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Mick raked her hair from her forehead .  Her mouth was open so that her cheeks seemed hollow.  There were these two things she could never believe.  That Mister Singer had killed himself and was dead.  And that she was grown and had to work at Woolworth’s.

She was the one who found him.  They had thought the noise was a backfire from a car, and it was not until the next day they knew.  She went in to play the radio.  The blood was all over his neck and when her Dad came he pushed her out of the room.  She had run into the dark and hit herself with her fists.  And then the next night he was in a coffin in the living-room.  The undertaker had put rouge and lipstick on his face to make him look natural.  But he didn’t look natural.  He was very dead.  And mixed with the smell of flowers there was this other smell so she couldn’t stay in the room.  But through all those days she held down the job.  She wrapped packages and handed them across the counter and rung the money in the till.  She walked when she was supposed to walk and ate when she sat down at the table.  Only at first when she went to bed at night she couldn’t sleep.  But now she slept like she was supposed to, also.

–Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

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