Free Women 5

UK Edition
US Edition


Previous page
with comments


See all


Next page
with comments


‘All the same, you should have. Because now we’re going to have to spend a lot of energy on not disliking each other.’

‘But I don’t dislike you.’ They were very fond of each other, sad, and friendly and close, like people who had been married to each other for twenty years.

He was there five days with her, sleeping in her bed at night.

On the sixth day, she said, ‘Milt, I want you to stay with me.’ She said it in parody, a kind of angry self-punishing parody, and he said, smiling and rueful: ‘Yeah, I know it’s time to move on. It’s time I moved on. But why do I have to, why do I have to?’

‘Because I want you to stay.’

‘Why can’t you take it? Why not?’ His spectacles glinted anxiously, his mouth was carefully amused, but he was pale, and his forehead glinted with sweat. ‘You’ve got to take us on, you’ve got to, don’t you know that? Don’t you see it’s all much worse for us than it is for you? I know you are bitter for yourselves and you’re right, but if you can’t take us on now, and see us through it…’

‘And the same to you,’ said Anna.

‘No. Because you’re tougher, you’re kinder, you’re in a position to take it.’

‘You’ll find another well-tempered woman in the next city.’

‘If I’m lucky.’

‘And I hope you are.’

‘Yes, I know you do. I know it. And thank you … Anna, I’m going to beat it. You’ve every reason to think that I won’t. But I shall. I know I shall.’

‘Then good luck,’ said Anna, smiling.

Before he left, they stood in the kitchen, both near tears, reluctant to make the break.

‘You aren’t going to give in, Anna?’

‘Why not?’

‘It would be a pity.’

‘And besides, you might want to drop in again sometime for a night or two.’

‘All right. You are entitled to say that.’

‘But next time I’ll be occupied. For one thing, I’m getting a job.’

‘Oh don’t tell me, let me guess. You’re going to do social work? You’re going to - let me think it out for myself - you’re going to be a psychiatric social worker or teach school or something like that?’

‘Something like that.’

‘We all come to it.’

‘You, however, will be saved from it because of your epic novel.’

‘Unkind, Anna, unkind.’

‘I don’t feel kind. I’d like to shout and scream and break everything down.’

Free Women 5

UK Edition
US Edition


What is this?

You last read


You last bookmarked


Bookmark currentBookmarked!
Page 500