Nancy’s Victory | Diane Williams | Granta

Nancy’s Victory

Diane Williams

She has the cost of the day plus her husband currently and this Sunday late afternoon she had led him to the center of the house and between her fingertips were pieces of his hair.

She used overlapping cuts for the front side of his head and as to the back of his head and its sides, she comfortably gripped clumps and she struck at them with the scissors as she kept the clumps well positioned.

He looked in the mirror to see how he had been further highlighted – mouth open, hands on his cheeks. He was up and standing pigeon-toed. No smile at all and she could not gauge easily what he was feeling.

She laid her hand on his forearm, which arm was comfortable to hold, while the birds outside she saw were perched or flying and these were not fantastic birds. These were real and a butterfly went by and the butterfly, she understands, is a symbol of marital happiness.

His hair – some of his hair was still slumped or uneven and a few more deft snips behind his ears were required.

She took up thin sprays to start with and was not aware of monotony and there is clearly always an element in the air of physical or mental jeopardy, because why wouldn’t there be?

Then he raised a hand to put a stop to it all. His arm was bent at the elbow, palm facing toward her – but he has never yet forcefully enough revealed his inner life to her and she is grateful.

She saw a small swatch of pink and supposed a sunset was out there and thought, What can that knockout pink do for me? Let it just seep in – really like hand cream.

 

Image © Anthony Jauneaud

Diane Williams

Diane Williams is the author of ten books of fiction, including How High — That High, just out in paperback from Soho Press. A new book of her stories, I HEAR YOU’RE RICH is forthcoming from Soho Press in 2023. She is also the founder and editor of the distinguished literary annual NOON. She lives in New York City.

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