LIKE MOST OF THE BACK ROADS in Northford, Carpenter Road was a twisting, hilly strip of asphalt barely two lanes wide, bordered by tall trees and massive outcroppings of granite. Cruising down Carpenter Road—especially when you drove fast and tight, the way Paul did—required a fair amount of concentration. He had the pickup’s windows open, the radio cranked up and a few sacks of cedar chips in back. His eyes were on the double yellow line and his mind was on the sixpack chilling in his refrigerator at home. As soon as he dropped off the cedar chips back at the nursery, he planned to head for his house, pop open a beer and unwind. He worked most Saturdays, so he felt no compunction about leaving the nursery early Friday nights. And tonight he had no date, no plans, no obligations.
Lost in the pleasures of driving, he almost didn’t see the boy standing just beyond a sharp bend in the road, his head turned to stare over his left shoulder and his right thumb stuck out in silent supplication. His hair was scruffy and tawny-colored, his jeans were torn at the knees and his feet were encased in oversized leather hightops. He was tall and stringy in build, with peach-fuzz cheeks and squinting eyes.
Paul slowed to a halt, shifted into neutral, and turned down the volume on the radio. Then he leaned across the seat toward the passenger window. “Where you headed?” he asked.
The boy peered into the cab of the truck. Paul saw that behind his squint he had gentle hazel eyes, almost feminine in their beauty. “Fair Hollow Lane,” the boy said, his voice twanging and cracking the way male voices did during early adolescence.
Fair Hollow Lane was on the southern end of town, well out of Paul’s way. But if he didn’t give the kid a lift, someone else might—some creep, maybe. Tall though the boy was, he lacked the heft to defend himself. “Get in,” Paul said, straightening in his seat.
“Thanks.” The boy gave him a broad, toothy smile and climbed into the truck.
Paul waited until his passenger was settled before he shifted into gear. He drove for a minute in silence, keeping his speed down and contemplating whether he should offer a lecture along with the ride. He didn’t like being lectured, himself, but this kid appeared too innocent, too trusting. He ought to be more cautious, given how many sick people there were in the world. “You know, hitching isn’t safe,” he said, hoping he didn’t sound judgmental.
The boy shot him a quick look, then shrugged. “This is a small town. It’s not like I’d hitch in Lowell or Boston or anything.”
“Small town or not, you run a major risk getting into a stranger’s car. You’re lucky I came along. I’m sane. A lot of folks aren’t.”
The boy eyed him, his expression a blend of impatience and edginess. “Yeah, well…” He turned his gaze to the windshield. The thick, shaggy locks of his dirty-blond hair blew back from his face in the spring-tinged breeze that gusted in through the open window.
“What’s your name?” Paul asked.
The boy gave him another toothy grin. “Shane Hudson. What’s yours?”
“Yeah, I noticed that on the outside of the truck. ‘Tremaine Nursery.’”
Paul nodded. “It’s my uncle’s business,” he said. “I just work there.” That was an understatement; Uncle Steve had already started the paperwork to transfer half-ownership of the operation to Paul. But, as much as he enjoyed the myriad tasks of running the farm and its retail nursery—and as good as he was at it—he didn’t like viewing himself as an entrepreneur. It sounded so white-collar.
“So, what, you sell plants and stuff?” Shane asked.
“We grow them, we sell them, we plant them. Wholesale and retail. Shrubbery is our middle name.”
Paul glimpsed Shane and realized that his joke had flown over the boy’s head. “Never mind.” He braked at the stop sign, then turned right, heading south into the center of town.
Symptoms of civilization began to proliferate around them. The road grew straighter and wider and the number of houses increased: fewer rambling old farm houses, stone-walled mansions and derelict mobile homes, more neat cape-cods and colonials. The closer to town they traveled, the tidier the yards and the greater the preponderance of white clapboard in the architecture.
The heart of Northford was its rectangular green. The streets bordering it held the Congregational church, the Methodist church, the Unitarian church, the town hall, the post office, a couple of stores and the fenced-in playground of the elementary school. Pristine sidewalks criss-crossed the green beneath the leafy boughs of several ancient maple and oak trees. At the east end of the green stood a granite obelisk bearing a plaque which read: “In Memory of The Brave Men Who Gave Their Lives in the Service of Their Country.”
