Marjorie sat at the small round table by the window looking out toward Eva’s grey bungalow across the Indian grass field. The sun was bright and she shielded her eyes. It was three in the afternoon, and for the fifth time in so many days Eva had not come over to visit and while away the hours before Clifford came home. Eva had even gone so far as to yesterday around two thirty walk over on the path through the field and go up and knock on Eva’s door, but there had been no answer. She had also tried Eva’s phone, but again, there had been no answer. So she sat at the small round table nursing her Coca-Cola and wondering what could have become of Eva; worrying, as a matter of fact; where would Eva have gone for a whole week, especially without Clifford. Clifford’s truck had shown up each afternoon after work as usual and Marjorie saw him go into the house just like always. But there was no Eva. Now, at three o’clock on a Friday, Marjorie gripped her soda and relived Eva’s last visit as she tried to make sense of all this. It had been a visit that ended badly. Eva had more to drink than usual and said some ugly things and ended up in tears.
The visit had begun calmly enough. Eva drank her vodka and Marjorie her brandy.
Marjorie, I don’t know what it is about men, you know? had said Eva.
Eva waved her cigarette in the air making a snaky trail of smoke as Marjorie answered.
What do you mean? What about men? What’s to know? They’re pretty simple.
Eva waved the cigarette again as she said Hell, no, there’s nothing simple about them. What makes you think they’re so simple?
Marjorie sipped at her brandy and looked into space.
Hm. That’s a good question. I don’t really know why I said that. As I think about it, they’re pretty complex. They want big jobs, power, they want to own women and they want big houses, meals on the table, sex, good clothes, good cars. They want freedom too.
Freedom? said Eva. Freedom for what?
Freedom to come and go as they please. To do as they please, when they want it.
Marjorie had thought of another thing men want, but did not say it to Eva; men want to have sons. Since Eva was not able to have any children, Marjorie was sensitive to this, and said nothing. Marjorie had been able to bear Clark. Though her husband had died in the war before he could enjoy his son, she had been able to at least give him one. She often thought about how different her life might have been if her husband had lived. She treasured the pictures of Eddie she had from before he went away to Vietnam and she thought to ask Eva a question.
(End of Excerpt)