"I just wish," she sighs, "I just wish you would come to your senses. I know you think she's been good to you but you don't really know what that means. You have no--understanding of who you are, what you could be--and it makes me so sad. I just wish you would wake up one morning and realize that she's your enemy, Babe. Your enemy, because she's holding you back."

Babe smiles politely and not altogether coldly. "You may by all means dream your dreamy dreams, Constance, but the fact remains that this is none of your concern."

Constance rises with such abruptness that her chair clatters to the floor. "It's time," she says between clenched teeth.

Babe rises more tentatively. "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."

"You wouldn't recognize my feelings if they crawled out of your vagina singing "The Star-Spangled Banner"--in falsetto."

"Of course I would."

"Move!"

"What about the dishes?"

"Leave them!"

Constance is angry. She could have gone to Radcliffe and instead she stayed at Girls School for this, this torment and this ridiculous girl. But then she wonders, as Babe precedes her down the hallway, could she have found at Radcliffe such a pair of shoulders, such a pair of legs, such everything? She looks down at the nape of Babe's neck: she always wants to touch her, to fondle without breaking the delicacy that conceals Babe's strange, unknowable heart. Constance thinks of all the hours she's spent fantasizing about her advances evoking feeble, incoherent, swiftly-interrupted protests from Babe: surely this was educational, a lesson in trusting to the work of time. Constance regrets nothing.


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