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As my novel garnered a small advance, her dad's — published in 1961 — made a splash with TV ads featuring Kate and Leo reuniting for the first time since Titanic. I marched out, refusing to speak to her for six months. I couldn't help but analyze her bizarre, out-of-place insult, thinking that someone who had everything she wanted in life should accept gifts more graciously. Fiction had been her first love, but she'd given up being an author — and lost her dad, while mine was playing Grandpa at 79.
I wondered how she could possibly resent me when she had it all. Was she jealous of my books, the way I envied her kids? Ultimately, I got what I wanted, albeit with occasional guilt. Looking at photographs at my parents' house, I saw how they'd spent the last 13 years joyously immersed in the little legacies I couldn't give them.
He read only medical texts or Penthouse, while Monica was a bookworm five years older than him. At the edge of the dance floor, Monica's 8-year-old niece, Emily, looked at me like I was a fascinating alien. I started a novel about Monica and our dual transformations.
But to make a living, she'd gone to nursing school and begun working in a hospital, so considering that she enjoyed sharing gross details of gall bladders, heart attacks, and meningitis like my brother did, I figured they'd be pals. Monica arrived at my apartment for dinner overly made up in a blue silk dress. I couldn't bear our usual boy talk when the stud was my little brother. Meanwhile, Monica had four kids, emulating Mom's trio of boys and one lone girl, and becoming the kind of daughter my mother always wanted.
Both of them lied to me about their relationship for an entire year, so needless to say, I was terribly hurt.
Admittedly, our friendship has been shaky, and I’m nervous about signing a lease with her for a year.
I consoled myself that I was a careerist; she was just a housewife and mommy.
That is, until Monica reclaimed her literary roots with a part-time career as executor of her father's estate, overseeing the deal to film Revolutionary Road. At the star-studded movie premiere, I told Monica that her youngest, Abe, loved the Iron Man gift I'd sent. Although she was infamous for putting her foot in her mouth (much like the Seinfeld character Elaine she had helped inspire), this put-down shocked me.
I felt edged out, like she'd stolen my place, and I was horrified I was so easily erased.
Monica seemed to get everything: successful doctor husband, babies, my parents' adoration.