The Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy
O BVIOUSLY , WITHOUT QUESTION , she’d lost her mind.
Being a psychologist, she ought to know.
All the signs were there, had been there, hovering and humming around her for months. The edginess, the short temper, the tendency toward daydreaming and forgetfulness. There’d been a lack of motivation, of energy, of purpose.
Her parents had commented on it in their mild, you-can-do-better-Jude way. Her colleagues had begun to glance at her, covertly, with quiet pity or unquiet distaste. She’d come to detest her job, resent her students, find a dozen petty faults with her friends and her family, her associates and superiors.
Every morning the simple task of getting out of bed to dress for the day’s classes had taken on the proportions of scaling a mountain. Worse, a mountain she had absolutely no interest in seeing from a distance, much less climbing.
Then there was the rash, impulsive behavior. Oh, yes,that was the final tip-off. Steady-as-she-goes Jude Frances Murray, one of the sturdiest branches on the family tree of the Chicago Murrays, sensible and devoted daughter of Doctors Linda and John K. Murray, quit her job.
Not took a sabbatical from the university, not asked for a few weeks’ leave, but quit, right in the middle of the semester.
Why? She didn’t have the faintest idea.
It had been as much a shock to her as to the dean, to her associates, to her parents.
Had she reacted in this manner two years before when her marriage had shattered? No, indeed. She’d simply continued her routine—her classes, her studies, her appointments—without a hitch, even while shuffling in the lawyers and neatly filing the paperwork that symbolizes the end of a union.
Not that there’d been much of a union, or a great deal of hassling for the lawyers to legally sever it. A marriage that had lasted just under eight months didn’t generate a great deal of mess or trouble. Or passion.
Passion, she supposed was what had been missing. If she’d had any, William wouldn’t have left her flat for another woman almost before the flowers in her bridal bouquet had faded.
But there was no point in brooding over it at this late date. She was what she was. Or had been what she was, she corrected. God only knew what she was now.
Maybe that was part of it, she mused. She’d been on some verge, had looked down at the vast, dark sea of sameness, of monotony, of tedium that was Jude Murray. She’d pinwheeled her arms, scrambled back from the edge—and run screaming away.
It was so unlike her.
Thinking about it gave her such sharp palpitations shewondered if she might be having a heart attack just to cap things off.
AMERICAN COLLEGE PROFESSOR FOUND DEAD
IN LEASED VOLVO
It would be an odd obituary. Perhaps it would make it into the Irish Times , which her grandmother so loved to read. Her parents would be shocked, of course. It was such an untidy, public, embarrassing kind of death. Completely unsuitable.
Naturally, they’d be heartbroken as well, but overall they would be puzzled. What in the world was the girl thinking of, going off to Ireland when she had a thriving career and a lovely condo on the lakeside?
They would blame Granny’s influence.
And, of course, they would be right, as they had been right since the moment she’d been conceived in a very tasteful mating precisely one year after they’d married.
Though she didn’t care to imagine it, Jude was certain that her parents’ lovemaking was always very tasteful and precise. Rather like the well-choreographed and traditional ballets they both so enjoyed.
And what was she doing, sitting in a leased Volvo that had its stupid wheel on the stupid wrong side of the car and thinking about her parents having sex?
All she could do was press her fingers to her eyes until the image faded away.
This, she told herself, was just the sort of thing that happened when you went crazy.
She took a deep breath, then another. Oxygen to clear and calm the brain. As she saw it, she now had two choices. She could drag her suitcases out of the car, go inside the Dublin airport and turn the keys back in to the leasing agent with the carrot-red hair and the mile-wide smile, and book a flight home.
Of course she had no job, but she could live off her stock portfolio very nicely for quite some time, thank you. She also no longer had a condo, as she’d rented it to that nice couple for the next six months, but if she did go home she could stay with Granny for a
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