All the Time in the World - Caroline Angell Page 0,1

But that isn’t a thing you can say to someone like Everett—someone who proclaims he would rather eat chickpeas out of a tin can in a basement in Bay Ridge than sacrifice one minute where he could be Making Art. Luckily, his trust fund and his acceptance to Yale’s doctoral program have kept him from such a fate thus far.

“Me riding in the troller, Tahr-lette?” George asks, bringing me back to the present.

“Yes, bug, you’re riding in the stroller.”

“And we go get Matt?”

“Yes, we’re picking up Matt,” I say. Impatience won’t do; the day is just starting, and it’s a marathon, not a sprint. George is at that toddler stage of communication where I have to repeat everything he says back to him, so he can be sure his objectives are understood and will be met. “Can you fasten those shoes, pal? Do you need a little help?”

“Me do it,” he says, with great authority.

“Good job, Georgie,” Gretchen says, leaning down to kiss him. “Mommy has to go and run a few errands, and I’ll see you in a little bit.

“Grocery tore, Mommy?”

“Yes, and the drug store, and the library. And maybe Banana Republic,” she says to me with mock apology. “I’m a sucker for the forty-percent-off signs.”

“Me too,” I say.

“You and Matt are going to play on the playground with Charlotte,” Gretchen says to George.

“Me go down that widdle side, Mommy?”

“Which little slide?”

“That widdle twisty side?”

“Sure, you can show Charlotte that little twisty slide.”

“That sounds like fun, Georgie,” I say.

Gretchen slings her bag over her shoulder, not Marc Jacobs, not Chanel, even though I know she can afford it. “Okay, you guys,” she says. “Have fun. See you later.”

“Bye, Mommy!”

“Bye-bye, honey.”

I start to gather up our things for an outing, but the stroller-packing process is sluggish for many reasons, none of which I can attribute to Georgie.

“We’re gonna need to stop for something caffeinated,” I say. “I’m as slow as a baby in a lead diaper today.” George laughs so hard he falls over sideways. He loves to be in on jokes about babies.

“The Philharmonic is playing my first solo piece in the next concert series,” Everett had said last night when I, already in my pajamas, had opened my door to him. “At Carnegie Hall.” He said it casually, like it was no big deal, even though we both knew it was. At the same time, he was holding up a bottle of really nice bourbon as if we were celebrating, and the juxtaposition confused me. How did he want me to react?

After we’d finished our master’s program, Everett had taken a year off to see what kind of work he might be interested in pursuing, and then applied to Yale the following year to become a doctor of musical arts. He’d had minor projects come and go, but nothing on this scale, which is how I’d justified not being in attendance for any of them in the past few years. This was a big one. I should have been going crazy, and he should have been going crazy. Instead, we acted like we were sitting around the poker table, waiting for the other one to give up a tell.

“You should come with me to hear it,” he said, while I was busy not saying anything, like an asshole. “I’ll take you to the after-party. And we can sit in the audience together and be elitist. Or mock other people for being elitist. Your choice.”

“Only if you promise not to crush all the tiny bones in my hand if the first violin goes sharp,” I said.

“So, you’ll come?”

“Ah … when is it?”

“Six weeks.”

“Are you frantically rewriting?”

“More constantly than frantically.”

I squeezed my fingers together to relieve the tension in them as I stared at Everett, still just outside the door to my apartment, and I tried to think of something to say. Indecision overwhelmed me, but it wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling, particularly in my recent history. Three years ago, my life had been as linear as a road map, the progression so natural that sometimes it took me a while to notice the milestones. I could draw a straight line from Yamaha preschool to the beloved record player my parents kept in our upstairs hallway, where I would sit and fixate for hours as a kid; from the evolution of my high school passions, Joni Mitchell to Vivaldi to Sondheim to the Clash; from conservatory in the Midwest, to graduate school in New York, to scholarships and recitals and