Đây là phần tiếp theo của truyện the Notebook. Trong phần sequel này, bà Allie đã mất, cụ Noah sống một mình trong viện dưỡng lão, ngày ngày ra bờ hồ nuôi một con thiên nga mà ông tin là Allie hóa thân. Nhưng câu truyện này không phải kể về Allie và Noah nữa, mà là một câu chuyện tình nhẹ nhàng khác giữa Jane và Wilson, con gái và con rể của ông bà Noah-Allie.
Sau 30 năm chung sống, luật sư Wilson chợt nhận ra ông vẫn còn yêu bà nhưng năm tháng gia đình, những khó khăn con cái, niềm đam mê sự nghiệp đã khiến ông xao lãng bà. Và giờ đây ông nhận ra ông còn yêu Jane nhiều lắm nhưng bà hình như đã cạn hết tình yêu cho ông. Và Wilson quyết tâm sẽ làm mọi cách để lấy lại tình yêu nơi Jane. Giữa lúc đó Anne, con gái lớn của 2 người tuyên bố sẽ kết hôn, mà ngày cưới rơi đúng vào kỷ niệm 30 năm đám cưới của ông bà.
Câu chuyện rất nhẹ nhàng, mang đậm hương vị gia đình. Đứa em tôi có nói: dường như giá trị gia đình lại quay về trong văn học Mỹ. Có lẽ đúng. Một lúc nào đó, sau những tham vọng thăng tiến, con người ta sẽ tự đánh giá lại cuộc đời mình và hạnh phúc gia đình và tình yêu sẽ quay về cho những ai quý mến nó.
What happened then, you wonder?
Given my age, a person might suppose that it was some incident inspired by a midlife crisis. A sudden desire to change my life, perhaps, or maybe a crime of the heart. But it was neither of those things. No, my sin was a small one in the grand scheme of things, an incident that under different circumstances might have been the subject of a humorous anecdote in later years. But it hurt her, it hurt us, and thus it is here where I must begin my story.
It was August 23, 2002, and what I did was this: I rose and ate breakfast, then spent the day at the office, as is my custom. The events of my workday played no role in what came after; to be honest, I can’t remember anything about it other than to recall that it was nothing extraordinary. I arrived home at my regular hour and was pleasantly surprised to see Jane preparing my favorite meal in the kitchen. When she turned to greet me, I thought I saw her eyes flicker downward, looking to see if I was holding something other than my briefcase, but I was empty-handed. An hour later we ate dinner together, and afterward, as Jane began collecting the dishes from the table, I retrieved a few legal documents from my briefcase that I wished to review. Sitting in my office, I was perusing the first page when I noticed Jane standing in the doorway. She was drying her hands on a dish towel, and her face registered a disappointment that I had learned to recognize over the years, if not fully understand.
“Is there anything you want to say?” she asked after a moment.
I hesitated, aware there was more to her question than its innocence implied. I thought perhaps that she was referring to a new hairstyle, but I looked carefully and her hair seemed no different from usual. I’d tried over the years to notice such things. Still, I was at a loss, and as we stood before each other, I knew I had to offer something.
“How was your day?” I finally asked.
She gave a strange half smile in response and turned away.
I know now what she was looking for, of course, but at the time, I shrugged it off and went back to work, chalking it up as another example of the mysteriousness of women.
Later that evening, I’d crawled into bed and was making myself comfortable when I heard Jane draw a single, rapid breath. She was lying on her side with her back toward me, and when I noticed that her shoulders were trembling, it suddenly struck me that she was crying. Baffled, I expected her to tell me what had upset her so, but instead of speaking, she offered another set of raspy inhales, as if trying to breathe through her own tears. My throat tightened instinctively, and I found myself growing frightened. I tried not to be scared; tried not to think that something bad had happened to her father or to the kids, or that she had been given terrible news by her doctor. I tried not to think that there might be a problem I couldn’t solve, and I placed my hand on her back in the hope that I could somehow comfort her.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
It was a moment before she answered. I heard her sigh as she pulled the covers up to her shoulders.
“Happy anniversary,” she whispered.
Twenty-nine years, I remembered too late, and in the corner of the room, I spotted the gifts she’d bought me, neatly wrapped and perched on the chest of drawers.
Quite simply, I had forgotten.
I make no excuses for this, nor would I even if I could. What would be the point? I apologized, of course, then apologized again the following morning; and later in the evening, when she opened the perfume I’d selected carefully with the help of a young lady at Belk’s, she smiled and thanked me and patted my leg.
Sitting beside her on the couch, I knew I loved her then as much as I did the day we were married. But in looking at her, noticing perhaps for the first time the distracted way she glanced off to the side and the unmistakably sad tilt of her head-I suddenly realized that I wasn’t quite sure whether she still loved me.