Sun day

Nov 9, 2008

Folded letter pressed between two pages:

Dear lady,

You challenged me to find something I liked about this city, even loved. Very well then, I like you. I like your temper and your nerve. I like your hypocrisy, to say that you are a gentlewoman of every grace and then speak so to men as you do. I would not say I love it, no, but to challenge me to think differently and act differently because you say it is wise, when I have not known you to stake out any position you have not found in a book somewhere or stolen from your husband’s words – yes, I like that. I like that a great deal. I like to think I have treated your family well in your unusual circumstances, but really, my dear. Have mercy. I have only so much time and patience for strange conversations. I do have other things to do, you must know that.

You said, very wittily, that I could not object too strongly to the city and the people, if I intended to stay. You mistake me. I do not intend to stay, not beyond my season. I intend to finish, and then I have my own work – a place much beloved to me. There I find all the things in the world to love, as I told you briefly in a previous missive. Our gorges and heights may have none of your sophistication, but they are home. I cannot imagine thinking of this place as home – what a poisonous feeling that must be!

You said your husband would not be staying these missives, quite as if it should be normal that he do so. Your complacency in the face of his control I do not understand even a little, given his nature and your fire. You certainly do not stay your tongue with me. Why so silent with him? I dread to think.

For a while I did wonder if these missives were even in your hand, since a wife and children did not seem to suit his new position, and your husband is a man much suited to expediency. Only recently have I been convinced that you continue, and it pleases me. I am certain that you will make your husband’s life more pleasant and more reasonable.

You asked about my definition of evil, and of things that are necessary and good. I truly wish to respond, but time presses. I shall save that for a rainier day. I apologize for my brevity. I will say, in brief, that I do not consider your husband good, and that I cannot say that I have met a genuinely good man. Call me a cynic if you will. I simply do not think our world allows it.

Finally, you asked if I had children, and if I would act differently if I did. I do not have children. I am also not married. I cannot say that I have never loved, but it does not sway me in the way that you seem to think it would. It seems of better virtue to reach for a more just world for my beloveds to live in than to protect them by being a part of this world. My little vanity.

Very sincerely,

A friend

I do not think I am a hypocrite. I do not, however, know how I would tell. I do not think hypocrites know their own minds. Dri’s letter disturbs me, but I am happy to be disturbed. It gives me something to think about as I sew.

Meyni fainted today. Her husband came to me for what to do, and I told him to summon a healer. Silliness. He is obedient, at least. Sev has his new routine, and is home often enough to please me. He is irregular. The children are recovering the noise and fretfulness that the funeral and wake took from them. I like them better this way, I think. They are less like ghosts.

All this talk of dead children has me unsettled. I suppose I should consider myself hopelessly jaded if it were any different.

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