Chapters 73-74 Summary
New York City, 2005
Zoë is playing with her sister on the playground while Julia is feeling overprotective of her two-year-old as they play on the playground. They are in Central Park, and sitting next to Julia is her boyfriend Neil, a divorced lawyer introduced to her by Charla. Julia likes him, but thankfully she is not in love with him and has no intention of marrying him. She has had several boyfriends in the past few years, but none of them have been serious. Each of them was a cultured, cultivated, middle-aged, all-American man. With them Julia has had perfectly good times, but she feels no passion with any of them. Charla and her mother are concerned, but Julia carelessly tells them she is fine.
Julia’s daughter Zoë is a fascinating blend of Jarmond and Tézac: classy, charming, feisty, and powerful. She has grown much taller and is now a “spectacular teenager.” Her younger sister, an active toddler, needs much more attention, perhaps because she has had no father or because they moved to America several months after she was born. Julia’s second daughter was born two months prematurely, just before Christmas. Bertrand was there, “oddly tense, moved despite himself.” Julia wondered if Bertrand was disappointed that the child was not a son, but Julia was not disappointed at all. This daughter is the girl Julia fought so hard to keep, “her victory.”
Just before they were going to move into the rue de Saintonge apartment, Bertrand finally told his wife that he loves Amélie. His explanation is long and painfully awkward, but as he paced the room and talked, Julia quit listening and thought about America. When he finished, Bertrand looked “drained and wrecked,” but at least he was finally honest with both himself and her. Julia thanks him and he is surprised, undoubtedly expecting some kind of “a fuss.” That night Julia decided to go to New York City. It is the one place which could rival Paris because it is so utterly different from it. Her friends in Paris were upset but understood her need for a change.
Mamé died, after lingering in silence since November, and it even though it was expected it was a shock. After the funeral, Zoë tells her mother she does not want to move into the new apartment. Julia tells her they are going to move to New York City.