“He indulged it at first, trying to be a good man, trying to live up to an ideal image that he, too, still had of himself, but there was finally no way around it: endless discussion with a humorless twenty-three-year-old bored him. During the day, when they were apart, he kept picturing her solemn gaze, but when he came home he found a person with no resemblance to the object he’d desired.”

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