“Why do you hang with Ned?” Solveig had asked her husband Alan once.
“Because he’s my friend.”
Now Ned stood in their living room, running his finger, as though absent-minded, across the wooden book shelf. “Do you think you’re doing the right thing?”
“Of course.” She willed herself to not stare at the shiny trail his finger left in the dust. “The scholarship pays for everything.”
“It’s bigger than Alan’s, I hear.”
“Well, it’s California versus Minnesota. Things cost more out there.”
“Aren’t you afraid of hurting Alan by competing with him and doing better?” Ned asked.
Solveig hugged herself. “I’m not competing. I’m merely good at what I do. Not better.”
“Graduating eighth in your class to his eleventh?”
Solveig shot a glance at Alan who was busy uncorking wine. He had told Ned that?
“Obviously made an impression,” Ned said. His eyes were slits for a moment.
“Well, Ned, Alan doesn’t want me to sit around knitting and watching TV or reading romances and mysteries.”
A cockroach began a solitary march across the dinner table already set. Solveig felt like laughing, throwing up, or both. House-keeper par excellence.
“How do you know?” Ned asked.
Three pairs of eyes followed the cockroach to the edge of the table where it disappeared. For the first time Solveig felt a stir of hatred for her husband who said nothing, not even in justification of the cockroach.