When I move back to Vermont and settle into the red house, I call my mother and am so happy that she does not hold a grudge, that she will pretend to forget the bad terms we left on. Now my mother never actually forgets anything bad that I’ve done, she remembers when I was four and lost my shovel at the beach and told her not to worry, daddy would buy me a new one. And she remembers when I was 11 and left my purse on the subway. And she remembers when Peter hit me as we were leaving their apartment, she was craning her neck out the fourth floor window to wave goodbye and caught us in an antagonistic moment. She brings all these things up from time to time, my father just shakes his head and says if only you knew, but at least for the moment, and actually for almost ever after we are on good terms. They even visit Vermont, chat with the group, take Susie and me out to dinner at Rene’s Diner, send care packages like I am in camp. Everyone in the red house loves them.
My parents are drawn to Karl immediately. They hate Peter, of course, and don’t think much of Stephen either. Victory by contrast I call it.