She had no doubts. Her corner of the world was perfect.

More chapters from ToxiCity

A VG Serial: ToxiCity

Episode 32

Theirs wasn’t the first house to be finished—more like the sixth or seventh—but finally, it was time to move. Maggie had sent out change of address cards months before; she was anxious to leave the old neighborhood. A seductively warm spring day, the kind that hinted at a lush summer ahead, the move went smoothly, even though Greg was in Texas on a haul.

Maggie wandered from room to room admiring the new appliances, freshly painted walls, and new floors. The sparkling white kitchen was equipped with a dishwasher and garbage disposal; no more rust stains in the sink. A skylight let the sunshine flood in; they had central air, too. Gone were the sweaty summer nights where you couldn’t get cool until four in the morning. There were three bathrooms, too. One for everyone in the house. She sank her feet into a thick, spongy pile of wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room. Everything in the house gleamed.

Her relatives and friends couldn’t believe her good fortune, and Maggie loved seeing them “ooh” and “ahh.” Even Greg invited friends to visit when he was home. They came down from Milwaukee or Minneapolis, Maggie wasn’t sure which. A few of them had been in ‘Nam, and they talked about the war, the government, and the future. The house was filled with beer, cigarettes, and laughter.

Even though he wasn’t around much, Greg refused to let Maggie work. He told her to take up tennis. Or aerobics. Have Dusty join Cub Scouts, play soccer. She’d met her new neighbors, and there were several families with small children, but Greg’s absence left a hole in her heart. At least, when he was there, she let him know how important he was. She wasn’t surprised when she got pregnant.

It was an easy pregnancy, and she was thrilled when she delivered another boy the next winter. Timothy James, TJ for short, smiled from the beginning. He slept through the night at three weeks, and he only cried when he was wet or tired. Even Dusty seemed to like his new brother and kept asking Maggie when he’d be old enough to play catch.

Now there was a beautiful baby to go with the beautiful house. On Friday nights when “Dallas” came on, Maggie would bounce TJ on her lap to the beat of the theme song. As she watched JR and Sue Ellen’s lives self-destruct, she realized she was no longer jealous. And when Bobby kept screwing up his marriage to Pam, Maggie would shake her head in pity. Her corner of the world was perfect.

Episodes in the novel will be published on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Please click the following title,ToxiCity, to read more about Libby Fischer Hellman’s books on Amazon.

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