Blake had wanted to give Justine a life of sweet smelling powder rooms with gold faucets. He wanted her to be able to walk softly on thick carpet in maribou slippers, in a house where she didn’t have to slip out of her pink silk robe all day if she chose not to. When he accepted the foreman position at the mine he knew that vision would have to evaporate, the robe would have to be flannel, the maribou slippers a pair of slouchy woolen socks. His faint and gossamer girl would have to harden, solidify, walk with less tiptoe and more stomp. He couldn’t imagine her shaking snow off of thick black boots or even wearing a pair of pants; when he first met her all she wore were dotted swiss dresses in pale yellows, pinks, whites, ivories, baby blues. These cloudy dresses contrasted with her thick dark hair, causing her to look like the sad faced porcelain dolls his sister collected as a girl. Blake laughed to think of her tromping through mud, of picking berries in rubber boots. But she did, of course. We know that now. Blake didn’t get to see her with mud splashed up her pants and streaked across her face, because she washed it off before he returned from a day in the mine. From five-thirty to six Justine peeled off the glacial mud stained blue jeans and replaced them with one of her little dresses, yellow with rick rack piping. On top of this she added one of her soft blue sweaters, fuzzy now with too many washings. By the time Blake arrived home she was a cotton ball again.
I need to start writing Men in Caves stuff before it gets too late at night. Sleep is sitting next to me on the couch, eying me warily and very, very impatiently.