Real Housewives of New York: I'll Be Famous When I'm Dead

Last night's episode was all about people's parties. Well, a fashion show is sort of a party. At parties, the Housewives fight, they make up, they laugh, they learn, they love.

It was Fashion Week in old New York last night, and all the ladies — being among the most fashionable women in New York — just had to attend a whole host of fancy shows and events. There's a certain duty, a noblesse oblige, once you gain the stature that the Housewives have. You may not want to do these things — because who likes all those cameras and all that attention and feeling more special than everyone else — but you have to. It just comes with the territory, the burnt-over tract of land these whinnying orcs inhabit.

One of the best things about going to fashion shows and having the cameras around is that you get to meet some truly fabulous celebrities. And oh the celebrities that the Housewives got to meet last night. First there was a loud quacking and the faraway sound of a Wurlitzer and out of the shadows loped Lisa Rinna, star of stage and screen. LuAnn curtsied and kissed Rinna's hand and said "M'lady, your lips precede you." Rinna blinked and said "You mean my reputation precedes me?" LuAnn's eyes narrowed to amused slits. "Yes, that too." So that was pretty amazing. I mean, Lisa Rinna? Do you know who she's married to? Harry Hamlin, the ham salesman. If you haven't had Harry Hamlin's ham then you have never had ham. And do you know his hit song, "Hamblin' Man"? That's a classic. And Rinna herself, man oh man, what a performer. If you missed her as the 173rd replacement Roxie Hart then you basically should swallow a bottle of Windex and write some notes to your loved ones, because there's just no point in going on! She was that good! So ladies, I am sufficiently jealous of your Rinna meeting. That is pretty amazing.

And you know who else they met? Perez Hilton. Can you believe that? He was just so radiant there with his orange hair and bizarre Old Orchard Beach sundress. Plus he did what all the classys are doing these days, which is grope Jill Zarin's breasts. But it's OK, guys, because he's gay! So he can grab whatever the hell he wants!! Ha ha ha, isn't that fabulous and wonderful? I certainly think so. Go Perez!! The best thing, the thing that really made me jealous that I wasn't invited to that party, was that it was sponsored by Alize. You know, that delicious alcohol drank? Yeah. Boy oh boy. To run in Housewife social circles. To travel in those glitzy orbits. Someday, right? Some fine day.

Anyway. Yes, the girls were off at fashion shows, but they weren't really paying attention to the clothes. Because, as Bethenny admirably pointed out, none of them really had any idea what was going on fashion-wise. I mean all these ladies want to wear is some brightly colored zoot suit with a designer tag stapled into the collar and they are hot to trot. So really the fashion shows are just a way to schmooze and be seen and, hopefully hopefully hopefully, photographed. And also to fight. Oh man all they did this episode was fight. Just bicker and bicker. X is mad at Y who's mad at Z and then Z is mad at X and then R comes along and starts singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" in the middle of the room and everyone just stops and stares and forgets what they were just yelling about. R, clearly, is our dear friend Ramona.

Oh, Ramona. Grown in a Petri dish after some of her cells were found on a piece of the Sputnik satellite that managed to make it through the atmosphere intact, no one is quite sure where the original Ramona might be from. What's important is that she's here now and she is using her innate space wizard powers to guide us all. Ramona has become something of a confidant, or at least a dazed and vibrating sounding board, to the other Housewives. She credits it to her new hairdo. Since it's been shorter, she's been "thinking" more. And this jibes with what we know about Ramona's space race, a culture controlled by the whims of their glowing spaghetti hair. (In this they are not unlike the Na'vi from James Cameron's recent documentary Avatar, though they do not use their hair for sex. As much.) Ramona could close her eyes tight and her hair would grow longer, but with that part of her brain would leave her head. She's better off when more of it is coiled in pulsing strands inside her human skull. That way she can discern a situation, she can get the lay of the land. She can effect change.

What's happening is that Bethenny is stirring up trouble. Bethenny is getting ready to leave the show. She is packing up her bags, settling old accounts, and sometimes it is not easy. You'll remember from every single scene of this season so far that Bethenny left a mean-ish voicemal for Jill Zarin — truly emerging this season as the bitchy ringleader — and that has caused a rift. Wanting to assert herself in the situation, LuAnn has sided with Jill and is barking at Bethenny always, like Crabbe or Goyle, only she's not just some dumb lackey. No, she's in it for her own plotting, mysterious reasons. Kelly doesn't understand much of anything, so she just shows up where she's told to show up and that's that. When Bethenny goes to fashion shows, all the claws come out and everyone starts cawing at each other like common crows and, somewhere far off, Ramona's ears perk up. Ramona does not want to involve herself, and yet she is drawn to the sound of their rutting like a magnet. She smells blood in the water, and would like to swim over there and point at it and say "Oooo blood!"

