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Woman's home companion
Vol. LXIV, No. 6 (1937)

[Continued articles and works],   pp. 90-[104] PDF (9.8 MB)

Page 90

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Working for many thousands of
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in sterilized
Woman's Home Companion June 1937
Peter looked at her somberly.
Without admitting it to himself
he felt the clarity of her words.
"'All this year," he said miserably,
"I thought you were happy and
finding what you wanted."
"Peter, all this year seemed like
a lark. Don't you understand? I
can't get free of my old life. I
can't stop waking up at night and
remembering who I am."
'' Look here, Pat, this isn't
speech day at school. This is all
real. It's happening."
'I know it, Peter."
'I can't chuck this job. I see
now I should have talked it over
with vou first, but I thought of
course-well anvhow it's too late
''As if I'd let you give it up!"
"Arid I won't ask you to go for
my sake. If you come it s got to
be because you want to."
"I can't want to, Peter. I can't
have any reasons of my own."
\ THERE was a silence while
r   rhey both racked their bewil-
dered minds, trying to realize what
had happened and trying in vain to
remember how it had happened.
Then Peter asked, " And w'here
does that leave us?"
'It leaves me here," Pat said.
Peter said, ''All right," and
turned abruptly away. He looked
around the room, noticing it for
the first time. He wanted to re-
member the place where Pat would
be living. "This is a swell room,'
he said. ''Just the kind of room I
Patricia looked around the room
too and wondered how Peter
could have mentioned it. Didn't
he know what she'd been feeling
while she'd worked making it the
kind of room he liked? Didn't he
know how she felt about staying
in it alone?
She walked across the room and
said, ''Peter.'' He continued to
look at the meaningless titles.
Patricia sat down on the floor
in front of him with her back to
the books. Then Peter had to look
at her. He Suiioned a smile and
said, ''Oh, there vou are.'
Patricia said, '"There's not much
more time.
'No,'' Peter agreed. ''I sUp-
pose I might pack."
' You might. But just bags-I
haven't touched the trunks v'et.
Bags wouldn't fill in the time.
And there's so much to say.''
'Too much," Peter said. "I
can't even begin."
' Please beg ini."
Peter summoned his scattered
thoughts and said, ''I suppose
you'll visit y'our father a lot?''
I suppose I shall."
"And after a while you'll begin
staying, and start visiting the
" I don't know, Peter. Maybe.'
"You will.    You can   take
whisky away from the old man
and he can take your temperature.
A good time will be had by all."
Patricia was wondering what
sort of life she could possibly sub-
stitute for Peter. Without him-
"And when I go back for you,''
Peterwas saying humoriessly, ''the
old man can shoot at me again."
"Will you come back for me,
' Always, Pat.'
Patricia said, "Darling."
"I'll keep coming back for
you," Peter promised. ''After a
while I'll get better at it, maybe."
" Peter!''
Peter looked up, startled at the
lilt in Patricia's voice. She knelt
up suddenly and rested her arus
on his chair and stared at himii.
'Peter," she said soleinly,
"I've got some news for you.
Two years ago if you'd gone to
China you'd have been led on to
India, and in India you'd proba-
blv have thought of something
you wanted to do in Africa, and
\on might never have come back.
But yotu wouldn't do that now,
would vou? You'd think about
me too much, and want to see me
too nuch, wouldn't vou?'"
"Of course,'' Peter said.
'Then you're not free! The
minute you want to see someone,
you've lost your freedom. YoU
wouldn't keep coming back for me
if you didn't need me."
Peter struck manfully at hope
with his principles: ''But I'll go
on being myself and doing things
like this. I'll go on thinking peo-
ple ought to live their own lives
and not anyone else's, so w\,here
does that leave us?''
$   PATRICIA stared at the floor
and said, ''That leaves us right
where we were when we started.
I need vou and 'ou don't need me.
I'm terrified at the thought of be-
ing  without -'ou.  It'll be  living
in a dark world where all the col-
ors are garish and music is noise
and evervthing I do wvihl be just
something that had to be done."
There was a moment's silence
before Peter leaned forvard look-
Ing into her eyes. " What about
me?'' he asked. " Darlig, I'd never
laugh so happily, I'd never do such
crazY thin gs without You."
"Wouldn't voi, Peter?''
"Colors wouldn't have any
color in them and Music would
make me sick, and whenev'er I'L
finished doing any'thing interest-
ing I'd want to tell \'ou about it."
He reached out in alarm as Patri-
cia jumped up. " Where are you
"Me?'' Patricia laughed. Poor
Tony! Being a best friend was go-
ing to cause him several busy days.
'I'm going to China."
" Not for my' sake!''
Patricia looked down at him.
" No," she said. 'Of course not."
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