Paul was familiar with that monument. He knew every name carved onto its four sloping faces: those lost in the Civil War, World War I, World War II and Korea. Some had been born in Northford; some had resided in Northford just prior to their deaths. What mattered was that they’d died in war and the town of Northford had wanted to honor them.
What also mattered was that the obelisk didn’t have room on it for Paul’s war.
The knoll where he wanted to put a new memorial was on the western end of the green, a good fifteen yards from the nearest oak tree. He’d made his proposal at the town meeting a week ago, and while the idea hadn’t automatically been approved, at least he hadn’t been booed out of the room. The councilmen had expressed their gratitude that Paul was willing to donate ten thousand dollars of his own money toward the project, and they’d said they would review the budget to see what monies the town might contribute. Providing a small parcel of land on the town green would be no problem, they had assured him.
In fact, as far as Paul could tell, the only problem his memorial faced was the objection of that belligerent schoolteacher who’d risen to her feet and declared that she thought it would be downright scandalous to spend thousands of dollars in a celebration of the nation’s militaristic blunders when the elementary school couldn’t even scrape together the funds to update its library. The councilmen had listened to her as respectfully as they’d listened to Paul, but he suspected they were on his side. Who was she, after all, but some recent arrival, someone without any real roots in the town. Paul’s father had grown up in Northford, and so had he. His uncle, who had never lived anywhere else, was currently managing fifty fertile acres and paying taxes on them. The Tremaine name meant something in these parts.
Sooner or later, persnickety schoolteacher or no, Paul was going to erect his memorial. Then he’d be able to put the past to rest.
“Make a right here,” Shane was saying, indicating the intersection at the southwest corner of the green. “It’s a great short-cut to my house.”
“Are you in a hurry?” Paul asked. It occurred to him that not ten minutes ago he’d been in a rush to drop the extra sacks of cedar chips off at the nursery and head for home. For some reason, he wasn’t quite as anxious to race home now as he’d been before. The boy wasn’t exactly scintillating company, but Paul was enjoying the drive and the balmy May dusk.
“Well…I don’t want to get in trouble with my mom.”
“How old are you?” Paul asked.
“That’s an unusual name—Shane.”
The boy shrugged. “My father loved that old movie, you know, with Alan Ladd.”
“I know the one,” Paul said, wondering why Shane had referred to his father in the past tense. “Mysterious stranger passing through, saving the settlers. It’s a classic.”
Shane turned to him. “You like old movies?”
“I like new ones better. They’ve got more—” He almost said “skin,” but he caught himself in time. “More grit,” he said instead.
“You know what really burns me up?” Shane complained. “Here in Northford, you’ve got to drive to another town just to see a movie. Like, you can’t even get cable TV here—even though my mom probably wouldn’t let me have it, anyway. She thinks TV makes your mind rot. But you can’t just walk to the movies. I mean, like, you’ve got to get someone’s mom to drive you.”
“I take it you’re not a native of Northford,” Paul guessed.
“We moved here almost three years ago. We used to live in Cambridge,” Shane said, his emphasis implying that Paul was supposed to be impressed. He wasn’t. Cambridge was an academic enclave, fun in small doses and a mecca if you happened to be an old movie buff, which left Paul out. Nor did he like exotic and overpriced cuisine, overweening intellectualism, used book stores or city congestion.
“Cambridge, huh,” he grunted. “Clean air must be a novelty to you.”
“I guess my lungs have gotten used to it by now,” Shane said solemnly.
Paul cast him a quick look and realized that he was kidding. They shared a grin. “So tell me, where’s this short-cut of yours?” he asked.
Shane pointed. “Right there—Pond Road.”
“Are you nuts? That mud hole?”
“It’s not so bad. My mom drives it all the time.”
“What does she drive, a Sherman tank?”
“She’s got a Subaru,” Shane said. “If she can handle it, I bet this truck could.”
Paul laughed. “You’re missing the point, kid. If the mud splatters up onto the door panels and covers up the nursery name, we lose our free advertising.”
“If it splatters up, I’ll clean it off for you.”
