I have agreed to read Anna Karenina during my Christmas break. Lauren recommended it. Abigail, too. I am not a huge fan of fiction. I am not a fan at all. But Abigail says Anna Karenina is not what anyone could rightly call fiction. There is nothing of pretense about it.
But it’s a novel, I said.
And she said, it’s a commentary on family dynamics. On relationships. On the human condition. What is imaginary about that??
It’s actually her copy I packed in my suitcase when I drove home to Bakersfield. There are notes in the margins. In different shades of ink. Abigail says she learns something new every time she reads it.
Abigail has asked Lauren and I to rent rooms from her. I hardly know what to think. Her house is enormous. She has a housekeeper who has little jars of capers and shallots and saffron threads in the pantry. And the pantry is a room, did I mention that? She has gardeners and a man she pays to drive her around. Her house is bigger than the three houses I grew up in all put together.
Lauren is warming up to the idea. She says Abigail is waking up after years of reclusivity. She is lonely. She likes our company.
I don’t know. The room I’d have is something out of a magazine photo shoot. And Esperanza is an awesome cook. There’s just something about pretending I fit into that life that irks me. Lauren says it is no different than her having lived in a dorm with a shared bathroom the last year and a half. You don’t stop being who you are just because you change from sleeping on Kmart sheets to Egyptian cotton.
I am not sure she is right about that. And that’s what’s bothering me. Is she right? Who is not changed by their environment? Name someone.
I am not saying I would change for the worse if I lived in a house like that and had imported truffles tossed into my omelets. I am just saying I would change. And that has to be considered. Tell me I am wrong. . . If you can.