First it was Bethenny and LuAnn that went at it. They both showed up to the Calico Corners collection for Caldor, a high-profile show held in some guy's basement. LuAnn came with Kelly and they walked up to the designer, a much older and sadder looking Sue Ellen Crandell, and they exchanged pleasantries. Sue Ellen was there with her son, a curly-locked towheaded boy wearing a smart blazer and chinos. Suddenly the poor child felt a heavy, cold clamp on his heart and his tear ducts began to freeze. He looked up and there, folding up her knobby knees and erratic elbows into a crouch, was Kelly. She looked at him, rotating her head 90 degrees. "Helloo there..." she croaked. "And how old are you? Eleven?" The boy squeezed his mother's hand and felt more terrified than he ever had before. But he was a brave lad, so he screwed up his courage and said "No, I'm 13." There was a quick whoosh and a creaking of bones and Kelly was upright again. "Oh 13! Big man!" At the sound of the word "13" LuAnn had suddenly snapped her eyes to the boy, who looked terribly young for his age. She pretended to drop something and crouched down and huskily whispered in his ear, "Call me in a few years, eh cherry pie?"

So that was terrifying and creepy, but it got the thick, viscous oil in these women's veins flowing, so they were ready for a fight. Luckily Bethenny showed up and they had their target. Not that Bethenny was helpless in this situation, no no no. But the minute Kelly and LuAnn spotted her, glad-handing with photogs, they knew shit was on in a way that Bethenny maybe didn't. The ladies exchanged kissy-kissy pleasantries and then LuAnn began the assault. "You've sure been going to a lot of fashion shows. I didn't think you went to fashion shows." Apparently this was some sort of passive-aggressive dig, and Bethenny flew off the handle. She raged at LuAnn and called her a snake and a liar and a weirdo. LuAnn raised an eyebrow and blew thick cords of smoke out in Bethenny's face. Kelly, meanwhile, had affixed her proboscis to Lisa Rinna's face and the two were locked into some sort of grim, fame-sucking pas de deux.

Ramona hovered above them and observed, curious. Then she looked at her watch. Aha! It was time for another fashion show. So she flitted back down to Earth and with her came a tuft of moon dandelions that reminded Ramona of birds, so she'd named it Aviary. Only someone had gotten the spelling wrong at the hospital (it might have been Ramona herself) and so it was now called Avery and looked like a human girl. Avery is becoming a little lady now, all pumps and purses, so Ramona decided it was time to bring her to her first big fashion show. There they were, standing around and humming their songs to themselves (it is how they breathe), when Avery suddenly felt shards of ice piercing her insides. A cold, tinny sound began ringing in her ears. She looked up and there, long knotty limbs inching one by one like a spider out of a taxicab, was Kelly. Kelly immediately saw the girl and bent down hideously to say hi to her. "Well hello. Is this your first fashion show?" Ramona said "First big fashion show!" even though she had no idea who she was talking to and, quite frankly, hadn't even heard the question. Ramona was just saying words, as she likes to do.

After all the models had sauntered down the runway and everyone had clapped politely but dumbly, Kelly and Ramona got to talking while Avery stood and stared curiously, not yet longingly, at the tall concave-chested male models that were standing in a matchstick huddle, smoking cigarettes and speaking in a mysterious young adult language that Avery wasn't sure she wanted to learn yet. And then suddenly she felt a yank on her shoulder and there was her mother, with her crazy eyes again, and she said "Aviary honey mama is going to party-party with big Uncle Kelly here, so you go bye bye." She explained that Kelly had invited her to a very fancy Perez Hilton party and that she was going. And then she put Avery into a cab and said "So long! Farewell! It was nice to meet youuuuu!" Kelly was appalled at this, as she should have been. "Hey Aves! How'd your big fashion show date with your mom go? Did you girls have fun??"

"Uh, yeah. It was OK. But then my mom saw a friend and wanted to go to a party so she sent me home by myself. I'm gonna go sit in my room for a few years."

