A necessary and great object of interest – he had first found Valentina standing among other members of her family.

Her clothes were a deep purple to blue color and as her wet hair dried, it began beguilingly to curl.

And she was fragrant and Tom thought she was showy. She is not common in the wild.

And lots of other people still go up to her and consider her the way Tom does.

Most persistently, she brings into view a face that displays full-bodied welcome.

One weekday evening, in a local restaurant, a very tall drunk man walked over to the pair, kissed Valentina on the mouth, and then departed quickly.

Tom had questions. It was a puzzling capper to a typical day.

Tom, on that day at work, had closed out tax cases upon which no tax was due, and awaited a repairman to discuss the photocopier failure.

And Valentina has responsibility for all of the patients on her hospital shift, as well as the building, and people are responsive to her, sometimes fervently.

However, she did not respond to Tom’s questions. She kept at her meat. She might otherwise have been caught in contradictions, but then she backed up in her chair and she gave her husband her answers: But it isn’t true. I don’t recall. Sort of. Yes, I sometimes do.

At bedtime Valentina lay on her back, arms at her sides, as did Tom – no intertwining and no tender touch that needed to become better still, except that their small-patterned wallpaper seemed to be excited the next morning.

The tiny daisies were scored by the shadows of the slats of the venetian blinds and the stripes were shivering.

And also at dawn, there was Valentina’s instrumental smile! Her sign of sweetness that is the flying start, the fresh impetus, the feature on her face that creates her particular style.

And in theory she well understands any person’s right to have privacy; to challenge and to complain without fear of reprisal; to make known his or her wishes; to receive complete information. To be wrenched.


Image © Nicolas Raymond

Tale of Human Adventure
Julia Armfield | First Sentence