There was something strange about visiting someone who was to all of us a former child--Eden. A former child who was married. Oh, it didn't bother her sister or her cousins. Her sister was waiting for that to happen to her, to become a former child. Maybe Kelly, too, a little bit: she was fifteen. It never entered Brandon's head, I'm sure. But her aunt, and John, who had known Eden as a child, and me, her mother--it was different for us. How to accept a glass of water or a cookie baked by her own hand in her own kitchen? How could we hide our smiles when she talked about redecorating, or spoke on the phone to her boss? Eden's telephone voice was the voice she had used when she and her sister played School or Office.
But it had been a good visit, relaxed, full of various delights: horseback riding, long walks, discussions on the porch while drinking endless small bottles of flavored water. John had gone out with the gun and the springer spaniel. He hadn't shot anything, there was nothing to shoot. It was the wrong time to shoot anything except crows and woodchucks, which, the farmer who rented the fields in front of the farmhouse told us, were varmints. Varmints were always in season. The crows didn't seem to know it. They hung in the sky, flipping their wings, diving, cawing as if they were in a horror movie. The woodchucks had made themselves scarce though. There was not a woodchuck to be seen, although earlier we had found the entrances to their tunnels in the mowed field on the other side of the pond. You could find these by looking for the places where the grass was a darker green, the farmer's son told us, but when we asked him, he could not say why.