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Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey Read Online (FREE)

I paused the video. I’d finished my gin and tonic, my second I think, no, it had to have been my third, and I walked to the liquor cabinet to make myself another, stopped, went over to the sink, filled my glass with water and drank it down, filled the glass again. I stood there for a minute, my back against the sink, sipping and thinking. Thinking, Adele, you were such a good girl. Thinking, No one imagined. No one could have imagined what a good girl you would be.

I sat back down, clicked the video. “I didn’t go to sleep that night,” the woman said. “Bill went straight to the bedroom but I wasn’t tired and it was morning already anyway, past six. I poured myself a glass of bourbon, a tall glass, no ice, and drew myself a bath, waited for the feeling to return to my feet, to the tips of my fingers, to the end of my nose. Then I put on a clean white blouse, brushed my hair, tied it back, slipped on low heels. Bill was lying on top of the sheets, fully clothed. He was snoring. I grabbed gloves, gray cashmere. There was a small hole between the fourth and fifth fingers of the left hand. I remember noticing the hole. I remember thinking, I’ll have to mend these. I crossed the street and bought a pack of cigarettes and a cup of coffee at the newsstand. I bought copies of the Times, the Daily News, and the Post. In the apartment I read each cover to cover. Not that I expected to find anything, the papers would have already gone to press, just I wanted—now that the sun was up and it wasn’t so cold and outside I’d seen a family, father in a suit and coat and hat and mother in gloves and children in patent leather, it seemed possible I’d gotten carried away, let my emotions get the— But then I remembered the father’s grip on the mother’s wrist, hadn’t it seemed too firm, shouldn’t they have been holding hands, not—Maybe I was becoming hysterical, women are prone to hysterics after all, this is a well-known fact.” She took a breath. “After I read the papers cover to cover I threw them away. Then I found a pair of scissors and cut up the gloves I’d worn the night before, cut them up until they were just small squares of fabric. They were useless now that they were no longer white. I threw the small squares of fabric away. I sat on the couch and smoked. By the time Bill woke up I’d finished the pack.”


The woman cleared her throat. “I bought the papers on Monday, too, but there wasn’t anything until Tuesday. Buried halfway through the Times, a column and a half, barely, plus a half-column-sized picture of Norman. It did make the front page of the Daily News. I remember the headline. Wife Stabbed, Novelist Held. I remember it specifically because I read later that Adele’s father was a typesetter at the Daily News, that that’s how he found out.”