Here's another section of Connie. It's back story. As a standalone blog post, there isn't much depth. But as part of the story, it works as a quiet section. More Richard tomorrow.
The idea for X came to me complete and fully formed after watching all three Back to the Future movies. I was nine months pregnant, the weather was hot and dry, and the sunset was a burning pyre in the kitchen window through which I could make out the shadowy outlines of Portland's tallest buildings. I could no longer eat or drink or sleep.
It materialized like a constellation of stars. I knew instantly what it was and why it would work, although I couldn't explain where it had come from. One moment it wasn't there and the next it was. I sketched the equation as my water broke and the salty aquarium inside me flooded the kitchen floor.
I spent the next eight years writing grants and more grants, most of which passed me by. All I needed was one. I suffered through part-time jobs and academic appointments, pointless research for other scientists and countless students with their own petty agendas.
Each day I dropped Jennifer at a little pink house and retrieved her each night. In between those time posts, I wasn't a mother or a wife. I was a needle carrying an invisible thread, raising stitch after stitch until someone, somewhere, could see what I saw.
My marriage dwindled to two separate trenches in our futon mattress. My husband found a girlfriend. As he packed his bags, I calculated the impact of losing him. No loss, really. To my work. That was the week I made the first cut for the National Research Foundation's two-year grant. A month later, I had the money in hand and hired Sal. I don't recall thinking about Jim after that except on weekends, when he had Jennifer.
So X was worth, approximately, eight years of time, one marriage, my academic credibility, the lives of 2,548 white mice, and now Sal.