Once, we sat with a small candle between us on the tablecloth, drinks for our hands. After the salad, he asked if I wanted children...
He had a nice manner. He said he didn't know musicians that well, women or men, but he counted on his fingers female writers who'd had children. He actually couldn't think of any...
He was not. I believed him, a trumpet promise. Some Bach came into my fingers. Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor. The haunting Prelude. I had to sit on my hand.
That evening, our first date, we had a conversation about who would do what.
"With a woman who worked, it'd have to be fifty-fifty," he said. "Of course."
We didn't talk about that again until after William was born.
In Paul's gaze, it seemed I couldn't fail, as if the terrors I'd known so looming they'd strapped me in bed a few days a month, had been products of an overly active imagination. So, this is how it works, I thought. It turned out to be easier than I'd expected. When I talked about my childhood, his face took on an expression of pity, which also looked like reverence. Then he'd twirl in a dance step, with a confident air. I marveled at these shuffles and turns, as one would at the performance of a child not yours: watching happiness.
I became accustomed to myself in this new atmosphere. My opinions grew emphatic, my gestures expansive, my stumbling attempts at jokes more frequent. Who was to say this wasn't love?
I burrowed into his chest at night. He lost his hands in my hair and I could sleep.
Children were a star-wish.
My Hollywood a novel
Mona Simpson’s latest novel, My Hollywood—a compelling tale told by alternating narrators; a new mother living in Los Angeles and a middle-aged nanny from the Philippines—skillfully explores the complex relationships between parents, children, and caregiver.
Vanity Fair interview with Mona Simpson, August 25, 2010