Altogether, Olympia thinks the sight of herself satisfactory, but not beautiful: a smile is missing, a certain light about the eyes. For how very different a woman will look when she has happiness, Olympia knows, when her beauty emanates from a sense of well-being or from knowing herself to be greatly loved. Even a plain woman will attract the eye if she is happy, while the most elaborately coiffed and bejeweled woman in a room, if she cannot summon contentment, will seem to be merely decorative.
A single action can cause a life to veer off in a direction it was never meant to go. Falling in love can do that, you think. And so can a wild party. You marvel at the way each has the power to forever alter an individual's compass. And it is the knowing that such a thing can so easily happen, as you did not know before, not really, that has fundamentally changed you and your son.
Sydney discovers that she minds the loss of her mourning. When she grieved, she felt herself to be intimately connected to Daniel. But with each passing day, he floats away from her. When she thinks about him now, it is more as a lost possibility than as a man. She has forgotten his breath, his musculature.
The difficulty lay with the mind accommodating itself to the notion of the plane, with all its weight, defying gravity, staying aloft. She understood the aerodynamics of flight, could comprehend the laws of physics that made flight possible, but her heart, at the moment, would have none of it. Her heart knew the plane could fall out of the sky.
The things that don't happen to us that we'll never know didn't happen to us. The nonstories. The extra minute to find the briefcase that makes you late to the spot where a tractor trailer mauled another car instead of yours. The woman you didn't meet because she couldn't get a taxi to the party you had to leave early from. All of life is a series of nonstories if you look at it that way. We just don't know what they are.
Later, when she sees the photographs for the first time, she will be surprised at how calm her face looks - how steady her gaze, how erect her posture. In the picture her eyes will be slightly closed, and there will be a shadow on her neck. The shawl will be draped around her shoulders, and her hands will rest in her lap. In this deceptive photograph, she will look a young woman who is not at all disturbed or embarrassed, but instead appears to be rather serious. And she wonders if, in its ability to deceive, photography is not unlike the sea, which may offer a benign surface to the observe even as it conceals depths and current below.