Jack Smith walked into his house, shut the door behind him, and kicked off
his shoes. It had been a long day: A long, horrible day. He had been at the
office from seven a.m. to eight p.m., and he had only been able to grab a
fruit salad for lunch. Even though he had won both his cases, his day had
been crummy because the opposing counsel had appealed them. Then there had
been the files. Stacks of them that had been there since the day before,
and awaited him tomorrow. He wondered where Dianne was: Probably doing
something at the stock market where she spent most of her life. Still, she
made two million a year, only three million less than him. Dianne a
stockbroker! Twenty-three years ago he would have laughed at the idea. She
had always been so quiet and gentle. Not at all like the shrewd
businesswoman she was now. Jack preferred that old Dianne, the one who
would never snap at anyone, or yell. Now all she did was ignore him, and
flare up when he suggested something.
Then there were their kids. When Dianne was nineteen, and in her
second year at Harvard, she had their oldest child: Jacqueline Emily Smith.
Jackie was now twenty-two, and had just completed a degree in finance at
Columbia University. She was headed for Wall Street in her motherâ€™s
footsteps. Next had come Brian. He was twenty and lived in Connecticut,
where he attended Yale, and was in his second year of college preparing for
law school. Finally, there was Alexis. Alexis Nicole Smith! What a girl;
she was so smart and could have been anything she wanted. With the highest
IQ of their children, and on ambition that was sky high, she could have
been the biggest thing ever to hit the stock market or the courtroom. Now
nineteen, she was in London, England, at RADA; the Royal Academy of
Dramatic Arts, following her dream of becoming an actress. Of course he
disapproved. Still, not as much as Dianne had. Dianne had always blamed him
for Alexisâ€™s choice of career, because he had taken her to see her first
show when she was five. She had often asked about actors and actresses, but
they had never suspected a thing, until she was in the eighth grade. Around
that time, she started going to plays and musicals with friends, and coming
home excited and high-spirited. Dianne had been upset about it, but they
were both so darn busy, they hadnâ€™t been able to look in to the matter.
They had flatly said that acting was not a stable career, and no child of
theirs was ever going to become an actor.
Then Alexisâ€™s curiosity about acting died, or so Dianne and Jack thought.
She started getting more involved in extra curricular activities at school
and often left early to study with friends or attend debate club. There
were evenings when she stayed out late to work on the school newspaper.
Then, at her high school graduation, it was discovered that while she had
been participating in the debate club and the school newspaper, most of the
time was spent at rehearsals, practicing for the plays she was in. Even
though the drama teacher and principal had praised her very highly, it did
not help; in fact, it outraged Dianne even more. Jack had stepped in too
lecturing her about how much of her time had been wasted in mindless
pretending that would never be of any use. When she announced that she
wanted to be an actress, Dianne had been furious. She had flatly refused to
accept the fact that any member of her family was a performer, and had all
but shut the door in Alexisâ€™s face. Then, when the question of college came
up, Dianne had suggested that she apply to an Ivy League school, because
with her grades, she could easily get in. Alexis had refused, and when
Dianne had told her that she could either try for a good college and a
substantial career (other than acting) or leave, Alexis had packed her
suitcase and left. One month later, he got a call from Laura, her best
friend, saying that Alexis was in England, and that she was doing fine.
Dianne had simply dismissed the matter saying that Alexis would be back
soon and forget all this nonsense about acting. Even then he had known that
Alexis would never give up acting, but Dianne was too blind to see it.
Jack was just about to get up and make himself something edible when
the living room door opened and Dianne stormed in slamming the door closed
behind her. One look at her face and he knew it had been a very, very bad
Her mouth was very thin and her skin had a faint glow of red:
especially on her face. Her eyes were bloodshot, and if Jack didnâ€™t know
any better, he would have sworn that there were sparks shooting from her
â€œ Hey Dianne, how was your day?â€