Acting Out

By Benilde Little

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"Ina West grew up independent and solitary, raised by an artistic, unavailable mother and a reliable, loving father. As a twenty-something photographer, Ina landed in Manhattan's bohemian art scene after college, at the same time that she started dating the devoted, hardworking Jay Robinson. When her mother's mental state began to deteriorate, her closest cousin became dangerously ill, and her free artist's lifestyle put her in some vulnerable situations, Ina found comfort in Jay's trajectory into the safe, privileged world of the African-American upper middle class. Forsaking her independence and creativity for the joys of family life and material wealth, she married Jay, had three children, and moved to the suburbs; gradually, Ina gave herself completely to motherhood and the upkeep of their increasingly luxurious lifestyle. And they had it all: the SUV, the lavish home, the expensive but casual wardrobe. Then one day, after twelve years, Jay comes home from work and announces that he's leaving."
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