Paul admired Shane’s spirit. “You’ve got yourself a deal,” he said, wrenching the steering wheel to the left and veering off the smoothly paved main route onto the pot-holed and rutted back road. They bumped along, Paul deftly steering around loose rocks and deep pits, dodging puddles whenever he could. “So help me,” he muttered, “if I need a new alignment after this—”
“It’s not so bad,” Shane insisted. “I’ll tell you what’s real nasty—doing it on a bicycle. Me and my friend Matt do this strip all the time. Back in March, during the thaw, Matt wiped out on a mud slick and went flying. He landed about fifty feet from his bike.”
“That must have been fun,” Paul grumbled. He was smiling, though. There was something refreshing about a teen-age boy who thought wiping out on a bike was more exciting than ingesting drugs or getting a girl into bed.
The front right tire hit a deep rut and set the truck bouncing. “Nice suspension you’ve got on this thing,” Shane observed.
“Nice suspension I had. How much longer before we get off this road?”
“It runs right into Fair Hollow. Then you make a right, and my house is right there.”
“I can’t wait.” Paul maneuvered around another deep rut and grinned when the truck remained level. Overhead the tree branches met, forming a canopy of dense leaves that sifted the sunset’s golden light. To the right extended a marshy lake, and to the left a few houses were visible.
Paul spotted a break in the trees. After steering adroitly around a bowling-ball-sized rock, he accelerated toward the smooth pavement at the intersection up ahead. “Is that Fair Hollow Lane?”
Allowing himself a private smile at having emerged from Pond Road relatively unscathed, Paul stopped at the intersection and then turned right. “Which house?”
Shane pointed to a small gray two-story house set back from the street at the end of a gravel drive. A front porch extended nearly the entire width of the house beneath the roof’s overhang; two bent-wood rocking chairs sat welcomingly beside the railing. A star-shaped crystal hung from a thread in one of the front windows, catching the slanting sunlight and tossing it at Paul in rainbow-colored glints.
He cruised slowly up the driveway. The front lawn, he noticed, needed watering, but the flower bed abutting the porch was flourishing; red tulips shared the loamy soil with yellow daffodils, and an azalea bush at the far end of the bed was dappled with tiny pink buds. A gnarled crab-apple tree shaded the lawn near a hedge of evergreens. Closer to the driveway stood a dogwood that appeared to be dying. Given his profession, Paul was in the habit of assessing the condition of the plantings at any house he visited.
“Nice place,” he said.
Shane scowled. “I wish it had air conditioning.”
“If you’re tough enough to navigate Pond Road on your bicycle, you’re tough enough to go without air conditioning,” Paul joked, slowing to a halt and turning off the engine.
As Shane shoved open his door, the shadowy figure of a woman materialized at the screened front door of the house. She stepped onto the porch, lifting her hand to shield her eyes from the sun’s glare. “Shane?” she called. “Is that you?”
Paul’s mouth fell open in surprise as he stared at the woman on the porch. She was the schoolteacher, that pompous lady who’d sounded off about militaristic blunders at the town meeting last week. He shouldn’t be so shocked; in a town as small as Northford, people frequently ran into each other in a variety of contexts, but still… Paul hadn’t yet gotten over his resentment of her attack on his memorial, and now here she was, the mother of this nice kid.
If he got out of the truck, would she recognize him and resume the argument where they’d left off last week? Should he throw courtesy to the wind and tell her he thought she had a hell of a nerve trying to block his memorial with the claim that a few Dick-and-Jane readers for the kindergarteners were more important than honoring the young men who’d bled and died so people like her would have the freedom to stand up and sound off at town meetings?
Or should he give her a smile and ask her if she’d like to discuss the memorial over a drink some evening? Sure, she was a mother and, her son’s use of past tense notwithstanding, there was an Alan Ladd fan in the picture somewhere, but…damn, she was pretty.
Her beauty hadn’t registered on Paul at the town meeting—probably because he’d been too focused on the memorial and too angry with her for voicing her opposition to it. She’d been sitting way to his left at the other side of the room, and he’d caught only brief glimpses of her as she’d yammered away on the subject of the underfinanced school library.
Now, however, as she stepped off the porch and approached the truck, he took the opportunity to admire the straight ash-blond hair that dropped past her shoulders, silky and long, and then her fresh face, unadorned by make-up, and her tall, slim body clad in a gauzy white blouse and a denim jumper. After reaching her leather-sandaled feet, he ran his gaze back up again, surveying her slender calves, the curves hinted at beneath the loose folds of her jumper, her graceful arms and finally her face. She had a strong chin like her son’s, elegantly hollow cheeks, a narrow nose, a severe forehead, and glittering hazel eyes as pretty as Shane’s—although, in her case, their effect on Paul was dazzling.
