Excerpt of After This by Alice McDermott
(Page 4 of 4)
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The banging at the door was his excuse to turn awaysome people had their
coats in thereand while he stood with his back to her she dressed again and
unlocked the door and walked out. She smiled at the taunts and jeers of her
friends and when someone asked, Wheres Mike? she said, I think I killed
him, which got a great laugh.
Mike Shea became a medic during the war and was now married, working for
Pfizer. To this day he cant look at her straight. To this day she cant quite
convince herself that the sin was as grave as it seemed. (She thought, in fact,
of telling the priest as he whispered his furious admonitions that she weighed
barely a hundred pounds and was as thin as a boy and if he would adjust his
imagination accordingly and see the buds of her breasts and her flat stomach and
the bony points of her hips, he would understand that even buck naked, her body
was not made for mortal sin.)
She cant quite convince herself, these ten years later, that anything at all
like it will happen to her again.
She finished her sandwich, gave an extra quarter to the waitress, who also
wore no wedding band, and headed back into the breach.
Excerpted from After This by Alice McDermott. Copyright © 2006 by Alice
McDermott. Published in September 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All