The loud wailing hit me again. Keep him away from
the front, Jason warned T.P., or God knows we'll never get
him to shut up. Come to me, come to Caddy, I called from
behind my thick black veil, but he pulled farther away, his
lumbering baby form shrinking into T.P. Please, I begged
him, don't let him bother Father. Father! Jason laughed,
wearing that same stingy, stringy smile he has worn ever
since I brought Quentin home. Trust me, he won't bother
Father. Father has found a way to occupy himself. I don't
know what you want on your tombstone - Quentin?
We're almost there, the midwife said, focus now, you
must focus. I concentrated on ignoring her and clamped down.
My eyes flew back and forth from the clock to the bouquet of
roses on the mantel. Someone had clumsily dumped them in a
chipped and dingy vase, and I knew Herbert had not brought
them. My mouth stretched in spite of myself.
Roses, I can't believe you spent good money on
flowers, Jason sniffed, flowers that stink to high heaven,
and to decorate what? A weakling's tomb -
Shut up, I whirled on him, shut up, and the
roundness of my body overwhelmed him, and he lapsed into
silence. The twitching parson whispered a stream of Latin
murmurs over the grave, his hands hidden but no doubt
twisting underneath the sleeves of his habit. I picked up
a handful of red clay and carefully laid it over Quentin,
like I was tucking him in.
I suddenly felt my muscles slacken, and a strident
shout exploded around me. It's a girl! the midwife announced,
a beautiful baby girl. Quentin, I whispered a welcome into
the waiting air, and too tired for anything else, I let my
eyelids slide slowly down.
return to the study: