Always by Nicola Griffith

By Nicola Griffith

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It’s night. You’re waiting at a MARTA station. You’re the only one on the platform, and the train’s late. Imagine that. ” Most women learned very young how to play the roles expected of them. Girls’ games were built on the notion: play Mom, play nurse, play teacher. They played and played and played until they learnt to inhabit the roles. Pauletta started looking up and down the imaginary train line, rising onto her toes, then rocking back onto her heels. She put her hands on her hips, sighed in exasperation.

Her throat moved strongly as she swallowed, but she moved just a fraction more slowly than I expected. She watched me as she crushed her bottle— she wasn’t wearing gloves now; her fingers were short and powerful—then picked up the large triangular knife and turned back to her chopping board. I couldn’t tell what she was cutting. Sometime in the last half an hour she had retied her hair. ” I said. Her chopping didn’t miss a beat. ” Chop, chop, chop. ” 44 N I C O L A G R I F F I T H Now she turned around.

The caterer tipped her head back and finished her water. Her throat moved strongly as she swallowed, but she moved just a fraction more slowly than I expected. She watched me as she crushed her bottle— she wasn’t wearing gloves now; her fingers were short and powerful—then picked up the large triangular knife and turned back to her chopping board. I couldn’t tell what she was cutting. Sometime in the last half an hour she had retied her hair. ” I said. Her chopping didn’t miss a beat. ” Chop, chop, chop.

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