At the supermarket Susie ran up to me in the frozen foods, said the Miller house had been robbed last night.
“They came in while everyone was sleeping and robbed them blind.”
I was sorry to hear that and listened as best I could, but Susie’s always in everyone’s business and to tell you the truth, I wanted to sneak an ice cream sandwich or two in before I headed home.
Later that day as I tried to walk off the sinful splurge, I bumped into Ellie May at mile marker one. She jumped right in beside me; arms swaying back and forth with mine, our strides matching to a T. She mumbled something which required me to pull out my ear buds during Poker Face.
“What?” I asked.
“Did you hear about Mr. Miller? He’s in the hospital. Someone beat him up last night. He might lose an eye.”
Her breath smelled like wine. “I thought they were robbed.”
“That’s not what I heard,” said Ellie May.
Later that evening, the old lady from down the street stopped me in my driveway as I was on my way to the movies with my man.
“Please pray for the Millers, dear,” she whispered. “Stan was out drinking again and got into some trouble with the law. Geneva has no more money left after bailing him out this time, but she sure gave him what he deserved.”
And we both said, “A black eye.”
*Excerpt from Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
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