“I didn’t realize anyone lived down there. Isn’t that a county forest?”
“Some of it. We bought land adjacent to it,” Violet replies.
“Is that so?” Park mom’s eyes are lit up with curiosity. She wants an invite over to the house, but even if Violet would okay it, I’d have to do a background check. Violet says that I’m more cautious than she is these days, but I’ve got a family now. Everyone in that house is more precious to me than my own life.
“Yes, let’s meet up next week. Same time?” Violet says.
Park mom nods. “That sounds great. Anyway, nice to meet you. I’m Mary, by the way.”
“Violet. And this is my husband, Sebastian.”
I give an abrupt nod. Park mom and Violet exchange a few more pleasantries before the other woman returns to her blanket on the other side of the sandbox. I don’t drop my hand away until she’s out of shouting distance.
“Whew. That went better than I thought,” Violet says. I notice her hands are a little shaky and offer her a sandwich.
“You did great, babe.” Violet isn’t ever going to be fully cured of her agoraphobia. She’s not going to shopping malls or crowded bars, but she enjoys things like this—outdoor, quiet events. I’m proud of her, but more importantly, I’m happy for her because she’s happy, and that’s really all that matters. We’ve got each other, our kids, our friends. I reach over and grip her hand. “Love you, Violet.”
A slow, sweet smile spreads across her face. “I love you, too.”
We sit there like that for a long time, hands connected, our baby lying in the cradle of my arm, her eyes fixed on our twins, who are now together throwing sand showers at each other. Life couldn’t be more perfect.