Bruce is an acclaimed author, who lives in a swanky, white house that is almost a monument in Montauk. And somewhere in the corners of the lush gardens of his wealth, is lying his withering marriage with his socialite wife. If there is anything that this rich and reputed father in law has ever offered to Noah (besides his money), then that is scoffs and arrogance. He never leaves an opportunity to belittle Noah (even publicly)
Shortly after his return to the city after spending the summer in Montauk, Noah returns to attend an event being hosted at Bruce’s place to honor his authorship. Alison is attending to the guests that evening.
By now Noah and Alison’s sagacious affair is no hidden secret in Montauk. Noah sneaks out with Alison for a while and on returning finds Bruce struggling in a chair, crippled by his joint pains. As Noah offers a helping hand to him, Bruce for the first time opens up to Noah. In a half drunk state Bruce recalls an incident from his past, his affair with a socially insignificant Spanish woman.
He recalls the time spent with her as the best time of his life and the book that he wrote during that time won him a nomination for a Pulitzer, the only one he ever had.
Noah’s eyes are exuding the question that every reader would want to ask at this time
“Why did you not stay with her forever Bruce?”
And Bruce replies “Son, when I thought of my life tree with Margaret (his wife) I could see a huge one, with roots and branches, flower and fruit, spreading all over. And when I pictured my tree with this woman it appeared to be a tiny potted plant. I thought that when Helen would come to visit me during vacation, she would have to sleep in a tiny closet. And I thought No, this cannot happen“.
As Bruce lumbers away in the alley, Noah raises the dreaded question “Do you ever think of her, still?”. And guess what Bruce has to answer. He turns towards Noah, looks him in the eye and replies “Every, single day”
Noah stands lone in the alley and the shadow of Bruce departs leaving him on the crossroads, where he must choose between a life which promises social security and the one he is longing for. Noah returns to the city, back to his wife and children, in a bid to undo the damage that has already been done to his marriage.
Whether he is able to succeed or not is what you will find out in the next blog.
Bruce’s life tree herein in symbolic of social security, ties and comforting materialism. Its flowers and fruit are the benefits of social acceptance. Its roots are the bonds of a unified family, which would hold children in their place. It branches and thrives on his sacrifice. But the bigger question is did Bruce’s tree grow the way he imagined it to. I cannot tell you that. What I can tell you is that much later in the story, Bruce takes a taxi from the airport and engages in idle talk with the unknown taxi driver. He reveals to him that he had gone to meet the long lost Spanish woman in Barcelona and is planning to divorce his wife after forty years of marriage.
So, there’s the question, What is it that incites a seemingly wise man to change the decision that he took in all his sane mind? What is it that a man (or woman) is actually longing for? What is it that makes a man give up his life of stability that he had been trying so hard to resurrect? And the answer is for you to seek, because it may not be the same for everyone.
We will continue Noah’s story in the next blog
Ps- Surprise, surprise!! Guess who was the taxi driver to whom Bruce unintentionally revealed his secret. It was Cole, Alison’s husband, who at this point has lost his ranch and is driving a cab for a living.