“Explain again why you don’t want to go to your school reunion.”
Anna expertly twisted her hair into a bun and secured it before answering. “Veronica Lewis. Though that’s probably not her name now. I was so jealous of her.”
Marcus came and stood behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist and catching her eye in the mirror’s reflection. “You jealous? Why?”
“Oh, she was so beautiful. We all wanted to be like her.”
“I doubt she could be more beautiful than you.”
Anna smiled and turned in her husband’s arms as her daughter’s voice came drifting across the hall. “Mum! I can’t find my silk shirt.”
“In case you’ve forgotten it’s mine and I’m wearing it.”
“But I’ve got nothing to wear!”
“Sarah, you’ve got a whole wardrobe full of clothes.”
“Dad.” Their eldest son Jake leaned against the doorjamb. “Can I have some money for a movie?”
Marcus released Anna and moved over to the dresser and picked up his wallet. “Make sure it’s G-rated.”
“And no language. No violence.” Anna added. “No-”
“And don’t forget that Grace and Michael have homework to do and Danny and Caleb need to be in bed by seven.”
“Grandma’s number is beside the phone if there’s any problems.”
“We’ll be fine.”
“We could stay home.”
“And waste good money I paid for the dinner?” Marcus straightened his tie. “No we’re going, and we’re going to enjoy it.”
“Relax. You look gorgeous. There’s our table!”
“An-na Jacobson! Look at you! You haven’t changed at all. How we used to tease you about your long hair back in school.”
“Veronica.” Anna’s voice was expressionless as she took in her former classmate’s professionally styled hair and expensive outfit. “You look wonderful.”
Veronica waved a hand. “I have to in my profession. Real estate you know. But you – you should’ve been a concert pianist by now.”
“I still play. Church. Local concerts. And I teach private students.”
“What a waste!” and Veronica shot a poisonous look at Marcus.
Anna wanted to argue that it was hardly a waste when she played for her own and others’ enjoyment, when her eldest daughter had won a scholarship to a prestigious music school under her tuition, when her eldest son had written and performed his own worship songs, when each of her children played an instrument before they could read, but the gentle pressure of Marcus’ arm around her shoulders kept her silent.
“And they tell me you have six children! Six!”
“Seven actually,” and Anna smiled secretly as she thought of the hope she held within. Soon she would be sure. “And you?”
“Children! You’re joking, right! Of course I plan to have one before it’s too late but right now I’m too busy. But Anna, to have thrown all that talent away! Don’t you know women can have it all?”
Anna let her mind drift back to the time when she too thought she could ‘have it all’. She’d had no intention of giving up her career when she’d married Marcus. Even when they’d learnt they were to be parents she’d planned on continuing with her career … until she’d held Deborah in her arms for the first time and had realised a higher calling.
“Well, it was nice seeing you again.”
The house was dark as they let themselves quietly in. A muffled cough turned their feet toward the living room. Asleep on the sofa they could just discern two bodies.
Jake opened his eyes as his father lifted the smaller bundle. “Danny woke and couldn’t get back to sleep so we came in here and listened to music. Did you have a good time?”
“Your mother was the most beautiful woman there.”
Jake smiled as he rose to his feet and stretched. “Debs called,” using his nickname for his older sister. “She’ll ring again tomorrow.”
“Eons ago. Well, I’m off to bed.”
Anna nodded as she picked up dirty supper dishes and carried them to the kitchen before moving to check on each sleeping child. As she tucked them in and kissed sleepy brows she recalled Veronica’s words.
What a waste! You could have been somebody! You could have had it all!
Anna stood in the doorway of the last room - the light from the hall illuminating her husband as he settled Danny into bed.
You’re wrong, Veronica,she thought reaching for Marcus’ hand. I am somebody now. And I do have it all!
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