“Shane, what’s going on?” she asked, her gaze flickering from her son to the truck. The slight movement of her head caused her hair to shift, revealing gleaming gold hoop earrings. “Where’s your bike?”
“It got a flat,” the boy said as he jumped down from the seat. “I left it at Matt’s.”
Frowning, the woman turned fully to the truck. “Are you a friend of Matt’s?” she addressed Paul through the open window.
Taking a deep breath, he opened the driver’s door and climbed out. Common decency required that he reassure her that her son had been safe with him. He only hoped that, once she realized who he was, she wouldn’t light into him about the memorial. “I gave Shane a lift,” he said, walking around the front of the truck with his hand outstretched. “Paul Tremaine,” he introduced himself.
She glanced at his hand and then lifted her gaze. Her hazel eyes locked with his, piercing in their clarity, and she smiled thinly and shook his hand. “How do you do?” she said before pivoting back to her son. “How did you happen to get a lift from Mr. Tremaine?”
“I hitched,” he confessed, showing no remorse. “He picked me up.”
“Hitched! Shane, that’s dangerous! How could you? You don’t know who this man is—”
“You told me you and Dad used to hitch all the time when you were my age,” Shane retorted, squaring his shoulders. He stood as tall as his mother, yet he still seemed to be looking up at her.
She planted her hands on her hips. The motion drew Paul’s attention to her fingers. They were long and slim, with clean oval nails. His own hands were soiled with telltale dirt—he’d come upon Shane shortly after delivering a load of yews to one of the new subdivisions in Bolton. He shoved his hands into his pockets so Shane’s mother wouldn’t notice their grimy condition.
Not that she seemed particularly aware of him. “First of all,” she admonished her son, “when your father and I used to hitchhike we were much older than you are now. But more importantly, the world was a different place twenty years ago. There weren’t so many weirdos.”
Shane poked at the driveway’s loose gravel with his toe. “You always say that, but I don’t believe it. I bet there were just as many weirdos then. More, I bet. Anyway, Paul isn’t a weirdo.”
Shane’s mother eyed Paul dubiously. He shrugged and gave what he hoped was a reassuring grin. “I gave him the same speech when I picked him up,” he said.
She almost smiled. “Thanks. For all the good it did,” she added under her breath. Turning back to her son, she said, “If your bike had a flat tire, you should have asked Matt’s mother to give you a ride home.”
“She wasn’t there. She was getting her hair done or something.”
“Then you should have telephoned me. I would have come and picked you up.”
Shane smirked. “Yeah? Well, I knew what’s-his-name was here, and you always tell me not to interrupt you when he’s here.”
What’s-his-name? Paul glanced toward the house as Shane did, and saw that a ruddy-faced young man with bright red hair and a matching beard had emerged onto the porch to observe the mother-son squabble. Whoever he was, he couldn’t be Shane’s father or even his step-father; Shane wouldn’t have called him “what’s-his-name.”
A boyfriend. The kid’s parents must be divorced.
“I’ve always told you not to wake me up earlier than nine o’clock on a weekend,” the woman pointed out to her son. “But if the house was on fire, I certainly hope you’d get me out of bed, regardless of the time. And if you’re stranded all the way across town without a functional bike, Shane, I certainly hope you’ll give me a call.”
“Okay,” Shane grumbled.
“No more hitch-hiking.”
“Okay.” He didn’t sound as if he meant it.
“Now please go do your homework.”
“Haven’t got any.”
The woman looked skeptical, but she didn’t question him further. Giving his shoulder a firm nudge, she angled her head toward the house. “Why don’t you go call Matt and find out if we can pick up your bike after dinner.”
Shane brightened, obviously sensing that his mother was done chewing him out. He loped across the yellowing grass to the front porch, gave a friendly nod to the bearded man, and then bounded inside.
The woman rotated to face Paul. “Thank you for bringing him home in one piece,” she said earnestly.
His hands still in his pockets, he leaned against the front fender of his truck and gave her a leisurely assessment. At first glance, she hadn’t looked old enough to be the mother of an almost-fourteen year old, but when Paul studied her more closely he noticed the faint crow’s-feet fringing the outer corners of her eyes and the permanence of the lines bracketing her mouth. A light breeze tangled through the hair framing her forehead, and he saw a few strands of silver interspersed with the blond. “I didn’t catch your name,” he said.
