She was not imaginative enough to associate any other meaning with the words. She watched a television news show about a famous singer whose daughter had tracked her down after forty years. The famous singer seemed happy to have been found, and the two sat with their arms around each other and took long walks on the bluffs above the ocean, hand in hand. The women’s intimacy made Vivian uncomfortable. Her own mother’s kisses were dry, soft things, her hugs unassertive and prudent, as if she didn’t want to cause Vivian any harm. There was a moment during the show when the two women looked...
to the bottom of the document offering her opinion of the interviewed couple. No one asked for her advice, but she felt compelled to give it since a life was at stake. Mostly she felt the couples should be allowed to adopt, because whatever flaws they had were no worse than the flaws of people who could have children effortlessly, even thoughtlessly, and she knew that children could survive almost anything.
“Some people don’t test well,” the man said. “Is that it?” His voice was louder, as if he were seated again. The director told them that it wasn’t a test. “Sure it is,” the man said. “Everything is a test.”
The way he said this made her feel dismissed. She wanted to correct him. She wanted to be able to change her mind, wanted him to change her mind. Although he seemed to have convictions, he had the same careless quality as Shelly, a confidence that allowed them both to ride along above the dismal concerns of everyone else. Why did she care so much? Her care felt like a disfigurement, something that made it necessary for people like Shelly and Toby to distance themselves from her. Her care felt like something that would drag down the progress of human development. It made her an awkward, embarrassing...