trees when viewed from their canoe in the cove. There was no TV, no radio except NPR, and no phone. They were entertained by nature and each other.