..more than likely, Mother would simply go enigmatic on him, give him one of her inscrutable smiles, and tell him that if he didn't already understand, he never would.

Women always said things like that, and it made him crazy. It's as if every conversation with a woman was a test, and men always failed it, because they always lacked the key to the code and so they never quite understood what the conversation was really about. If, just once, the man could understand, really comprehend the whole conversation, then the perfect union between male and female would be possible. But instead men and women continued to cohabit, even to love each other, without ever quite crossing over the chasm of misunderstanding between them.

And I'm marrying Ruthie?

Well, why not? She loved him. He loved her. In the absence of understanding, that was as good a reason as any of living together and making babies and raising them up and throwing them out of the house and then going through the long slow decline together until one of them died and left the other alone again, understanding as little as ever about what their spouses really wanted, who they really were.

Was that tragedy? Or was that comedy?

Was there really any difference?

From Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
Copyrightę 1999 by Orson Scott Card
posted 3-21-00 -rlm

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