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.Maybe, in some ways, they already had.Neither of them had said such a thing to each other.But it was clear they liked being together a very great deal, and they were most certainly linked by the little baby inside her.Nevertheless, there was no way on God’s green earth that Terry was going to ask out of the marriage, no matter how much he enjoyed being with her, and there was no way she was going to ask him to even consider such a thing.If his marriage was over, it was going to have to be his wife who said so.He pulled her close and pressed his nose against hers.We should get you back inside, he murmured.Your nose is as cold as an ice cube.So’s yours.After they had started back she added, It’s funny, but I don’t think I went for a single nighttime walk this fall or winter when I was home.Not one.I used to walk in the afternoons sometimes, when I was done working at the store for the day.But never at night.I wasn’t scared—it’s pretty safe.I just never did it.Pretty safe, maybe.But nothing’s completely safe.Fourteen-year-old girls disappear in broad daylight in Brattleboro, female hikers seem to fall off the face of the earth while they’re on some major trail up on Mount Carmel.I’m glad you didn’t take walks at night alone.You just worry because you see so much.I do.Even on a good day, I’m likely to see some real nasty stuff.And I try and help, but a lot of the time—maybe even most of the time—there’s very little I can do.A gust of wind blew across their path as they walked, swirling the snow around their boots and their knees.It sounded to her a bit like an owl.I imagine you do more than you think.He started to laugh.My dear, I couldn’t even keep my own children safe.Oh, God, Terry, don’t go there.There was no way you could have known your daughters would be in danger that day.I know.Really, I do.But that’s exactly what I mean: Things happen all the time that are completely beyond our control.Even—hard to believe, I know—the control of a sergeant with the Vermont State Police.But at least you try to make things a little safer, a little better.Look at what you tried to do with Alfred.I take no pride in anything I did with or for Alfred.We never connected, and that’s nobody’s fault but my own.You tried.Not very hard.Maybe if I’d gotten him a couple years ago—a couple houses sooner—I could have done something for him.Helped turn him around.Hell, maybe Laura still can.Maybe she has a magic silver bullet I don’t.That wouldn’t surprise me.She was always a great mom.Well, I’ll bet you were an amazing dad with your own girls.I was okay.Maybe even pretty good.But they were amazing kids, too.Even I couldn’t screw them up too badly.She stopped walking, and he paused with her.I have to say something, she began, and this is important.I have enjoyed these last few days a lot.I’ve enjoyed all the times I’ve seen you.But if tomorrow you and Laura figure out that you two should be together, I will be.not unhappy.How’s that for an honest waffle? I will—Phoebe—Look, I’m not being a martyr, she went on, and she took his gloved hands in hers.I believe you’d be as good a father as my baby—our baby—could ever have.And, at least when we’re naked, we certainly seem to have a lot in common.But I just found myself actually worrying about your lunch tomorrow, and that’s not a good place to be.It’s not good for me, it’s not good for you.She felt the wind whipping her bangs into her eyes, and she hoped it was only the cold that was making them start to water.What I’m trying to say, she said, before her voice broke abruptly and she was crying and he was pulling her against his chest.What I’m trying to say.Shhh, he murmured, shhh, and he pressed one index finger, still sheathed in its leather glove, against her lips.If she’d finished the sentence, she thought, her mind muddled by tears, she would have said, What I’m trying to say is I want you to break this thing we have off because I’m selfish and I haven’t the strength to do it myself.But she realized she was too weak to even verbalize the idea, much less push him away and end their affair.“It wasn’t until this winter that I even realized I was lonely.It may have been the presence of these tiny Indian girls, but the fact I have nieces and nephews in Philadelphia I’ve never met has begun to trouble me more than ever.”SERGEANT GEORGE ROWE,TENTH REGIMENT, UNITED STATES CAVALRY,LETTER TO HIS BROTHER IN PHILADELPHIA,MARCH 15, 1877LauraThe barracks were within a mile and a half of the county animal shelter on Route 7, but because they were to the south of the building, she never had to pass the site where Terry would usually begin and end his shift.She knew that he, however, had to pass the Humane Society at least twice a day, since he was staying out at the Labarge family’s winterized camp on Lake Champlain.The reality, of course, was that he probably drove by the shelter considerably more often than that: Much of his district spread out to the north, and both the courthouse and the state’s attorney’s office were in that direction [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]