Dorothea Benton Frank
New York Times Bestselling Author
Dorothea Benton Frank
"A classic summer vacation read from the inimitable Dorothea Benton Frank." —Barnes & Noble
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The Last Original Wife (Continued)

I took a small bottle of cold water from the refreshment station and sank into one of only two unoccupied overstuffed velvet club chairs, unscrewed the cap, and took a long drink. Okay, I'd admit this much, as off-putting as the swank trappings were to me? Well, the chairs were like a beautiful womb, upholstered in swirls of deep purple and olive on a field of smooth ecru velvet. I could've slept in them. No, I could've lived in them. If I thought no one would have noticed, I might have pushed one through the door, down the hall, into the elevator, and somehow with God's grace, I would've smooshed it into the back of my car. Just the thought of it gave me a little thrill, and this was a time in my life when thrills were not happening for me in Atlanta.

In between the chairs were small tables that held magazines on mental health, extreme adventure travel, vegan living, and every kind of yoga. You could tell a lot about the soul of an organization by the reading material in its waiting area. For my money, these particular choices leaned a little to the side of wacko, but, I reminded myself, my son was a granola-boy who had been living in an ashram in Nepal for the last three years while he contemplated the universe instead of completing his MBA. It wasn't like Bertie aspired to climb Everest and then come home and become an adult, not that climbing Everest is a childish thing to do. I'm suggesting that's a lofty goal. No, this was something different. He was completely under the spell of all things Hindu, Himalayan, and Tibetan. His current passion was to photograph the people as they went about their lives in the spectacular landscape near the Roof of the World. He was transfixed by the exotic temples and stupas, the smells of burning yak butter candles, and Buddhist monks seated in long lines on low cushions, chanting in guttural tones. He was completely taken by the regular people, their devotion to their faith, and their pilgrimages to Lake Manasarovar. His plan was to sell his pictures to a magazine like National Geographic or maybe put together a documentary for PBS with Bill Moyers. I have to confess that while his photographs were out of this world stunningly beautiful, neither of these goals had yet to come anywhere close to fruition. So my beautiful son, Bertie, was still woven into the umbilical cord of his father's wallet.

I have never been able to mail Bertie an additional check for even fifty dollars because my husband had some very deep-rooted and completely exhausting control issues. Therefore, I had lived on a very, very strict budget and never had an extra fifty dollars. All spending had to be justified in the accounting department of Wesley Carter's stingy brain.

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