By Geoffrey Hayes
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Extra info for Benny and Penny in Just Pretend
I n the afternoons they rented masks and flippers and snorkeled in secret coves, working from a list of secret places they’d found in the tourist magazine in their hotel room. Some of the places were in fact quite isolated and relatively unpopulated; and the hilarity that the word secret inevitably took on became one of the thousand small delights of their honeymoon, part of their private lovers’ language. They drank secret mai tais, ate secret meals, and lounged on secret beaches; they drove down secret roads to secret destinations.
Mike looked startled for an instant, then hurt, before he controlled his face and concentrated on the road. “It’s just ... ” “Sure,” Mike said, and drove quietly for a while. She suspected that he was praying. He had told her once he often prayed when he was baffled by their dynamics: just gave it all up to God and waited for grace. At the time Rebecca had been pleased by that. Now it just felt condescending. T he beach was exquisite, a waning crescent of white sand lined with coconut palms, ringing a tiny green cove as intimate as a swimming pool.
She just wanted to lounge there in the enormous bed, getting the slowest and most gentle start possible on the day, dozing amid the sex-tangled sheets like a walrus on a sunny beach, letting her mind wander through the delicious, obligation-free hours of sunlight ahead. The irony of having married a contemplative and finding herself aggravated by his excessive energy did not escape her, but the loss of her sense of humor was a key part of the whole problem. Rebecca told herself it was just a girl thing, a function of her heightened expectations, but she found herself increasingly preoccupied, reading signs of tension everywhere and projecting the trend into a future of cumulative catastrophe, the two of them drifting relentlessly toward divorce, cinnamon scone by cinnamon scone.