Before the diversions of Adam and Anna, Justine used to listen to records as she cleaned, baked, read, and painted. The hours that Blake was at the mine were long, and for most of the year it was snowy and cold, so traipsing up the mountains to pick berries were usually a longing, not an every day occurrence. So music, with its time-and-space travelling magic, took her up and away from the mountain, the mine, the valley, and into places she both used to live and wanted to live. She missed Blake. She worried about the on-purpose explosions and the weight of the mountain on the men’s shoulders. She missed her mother, who was starting to lose her memory and her composure. She missed the twin baby boys she only got to hold for a few minutes before she was no longer their mother, and missed the girl that used to live inside her, the one who didn’t miss anything and only listened to records and danced and painted some when she was lonesome.
The other wives were sweet but they spoke mainly of mothering things and Justine couldn’t share in that conversation. She was a mother, but her twins were no longer hers, far away somewhere in the Midwest. She had the experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, bonding, love to share with the other wives, but not the children to show for it. Besides, the wives were into light conversation, anything heavy might send their pretty heads to drooping, wrinkles might form on their porcelain faces, and they would look at Justine even more scrutinizingly than they already did. So she didn’t share and she didn’t sit with them, only seeing them at the Friday movies in the dormitory game hall and in passing in the company store.