I followed Cooper around like a motherless child. He became my dream. The truth of it was I had no dream beyond being paired. His family introduced me to a manner of living that was novel in my experience. His dad wore tweed sport jackets, his mom wore silk blouses and pearls, his siblings were over achievers, all of them had advanced degrees and doctorates. Birthdays did not slip by without celebration. Thought went into choosing surprises that were the recipient’s heart’s desire. They exerted effort to get the hard edges off my square peg so it would fit smoothly into their round hole. I didn’t know why but I could not bring myself to blend.
Cooper’s career kicked into overdrive. Our standard of living improved. I don’t know that I would have lasted as long as I did if I hadn’t been such a reader. I knew a lot about his field. His friends became my friends. We moved to San Diego where he did research at Scripps. He was gone for weeks at a time. Though I didn’t realize it, I was subconsciously resentful of his ambition. There is always a backstory in research, academic jealousy fuels great discovery. Cooper was motivated by money. He began to talk with oil interests. I began to sleep with his colleagues.