I reach for Prim in the twilight, clamp my hand on her leg and pull myself over to her. Her voice remains steady as she croons to Buttercup. "It's all right, baby, it's all right. We'll be OK down there." My mother wraps her arms around us. I allow myself to feel young for a moment and rest my head on her shoulder.
First spouses, I have learned, don't ever really go away--even if you aren't speaking to them anymore. They are phantoms who dwell in the corners of our new love stories, never entirely vanishing from sight, materializing in our minds whenever they please, offering up unwelcome comments or bits of painfully accurate criticism.