Sarah was glad that she hadn't actually been born in Lynn itself. To her, the place always smelt of sin and vice, badly plastered over, under a thin, cracked veneer of New England sanctimoniousness. Her coming had been premature and dangerous, and had almost taken place in the back of a one horse buggy. But her mother had gotten out of the vehicle and staggered to the side of the road, almost into the dark grabbing woods of that part of Essex County.
3rd January,1896. Cold, that time of the year. Years later, Ma couldn't even remember why they were travelling that day, where they had been going to, where they had been. She had just wanted to get out, maybe. The odd yearning of a pregnant woman. Sarah had inherited her mother's moods. They had come down strong from the Tarbox side of the family. Pa hadn't been there, nor her big sister Maude, just Ma, Uncle John Tarbox, and Aunt Jenny Tarbox, names Pa always seemed to wince at.
Pa was like Maude, despite their many, many differences over the years. Strong, positive, cheerful, quick to anger, but equally quick to forgive and forget. Well, except for the thing. The doctor thing. Pa just got angrier about it, Ma Brooded on it. With Maude gone to medical school, Sarah was left behind to get sucked into the negative atmosphere of the house in Lynn more and more.
Frank had offered a way out, she supposed. Maybe she was remembering it all wrong. The mind played tricks like that. Florida, sunny Florida, and a baby on the way! That was the dream, or Frank's dream at least: no more brooding dark woodlands; no more old, old houses with terrible secrets to tell, no more brooding grey-green sea. They had gone all the way down to Miami, as far, far away as the map would let them. But she had brought that dull, brooding grey-green sea with her, and even in the brightly lit mimosa and Spanish moss of this sunny realm, she was able to discern the dark shadows of the wintry, New England woods.
Now Frank was gone, the baby was gone, and they told her she needed to rest. To recuperate. And for some reason Maude was here, too. She couldn't really understand why. It was like a dream. No Frank, no baby, no Ma, no Pa. Just her and Maude, in Florida. It was too exhausting to think about, She would go and sleep a while, a deep dreamless sleep.