She moved her lips, as if unsure of whether to introduce herself. But her eyes were unwavering, gloriously radiant. “Bonnie Hudson,” she told him.
He gave her a lopsided grin. “We may as well get acquainted. Know your enemy and all.”
She returned his smile, evidently willing to acknowledge their previous encounter. “We aren’t enemies, Mr. Tremaine. We happen to disagree on the matter of a statue, that’s all.”
He almost blurted out that it wasn’t merely a statue, but rather was his way of atoning, his gift to a universe that had chosen, for whatever reason, to spare him and not others. He had promised to do something for his fallen friends, and he would do it, and no school teacher, no matter how pretty she was, was going to stand in his way.
Instead, he said, “Your son’s a good kid.”
“He’s the best kid in the whole world,” she said, stating it as a simple fact even as her smile widened. “I really appreciate your having brought him home safely. And telling him that hitch-hiking is dangerous. He’s more apt to listen to you than to me.”
“He’s at that age,” Paul commented.
Grinning wistfully, she nodded. Her eyes were a jewel-like mixture of silver and emerald and gold. She smelled like fresh daisies.
“I guess you ought to get back to your guest,” he said, motioning with his head toward the red-haired man on the porch.
She looked at the man, sent him a modest smile, and turned back to Paul. “Thanks again, Mr. Tremaine,” she said, taking a step backward, and then another.
“Paul,” he corrected her.
“Paul,” she echoed, still smiling as she continued toward the porch. “Think about what I said at the town meeting last week. Books are alive. They’re useful. They’re educational. Who ever learned anything from a carved rock?”
Again he checked the impulse to argue with her. If he thought about what she’d said at the town meeting, he’d dwell less on her ardent endorsement of books—he personally had nothing against books—and more on her disparaging remarks about military blunders. Yes, the war had been a mistake, a tragedy, a waste and a folly. But that didn’t diminish the pain it had inflicted on so many people. That didn’t mean that those who carried its scars ought to forget it ever happened.
A carved rock would teach people about the cold, unyielding finality of death. It would stand on the green, a constant presence, reminding people of what wasteful follies too often led to. It would be beautiful and solid and real. He’d make sure of it.
This transplanted teacher from Cambridge wasn’t going to stop him. No matter how attractive he found her, she wasn’t going to change his mind.
“I’M SORRY,” she said to Kevin as she climbed onto the porch and opened the screen door.
He smiled amiably and held the door for her, then followed her inside. “Forget it. Things are bound to crop up when we’re at your house. I don’t mind.”
She entered the living room, sank into the overstuffed cushions of the easy chair, pulled off her shoes and tucked her feet under her. Kevin resumed his seat on the sofa, fussed with his tape recorder and lifted his pencil and pad. Closing her eyes, she tried to remember what they’d been discussing before they’d been interrupted.
All she could think of was Paul Tremaine.
She’d been vaguely aware of the fact that he was handsome when he’d risen to his feet at the town meeting the previous week and made his proposal regarding a Vietnam War Memorial on the green. But she’d paid more attention to his words than to his looks. She’d become indignant when he’d started pandering to the patriotism of those present, waxing sentimental about that ugly war. Of course men had died, and she wasn’t suggesting that anyone forget about them. But the real heroes of that era, to her way of thinking, were those brave men and women who had held fast to their principles and raised their voices in protest, who had dared to stand up to their government and say, “Enough is enough. We refuse to be a part of this war.”
Bonnie wasn’t asking anyone to build a memorial to people like her husband—although, she had to admit, that was more or less what Kevin McCoy was planning to do with his book about Gary Hudson and the Cambridge Manifesto. A book was the perfect memorial, she believed. Let Paul Tremaine write a book about his fallen comrades. That would suit her just fine.
At least that was what she’d thought last week, before Paul had picked up her son and brought him home safely. That was before she’d actually talked to Paul and seen his ruggedly chiseled face, his dark, deep-set eyes, his thick black hair and his surprisingly sensual mouth.
She wasn’t attracted to him. He was a big, tough, macho war hero. Besides, he was probably married, or otherwise attached.
