The Last Time I Saw You
A NoveleBook - 2010
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After Dorothy hangs up, she inspects herself in the mirror again. She’s going to have lunch with her daughter, and Hilly can be very critical. Honest, she calls it, and it is honest, Dorothy supposes, but it’s also barbed-wire critical.
of course he remembers Mary Alice. One of the uncool nerds, like him. Kids used to be pretty mean to her. He remembers a time a group of jocks made catcalls after her as she walked down the hall. He’d wanted to defend her – what was the _point_ in that kind of cruelty? – but hesitated out of fear of being attacked himself. But then he saw that she didn’t seem in need of being defended: she’d held her head high and walked steadily on, seemingly impervious to their taunting. And there that knot of thick-necked boys stood: utterly ignored, suddenly looking sort of foolish.
Imagine if, when they were kids, they’d gone on and on over health concerns, their measles and mumps, their skinned knees and broken wrists and cavities. _Yeah, I was really worried about a staph infection with that skinned knee!_ Or _Broken wrist, man alive, what a problem. I have to write with my left hand! I can’t take a bath! Can’t play volleyball! What will_ happen _to me?_ No. They did not complain when they were kids, with rare exception. They just went on with their temporary ailments, waiting to get right again. They got their casts signed and made it fun!
He’s known men like Candy’s husband seems to be, and the kindest thing he can say about them is that he will never understand them, the way they deny themselves happiness and contentment because of a kind of stinginess and general obstinacy toward their wives, if not a weird sort of hatred. He thinks that such men feel there is a pattern of behavior that must be adhered to during courtship; after that, the onus is on the woman – and the woman alone – to please.
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