As Avery sat in the cab and thought about all that she'd seen and felt that day — the grownup world can be an awfully sharp and unpleasant place, can't it? — Ramona giggled bitchily and hopped in the cab with Kelly. Off they zoomed to the fancy Alize fete. There waiting for them was Jill. Aha! An opportunity for Ramona to put on her press hat and get the scoop. Kelly related the story of the fashion show in which Bethenny had exploded at LuAnn and Jill nodded to indicate that she was listening until she couldn't bear it anymore and had to interject. "Well the way Iiiiiiii heard it... " Even though she hadn't even been there. Kelly looked pissed to be interrupted and, as the terrible tale of raging Bethenny unfolded, Ramona's eyes bulged with wonder. But she kept mum, she didn't take sides. She just said "Well that's interesting." She informed us that she was very eager to hear Bethenny's side of the story, and later she would. In the meantime, it was time to go into the party, to drink Alize all night long and eat hors d'œuvres while looking at Perez Hilton's beautiful, glowing rump roast of a face. And so they did.

While Bethenny was being talked about, Bethenny was talking about others. She and her boyfriend Pebbles were curled up on the couch and he was massaging her feet and she was complaining about Jill and and LuAnn and all that. She sighed. "Alls I really need are the three B's: Boyfriend, Books, and Booze." And then Pebbles blinked his eyes and an overall strap came undone and faraway there was the sound of a cow mooing and he said "And you don't need Bitches." Because that begins with a B. Bethenny smiled and patted his knee and said "That's good honey. That's real good. I'm proud of you." Pebbles blushed and looked down and said "Aw shucks," and he plinked one lonely note on his banjo. It echoed strangely in the apartment and Bethenny felt a sudden stabbing in her heart, but it quickly passed. It passed.

Then she was off to a morning SkinnyGirl cocktail reception for some fashion fool. There were some more bigtime celebrities there, people like Markie Post and Mary-Margaret Humes, so that was nice. Alex puttered up in her Beverly Hillbillies car, crates of chickens squawking in the back. It backfired loudly and Alex lurched out. She and Bethenny made no small talk. Bethenny immediately began telling her all about how LuAnn was so mean and Jill's such a bitch and blah blah, it was the same discussion we've been having for a month now. Alex looked bored but she stayed in the conversation long enough to get to her part. And this is how these women talk, they wait but don't really listen, they are all one way streets, you can't get there from here. When Bethenny made the mistake of pausing to take a delicious sip of SkinnyGirl, Alex jumped in. "Well Jill has been going around telling people that my kids are climbing people's legs! I just can't believe that. Francois is just affectionate and likes legs a lot. You just have to swat him off before he burrows into your crotch and lays eggs. If that happens... Well, it's going to be an unpleasant couple of weeks for you." Bethenny nodded, having no idea what Alex was talking about, just waiting for a cue to jump back into her story, but the moment never came. Because Kelly arrived. She crawled up out of the bathroom sink drain and long-legged her way over to the goils and Bethenny was nervous. She and Kelly hate each other so! But, as it turns out, she was wrong to worry.

There was some awkwardness when Bethenny tried to get Kelly to try a SkinnyGirl — "It's so early in the morning," Kelly whined — but eventually she took one small symbolic sip and issued a curt "Mm" and Bethenny was satisfied. And from there they just talked, said that things were not worth fighting about, that who really cared. (So what? Who cayahs?) Alex stood there like a wooden Indian and it seemed that maybe Bethenny and Kelly were all right. Maybe the war had passed and the killing fields had grown over with wildflowers and spring had come. Kelly said, admirably, that she had no reason to be mean to Bethenny. Good for you, Kelly. Honestly.

Sadly, peace would not reign in the Housewife kingdom for long.

Bethenny and Ramona got drinks to discuss the whole borrrrring Jill situation and we had to sit through the one hundred and thirty-seventh (Jessica Wakefield would be proud of that number) conversation about it and Ramona just filed all this information, wrote it down on little pieces of paper, sprinkled them with sugar, and swallowed them up. It's a fairly primitive filing system, but it works. It works for her. Ramona said something about someone being on her "like white rice" and it was pretty much marvelous. O Ramona! Sing to me of the heavens and the earth! And of rice.

