I want to be sympathetic but Esther makes it hard, she’s such a complaining whiny gossip. My father calls her a yenta, a fishwife, not complimentary terms. She’s his youngest sister, you could argue that because of circumstances she has the fewest chances to make a success of life, she lives with her father until his death, single, keeps house for him long after everyone else moves on. She is smart of course, all of them are smart. Early on she finds a good job as office manager for an import company owned by Irwin and a second job as Irwin’s mistress. The problem is, Irwin has an invalid wife and an institutionalized son so can’t get divorced he says, he tells Esther she needs to patiently wait, she is young after all. She is young at the beginning, anyway.
Irwin promises the family that all will be made right when his wife dies, could be any time you know, and he is half-heartedly accepted, comes to Passover dinner, bar mitzvahs, other people’s weddings. He and Esther never move in together but they look like an ordinary couple otherwise, just if you are a kid like me it’s better to stay far away from Irwin, he wants you to sit on his lap and kiss him.
Irwin’s wife eventually dies, Esther is in her 40’s by then, looking a bit haggard. And wouldn’t you know it, Irwin has an epiphany, he wants to marry a different woman, one half Esther’s age. He wants a baby, a son and Esther unfortunately has wasted her child bearing years and now cannot provide.
Esther lives alone in her rent controlled apartment in the Village until her death. Her brother and sisters predecease her, but their children visit from time to time, put up with her shrillness because what else can you do at this point, old age is unfortunately not a cure for a bad personality.