Sumati was regarding it fixedly. What sort of escape would that be, was it what she really wanted? To pull out, strike new roots. But where? The terrifying loneliness of the future, with no one to turn to. The sniggers, the stares; the unspoken innuendoes in strange eyes. But then the sense of just being yourself, free of minds mired in triteness, mediocrity. She had been standing stiffly, breathing unevenly. The voice of her husband reproaching his daughter had come to her faintly, distantly, as from another world. They were now looking at her concernedly. Her daughter looked incredulously nervous. “Did you care for it so much, mummy?” She picked up the bob. Its shining surface had been scratched a little.
“We have had the clock for a long time. It surely must have got bored.” She laughed.” Let’s have the bob and cabinet polished. It will then be happy with its brightened surroundings.” She began to rub vigorously the bob with a corner of her dress. “Won’t it be happy, mummy? Won’t it be, mummy?” She was looking up anxiously. It was incredible. Her voice had a diffident, persuasive note. It was almost as if she knew.
Sumati listened greedily, drinking in every word as if it were soothing balm or nectar. Sumati smiled. “I’m sure it will.”