Then the cameras shifted and we were standing in Jill's aquarium apartment in the sky. Jill was having a fancy-pants event that night at Saks and she needed to get ready. She invited LuAnn over to watch her get dressed and, because LuAnn had been sitting at home drinking a Jack and pineapple juice and cheating at solitaire, she agreed. "I'm a Barbie Girl..." went the doorbell and with a lispy shuffle Jill's boyservant answered the door. "Miss Zarin is getting ready, but would you like to sit in the parlor and stare at all the lovely furniture?" LuAnn grunted. "Beat's starin' at yer dumpling face." The boyservant grimaced and said "Would you like something to drink?" LuAnn reached into her purse and pulled out an Arizona ice tea can filled with her Jack and pineapple. "Brought my own, thanks. Get me an ashtray though, will ya?" The boyservant skittered off to the kitchen and LuAnn plopped down on the couch. Suddenly she saw one of the pillows, moving. After she knocked herself on the head to clear up her vision she saw that the pillow was, in fact, Jill's mom. "Oh hey there Mrs. Z, didn't see ya there." Jill's mom said not to worry and asked how LuAnn was doing. "Well," LuAnn sighed, pulling a pack of GPCs from her waistband. "Hubby 'n I are officially doneski. Papers came in today." Jill's mom shook her head in sympathy and said nice things and, really, that woman is just fabulous, isn't she? I think it would be quite something to know her in private life.

Finally the stone masons and plastics experts and rigging crew left and Jill was ready to go. Off to her fancy, not-at-all-sponsored Saks party. Oh it was quite an affair! Basically, the idea is that you invite a bunch of ladies, they drink champagne and feel really famous and fabulous and then they buy stuff! So it really works out well for Saks and Jill. Ramona was surprised that Saks did it at all, because from what she heard, Jill is banned from Saks for buying lots of clothes and then returning them after wearing them. Which sounds exactly like something that Jill would do, doesn't it? But, this a cash-money making opportunity here for Saks and this is a damn recession. So bring in the Zarin.

As the party began, women were clawing at boots and licking cashmere sweaters and stuffing designer handbags down the front of their sagging dresses. It was an out-and-out free for all, as Jill's wild-eyed friends all tried desperately to look chic and in-the-know. Jill was wearing a metallic spacesuit with enormous shoulder pads that she kept crowing on about. Ramona, sage arbiter of fashion, deemed it unworthy of the event. And Ramona understand what's appropriate. For example, when one is at a filmed Saks party for classy rich ladies, one ought have a pinot grigio IV hooked up to one's veins. It's just the way high society does it. So that's what she did and the real adventure began.

First Alex and Simon arrived, Alex pulling Simon in a threadbare rickshaw, little Francois and Johan fanning him with palm leaves. "I love a fashion party," he drawled to the cameras. Alex just blew her gypsy jug and did wee hoedowns around the store until she reached Jill. She needed to talk to Jill about this whole Francois climbing up people's legs thing. Jill handled it fairly well, I suppose. She just calmly said "Well that's what I heaaaard" and then, alls of a sudden, Alex just burst into tears. It was very mysterious. I suppose she hadn't expected Jill to be nice? Do you think that Alex was hoping for a fight so she could get some more screen time, but then as she realized that Jill wasn't going to engage, she knew for sure that her place on this show truly did not exist anymore? I mean she has been so absent this season, hasn't she. Poor Alex. Jill just looked at her strangely and wanted desperately to run away, but Alex's limbs are long and many, and Jill worried she'd be caught and pulled back in toward that terrifying, ever-chomping squid beak. So she stayed put, until her rescuer came, in the form of a boot-scootin', rootin'-tootin' LuAnn. "It was all LuAnn's fault!" Jill clucked loudly. Alex turned her weepy gaze to LuAnn, who said "Oh fiddlefucks, here we go" and lit up a cigarette, expecting some long Thing.

But it wasn't long-lived, because Ramona had been warily circling them in some kind of crab-walk, waiting for any sort of keyword that she could jump on to enter the conversation. And then she heard it! "Mario." Aha! Her husband's name. She was upon them in a startling instant, her eyes now entirely black, smiling a strange, faraway smile. "Are we talking about the Mario thing again?" she asked, squeezing the IV bag, sending a floodwater gush of Cavit into her system. Well, no, they weren't actually, but now it was too late. Ramona had showed up and the world was precarious again. "You know what's funny, Alex" Ramona chirped. "I wanted to have a party but LuAnn didn't want to invite you and isn't that awkward?" LuAnn turned bright red and said "I have no idea what you're talking about." But Ramona, completely devoid of social cues at this point, just wouldn't let it go. She was a terrier or a Jonas Brother. She just would not give it up.

