Chapters 75-76 Summary
Deciding to move was a simple decision for Julia, and it was almost as simple for Zoë. Bertrand had not been happy at the prospect of having Zoë so far away, but his daughter had been firm about leaving. She promised to come back and visit him every few months, and she told him he could always come to see her and the baby in the United States. Julia had to explain that this move was nothing permanent, that it was simply a way for Zoë to connect with her American side. It would not be forever, though it will probably be a couple of years; it will offer Julia a chance to start over and help her move on with her life.
Bertrand and Amélie were now an official couple. Amélie’s children are nearly adults so they were out of the house. Julia wondered if Bertrand had been tempted by the prospect of a new life without the responsibility of raising children on a daily basis. In any case, he finally agreed to let Zoë go with her mother, and Julia began making things happen.
After staying for a short time with Charla, she found a simple apartment to sublet: white, two bedrooms, with an open city view and a doorman. The building is full of divorced women and families with children. It is a cozy, comfortable home, but something is missing. Her former boss Joshua helped her get a job as the New York City correspondent for a “hip” French Web site. She is able to work from home, and Bamber is her photographer whenever she needed shots from Paris. Zoë’s school is only a few blocks away, and she complains that she will never fit in, that they all call her “the Frenchy.” Julia just smiles.
New Yorkers are purposeful but friendly. When Julia and her girls first arrived, their neighbors said hello in the elevator, brought them flowers and candy as welcome gifts, and joked with the building’s doorman. Julia had forgotten this about Americans after living so long with Parisian surliness and lack of neighborliness. Ironically, though, and despite her active life, Julia misses Paris. She misses the Eiffel Tower lighting up every hour in the evenings, the weekly drill with air sirens howling over the city, and the wonderful Saturday outdoor market she used to frequent. Like her daughter and despite being an American, Julia feels as if she too is a Frenchy.
Leaving Paris had not been as easy as she thought it would be, and though New York is beautiful and vast, it is not her home. She misses her friends, though she has made new ones. She misses Edouard, though they remain close and he writes her faithfully every month. She especially misses the bold frankness with which Frenchmen look at women; here she feels invisible.
Julia feels empty, and her nights are “forlorn,” even when she is not alone.