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1957_03_02--026_SP [Love Dies Slowly]

26 By EILEEN TIGHE Some women cling desperately to memories, as if asking for heartache. It h ad been raining for ten long days, a steady, relentless downpour th at dampened the human spirit as well as the good brown earth. One dreary day followed another with monotonous regularity. T he river looked black and threa tening and the hedges along its banks were hardly visible through the heavy mist. Even the small ferryboat that crossed from shore to shore had disappeared from sight, but its foghorn tooted eerily all through the day and night. I was working in my studio, an upstairs room with a view of the river and its far shore, when I heard the front door open unceremoniously and close with a shattering bang. “ Chip!” I called. “ Haven’t I asked you not to use the front door?” “ It’s raining, Maggie.” “ I know, dear. T h a t’s why I want you to come in the back way.” “ Roger,” said Chip. “ Over.” “ Please don’t track up the house. I ’ve just finished straightening it.” “ Roger. Anything to eat?” “ Sandwiches in the pantry. Milk and soda pop in the refrigerator.” “Mille grade,” said Chip. “ Tatcha lubia.” I went back to my drawing board and the sketches I was doing for a new children’s book. My son walked into the studio nibbling on a three-decker peanut-butter sandwich and drinking his pop from the bottle. His bright hair was wet with rain, but it was as rebellious as ever. He was growing so fast that nothing seemed to fit him. There was always a space around his ankles and his wrists that re trained uncovered. “ Are you still working on that silly old book?” he asked. “ I ’m working on five hundred silly old dollars,” I replied. His eyes clouded. They were very expressive eyes, full of joy or sadness or wonderment or laughter. He had the fair hair and skin and the chiseled features of his grandfather, but the great dark eyes were strictly his own. They had a disturbing way of looking straight through you and of always seeking the truth. He came over and put an ice-cold pop-bottle hand on my shoulder. “ I love you, Maggie,” he said. “ I wish you did n ’t have to work so h a rd .” He was so sincere and so very young and vulnerable th at I longed to p ut my arms around him. But he was growing up and he didn’t like to be babied. “ I love you, too, darling,” I said, “ and I’m a very fortunate woman. I have a wonderful son and work to do th a t I enjoy. By the way, did you see the lunch box in the pantry?” He nodded. “ I thought you might like to take it down to your friend, Aristotle. It must be difficult to navigate a ferryboat in this fog.” “ It’s spooky,” said Chip. “Aristotle says that fog is celestial, but I don’t agree. I t’s unearthly all right, but it’s not divine. I t’s cold and clammy, and it wraps itself around you and blots you out of sight. It’s not like flying through a cloud. It’s more like vanishing into a vacuum.” “ Sounds like a good idea for a composition.” “ I wrote one on it last week and Mr. O ’H a ra told me today th a t it may win a prize. He was in Jap an , Maggie. When we were there.” “ Is that so?” My son gave me a long, searching look. “ He said he met you once in Lisbon and once in Singapore. He said you might not remember him, but he’d like to come over and talk to you. He asks me about you all the time.” I remembered Mike O ’Hara very well. He was a brilliant, charming, supercharged correspondent; a romantic type who got into trouble with a colonel’s wife. I was surprised when I heard he was Reaching at Bolton, because he was a really gifted journalist and his father owned a chain of New England newspapers. “ I remember him. Chip.” I said, “ but I’m not ready for people yet.” (Continued on Page 87) Illu stra ted by Jo e De Mers


1957_03_02--026_SP [Love Dies Slowly]
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