To her credit, Alex took the whole thing with a grain of salt, but LuAnn was upset. Luckily the dinner bell rang and it was time to eat while strange models paraded around the table, trying desperately to not look at all the forbidden food laid out on the table beside them. Kelly showed up and LuAnn regarded her big fur vest and said "Oh that's funky." Ha. Funky. That's just what moms call certain articles of clothing. Funky. Anyway, Jill was loving being the center of everything and she gazed out at her beautiful guests — bloat-faced leathery hydras, the real toast of New York — and felt that she'd won. This was perfect. Unfortunately, Ramona saw differently. She didn't really sit down during the meal. Rather she skittered around the edges of the table, popping her head into conversations, saying strange and wicked things and then disappearing. There you'd be, discussing the weathah or ya health, and Ramona's head would suddenly appear. "Did you know she hates you?" she would say to your companion. "She does. I heard it somewhere." And then she'd be gone. She was Eris, goddess of discord. She is Pandora's box and the lid of her head has been open for quite some time.

Eventually she made her way over to LuAnn and Kelly. She heard about LuAnn's divorce and she hugged her. Though they'd just been fighting not thirty minutes before, now Ramona was made of hugs. She squeezed LuAnn very very tight, to the point that LuAnn had trouble breathing, and she said over and over again "It's so, so sad. It's just so, so sad." And it was, LuAnn knew, it was sad. But she didn't like hearing it. Not now, not here, not from this crazed glowworm creature. "Thanks, hun," she said, patting Ramona's hand, hoping that would shoo her away. And it did! Ramona then curled her neck around like a Velociraptor and looked at Kelly. "Hi... Hi, Ramona," Kelly stammered nervously. Ramona's mouth did a weird little dance and there was a strange pulse in the air, a tuning fork hum, and finally she said "Kelly, is it true that you're getting another boob job? That's what I read somewhere. That you're getting another boob job." Everyone was scandalized! Oh terribly scandalized. Ramona asked the woman who'd just posed for Playboy about her breasts. I mean, yes, look. In any other situation that'd be a pretty rude question to ask, but not when it's Kelly frickin' Bensimon. You can ask that clam anything. "Hey Kelly, when you cut yourself, do you bleed bile or battery acid?" "Hey Kelly, is it uncomfortable sleeping in the microwave?" And so on. But these women are obsessed with being some vague and incorrect idea of Proper, so they were very upset.

Ramona gurgled some excuses while LuAnn and Kelly tossed their hair haughtily and Alex went in search of Simon. Last she'd seen him, he was admiring her red wrap print dress from Jean Paul Gaultier. She walked around the big empty store, clapping two wooden blocks together in short bursts, which usually attracts him. Clap-clap. Nothing. Clap-clap. Nothing still. Finally, she came upon a darkened section of the store. She looked up at the wall and saw the name of the department. Her heart plunged. "Menswear," it said, in cruel black letters. Then she heard a thump or a rustle or, gulp, a moan and she knew. She knew. "Simon!" she called. "Simon honey, if you had another accident where you were changing and then tripped on your pants and fell on top of a male store clerk again, that's fine, no need to be embarrassed. I'm... I'm just going to wait out here. While you get up. From falling. From your accident." She waited for what felt like an eternity until she finally smelled his scent — something like cucumber perfume and strange French soup and the gummy tar smell of smoking pipes. He was fastening his belt and striding out alongside a young sales person, a sallow-cheeked kid with strange sloped features but a kind of stern Slavic beauty about him. Simon gave her a strained, ugly grin. "Damnedest thing. Just fell right down again." Alex's face felt unmoored, like it was sliding around on her skull. "Yeah," she said. It was all she could say. Yeah.

And just as suddenly as it had begun, the party was over. Nothing with Ramona's drunkery was really resolved, but I'm sure we'll hear plenty about it next week. Until then she will continue to control us all with her whims, with her glowing tendrils of peculiar hair.

She'll make Jill seem silly and mean in photoshoots with her nice mom and sister. Them in demure suits and Jill in a stupid va-va-voom magenta gown. It won't last more than a second, but Ramona will quickly tug a strand and for a moment Jill will wish she was back, back on Long Island, back when she didn't brag about Saks gold keys and fancy luggage. Back when things really mattered. And then it will pass.