Even so…for all his wrong-headedness, he was a remarkably good-looking man, and she wasn’t above appreciating that.
“We were discussing Tom Schuyler,” Kevin broke into her thoughts.
Bonnie narrowed her gaze on Kevin, who had stopped flipping through his notes and had his pad open to a clean page. Eight years her junior, he was on leave from a staff position at the Boston Globe. It had been his idea to write a book about the Cambridge Manifesto, which had been born of her late husband’s opposition to the Vietnam War. Gary, Tom Schuyler and their associates had organized rallies and demonstrations against the war, had practiced civil disobedience, had counseled undergraduates on ways to evade the draft. When the war finally ended, they’d turned their energies to disarmament issues. Gary had published pamphlets, given lectures around the nation, testified before a Senate committee and written guest columns for newspapers. Some of the people who had known and worked with him said that if he hadn’t died he’d probably be serving in Congress by now.
Bonnie wasn’t so sure of that. Politics was a corrupt enterprise, and Gary had always been ethical in the extreme. Even if he hadn’t gone into politics, however, he would have been serving the country in some way. He’d been a leader in his twenties, and he surely would have continued to be a leader if he were alive today.
But he wasn’t. All that was left were his notes, his successes, a war ended, in large part, because people like him refused to support it. And his son, Shane. And the enduring memories of his widow.
She twisted in her chair to gaze at the framed photographs lined up on the mantel above the fireplace. She herself appeared in some of the photos, an infant Shane in one, Tom Schuyler in a couple and the whole Cambridge crew in one. Gary was in all of them, naturally. She had laughingly told Kevin that the photographs were her shrine to her late husband.
Standing, she crossed to the mantel and pulled down the photos featuring Tom Schuyler. “He was Gary’s most trusted ally,” she told the reporter as she passed him the photos. “He was brilliant. A graduate student in mathematics at M.I.T.”
Kevin studied the photographs for several seconds, then handed them back to her. “You weren’t crazy about him, I take it.”
Bonnie smiled crookedly, surprised that her voice had betrayed her. Placing the photographs back on the mantel, she shrugged. “He was an excellent tactician and a good sounding board for Gary. But personally…I always felt he was a lecher. He was always surrounding himself with groupies.”
“Back in those days,” she explained, reminding herself for not the first time that Kevin was from a different generation than her own, “prominent anti-war activists were idolized just like rock stars. Gary wasn’t interested in groupies, but Tom courted them at every opportunity. When he wasn’t busy hammering out strategies he was bed-hopping and notching his belt.”
Kevin wrote furiously. “And Gary never succumbed to temptation?”
“Gary,” Bonnie said firmly, “loved me as much as I loved him.”
She heard the heavy clomp of footsteps on the stairs and spun away from the mantel, bracing herself for yet another interruption courtesy of Shane. He appeared in the living room doorway, smiling sheepishly. “I just got off the phone with Matt,” he reported. “He says we can come over any time after dinner to pick up the bike.”
“Did you tell him you hitch-hiked home?” Bonnie asked.
His grin expanding, Shane nodded.
“It was a stupid thing to do,” she said, aware that she was nagging but unable to stop. Her anger arose partly from a genuine fear of the tragedies that too often befell youngsters who hitch-hiked nowadays, and partly from the frustration of knowing that the world had changed drastically since her own youth, that strangers could no longer trust each other, that everybody had to practice a certain self-protective paranoia, that life would never be the same as it had been during those idyllic few years when she and Gary had been together, when they’d loved each other and married and had a son, when anything seemed possible if you believed hard enough.
She felt the sting of tears forming in her eyes and averted her face before Shane or Kevin McCoy would notice. Most of the time she was strong; most of the time she didn’t miss Gary in a conscious way. He was a part of her, an eternal flame burning in her memory, and she was content.
But today, as she stared at the photographs of him lining the fireplace shelf, she felt bereft. It wasn’t fair that he’d died and abandoned her. It wasn’t fair that he was smiling in so many of the pictures, when his life would be ending so soon.
It wasn’t fair that, for the first time in the ten years since he’d been killed, Bonnie could look at his pictures and find herself thinking not of him but of the tall, dark-eyed man who wanted to build a monument to everything her husband had abhorred, everything he’d fought against. It wasn’t fair that one brief encounter with Paul Tremaine could make Bonnie so painfully aware of how very alone she was.