Regarding Rachel, I have to consider my readers comments. You make good points. Why did I always feel so tolerant and understanding toward Rachel, no matter her appalling sometimes criminal behavior. Perhaps I thought of her as an obscenely naughty sister who one would always cherish, despite a certain exasperation.
When Rachel and her twin brother were infants their biological mother dropped the defenseless duo at an orphanage. Rachel would not learn the identity of this ‘mother’ for many years, and by the time she did she no longer cared what her reasons were. As a kid all she knew was that a Mrs Wood, a wealthy Westchester widow had taken her and her brother home to a mansion with lawns and a lake. “They are a pair! I love symmetry!” Mrs Wood was fond of repeating, after too many sherries.
Mrs Wood adored babies, but soon after Rachel and her brother began to talk she grew disinterested of these tiresomely needy children. If Rachel or her brother exhaled too loudly, Mrs Wood was sigh, “All this noise!” and dismiss them to their bedrooms. Before long Mrs Wood purchased a pair of Yorkshire Terriers and the twins were handed to nannies.
The twins were not abused, they were not maltreated, in fact, they were not paid much mind at all, and they felt it acutely. With each other they never verbalized their troubles, but some nights they slept in the same bed, falling asleep holding hands. The twins lived in cocoons of ice thick like winter lakes, emotionally frozen like bright orange fish in blue ice.
Mrs Wood lost not one wink of sleep over the emotional abandonment of her charges. She nimbly justified her every desire with a motto of, ‘If only one of us gets to be happy in this picture, it may as well be me’.
Rachel and her brother earned excellent grades, caused no trouble and each got married before they graduated from college. Rachel’s choice of mate was an earnest, timid hippy. It was doomed. In her mid-twenties, divorcing, alone and untethered Rachel relocated to NYC. Time for a fresh start.
And that’s when we met.