And Bethenny, under Ramona's cobweb spell, will wonder if any of this is worth it. All this bickering and feeling bad and saying things you don't want to say because there are cameras there and you feel some implicit obligation to entertain. She'll wonder if all she needs is Pebbles and his whistle-toothed breathing. Maybe that's it, just him. The way he chews bits of straw or stares out at marbled skies and, with a stubby confident finger, points out the storm clouds. "That one's the real one, that's the rain cloud over thar. Them others is just along for the ride. Just floatin' along, full'a nothin'."

Alex will sit in the Towncar on the way home to Brooklyn and Ramona will hum three little bars of her song and suddenly at a light Alex will say "Honey, I'll see you at home, I'm... I'm gonna go for a walk." And she'll jump out of the car and tromp down the street into the night. She'll watch couples passing by, intertwined with each other, pulled close by chemistry and yearning. She'll walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and stand halfway, between that world and hers. She will stand there for a long, long time, not sure where to go. Until finally she takes a deep dusty breath and heads on down the hill to Brooklyn, to her crooked, imperfect home. To where accidents and falls can still happen, where everything can be explained by simple slips. It is easier that way.

Kelly will be standing in the mirror, examining her boobs, when Ramona will float by the window and blow her a magical kiss. It will hit Kelly in the back of the head and suddenly she will get a strange amber glint in her eyes and she will say, out loud, for whoever to hear, "Bigger..." And they will get bigger.

And then there's LuAnn, lonely LuAnn. Doesn't even need to be called a Countess anymore. What does she care. She's done, defeated, traded-in. Ramona will sneak up invisible and giggle in LuAnn's ear and she will feel strange and for some reason the word "funky" will pass through her head. Funky. Heh. Hah. She used to have some funky outfits. There was that Indian dress thing, that suede thing, she wore that one night to the Lieutenants Mixer at Ft. Bragg and the next day she'd woken up in Okinawa, having no idea where she was, curled up next to a navy ensign named Karl. She wondered how Karl was doing. Probably real old by now, she figured. 'Bout as old as she is.

She'd had that funky pair of big flowy parachute pants back when those were in. Yeah, she'd worn 'em to disco out in Sparks the night Carla Dixon broke that bottle over that kid's head. Turned out he was the mayor's son and she went to jail, Carla did, for a long long time. She'd always been a stupid girl. Those'd always been stupid pants.

There was another time, the last time she'd seen her mom. It was the day she and the Count were getting married. All that fancy stuff laid out real nice and all the guests in their black ties and expensive dresses. And there her mom and been in her pilly wool suit, the one she'd bought for LuAnn's high school graduation (which, of course, never happened) with the cigarette burn on the sleeve. LuAnn had been fluffing her dress in the mirror when her mom sneaked in. "Knock knock," she said in that familiar gravel. LuAnn remembered being annoyed just then, there was this embarrassing old lady, an artifact from the imperfect past, and she was gonna ruin this somehow, Lu just knew it. "What's up ma?" LuAnn asked. "Well, I got ya something. And I don't know if you've got you're Somethin' Blue yet, but... I just wanted to give you a little something on yer wedding day. Yer real wedding day. This's the one's gonna last, you know? This is the real one." LuAnn nodded. She agreed. She hoped. "Well, what is it?" Her mother dug in her suit pocket and she pulled out this bright blue bracelet, gaudy and plastic and big. "I thought it could look nice, somethin' fun. Saw it at the Caldor and thought'a you. I don't know. It's kinda funky, right?" LuAnn said yeah it was, thanked her mom and then told her that she had to finish getting dressed.

She didn't wear the bracelet at the wedding, of course. Couldn't do it. Couldn't wear something like that — cheap and sad — in front of all those fancy Europeans. No, she just went out there as planned and her mom never did say anything about it. And then she died that winter, and LuAnn looked, panicked and drunk one night, but she couldn't find the bracelet. And there wasn't anymore to be said about that. But LuAnn will wonder that night, when Ramona comes to her and whispers in her ear. She'll wonder if maybe that bracelet wouldn't have made the difference. Maybe it was a blessing, and she should have been better about recognizing those. Little blessings. Should have been grateful for them. All that. But instead there's divorce. That big, mean word.

But oh well, LuAnn will figure. She'll have a fashion show the next day and there'll be stuff to do to get ready. So she will. The divorcee. The brand new lonely lighthouse.

And somewhere Ramona will sigh and dim the lights and that will be that.