I’ve just finished reading Dear Thing by Julie Cohen and gosh, it was so heart-wrenchingly good. Definitely a new favourite of mine! This was me when I finished reading it……
Anyway, in the book, there were several relationships that were highlighted such as relationship between Romily and Ben, Ben and his wife Claire, Romily and her daughter Posie, Posie and her godparents Ben and Claire and each of these relationship were really worth discussing about. But one in particular really stood out to me which is the relationship between Claire and her student, Max.
She glanced at Max, utterly absorbed in what he was doing. He’d segued into a soft, slow progression of chords, lilting like a lullaby. It was a teenage thing, that absorption. You couldn’t afford it once you were grown up. No matter how beautiful the music was, there was still the mortgage and the credit cards. The laundry and the garden. The reports to be written, the lessons to be planned, the dozens of little tasks and annoyances that weighed down your hands. The other woman who was carrying your husband’s baby.
She finished with the backing paper and began cutting lengths of scalloped edging to finish off the sides. She had some photographs she’d printed out of the autumn concert to put up; maybe she’d include some of Year Seven’s drawings, too – the ones they’d made whilst listening to Mendelssohn. Some of them were quite exquisite, whimsical like the music. Claire went to the filing cabinet to find them. Leafing through them, she found that she was humming: a soft, slow progression of notes.
She looked at Max at the same time he looked up at her, and a small smile touched his face. He’d heard her.
There were two things that I wanted to note about these passages. First, when it mentioned about being focused is a teenage thing and that reminds me how the adult stuff (mortgage, credit cards and others) can take away the fun out of our life, so we shouldn’t let it happen. The second thing was in the later part of the passage where Claire hummed the song and Max heard her. Somehow I can imagine his face when that happened. Max, being the ‘abandoned’ child, relishes the attention like he had never gotten it before. And I love this teacher-student relationship, which makes me cry a little bit at the end.
Linking up at Thursday Quotable @ Bookshelf Fantasies
(anyway, a side note just in case you didn’t know, Dear Thing had actually been published in the UK back in 2013, but it’s newly published in the US on March 29th, so if you haven’t, check it out!!)