Sigrid Nunez “Feather on the Breath of God” (Harper Collins 1995)

But what will you do when you are old? A woman starts hearing this when she is nowhere near old. In the wink of an eye you go from slut to spinster. But was it so terrible to be an old maid? I saw myself traveling in foreign cities. Bright sun, ancient stones, the endless noon of street and the eternal dusk of churches. Straw hat, sandals, a white blouse, and a skirt flaring gracefully below the knee. Dinner alone: bread, cheese, fruit. Long train rides, rocking, dreaming. No one knows me. The unfamiliar peace of a hotel room. The narrow bed with its iron bedstead. Faded wallpaper, original paintings touching in their crudeness. No one knows you, you can make yourself up anew every day. This evening you have written two letters and finished the guidebook. You take a long bath. and when the stranger comes, you make love on the narrow bed. No English, speak with the body. And afterward the bed is too small, good night, my dear, never forget, goodbye, goodbye.

Are there really women like this or only women who write stories about women like this?

Someone has said: To be a woman is always to be hiding something.

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