Car 3

Mrs Helen Timmins

Outward appearance

Woman in her fifties, specs, checked shirt, cream slacks, new white sneakers, sky-blue fisherman's hat. Grins in Cheshire-cat fashion, holding the hand of the passenger next to her.

Inside information

On holiday in London with her academic husband. They married in 1960, just before he went to college. From 1965 on, she was an Army wife. Has one grown up daughter. She does charity work, reads, writes a little. She's a housewife.

What she is doing or thinking

Present laughter eases her heart. It keeps what is coming at bay. When they get back to Irvine, Helen is going to ask Larry for a divorce.

There's a professor of Hebrew literature, a Russian emigre called Sasha Gnessin. They met at her writing group. She surprised herself that first night; she was a bit drunk; she went to bed with him. As he opened the door to his apartment, she found her knees were shaking. Sasha is small, bespectacled, slightly hunched, her own age (thank heavens), but there's something about him. Lust. It breaks her heart, but she doesn't lust after Larry. Larry is distant from her. He always has been. Despite his size and his masculine image, there is something frail and unsexed about Larry. He is affectionate, but there is nothing exciting in his touch; nothing excited in it either. Sasha awaits, with his sly grin, his books, and his cock that he pulls out of his trousers, and that she kneels to swallow. She never did that before. The image, even now, startles her, shakes her with its power.

So she laughs.

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