"Come with me," I said. "The garbage will wait."
"It's not that. I have a deadline. I'm writing an article for an online magazine. It's going to take all day because I spent this afternoon tracking my parents down and making sure they were all right."
I said before I could stop myself, "So your mother is all right."
"Of course she is," said my daughter. "She'd be all right in a nuclear war. But underneath, you know."
"I know," I said. I was too sad to say any more.
George had moved down to the far end of the bar and was concentrating on the TV news, or seeming to, while he busied himself with a pinkie fingertip, pulling wax from his ear. I motioned to him, caught his eye, pointed to my whiskey glass. He nodded and made his way down the bar with the bottle.
"Dad, I think this whole thing is horrible," said Karina. "I'm not taking sides, I swear, I love you both, and it's none of my business. But is it true you're involved with Marion? No, don't tell me. I don't want to know."
"Is that what your mother told you?"
"Well, it's classic. Men usually have affairs with the women they're closest to. Their female friends, their wives' sisters or best friends, their co-workers, their friends' wives..."
To mask my horror that Luz would tell our daughter this, I grinned at Karina. "How do you know so much about men's extramarital affairs? You're a lesbian. And you're not married."
Excerpted from The Astral by Kate Christensen. Copyright © 2011 by Kate Christensen. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher
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No Man's Land
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