The life of a plural wife, she'd found, was a life lived under constant comparison, a life spent wondering. Sitting across from her sister-wives at Sunday dinner, the platters and serving dishes floating past like hovercraft, the questions were almost inescapable; Who of us is the most happy? Which of us is his one true love? Who does he desire the most?
I feel strangely free at such times. To behave properly is to be always courteous, always clever, and subtle and elegant. But now, when I am so alone, I do not have to be any of these things. For this moment, I am wholly myself, unshaped by the needs of others, by their dreams or expectations or sensibilities. But I am also lonely. With no one to shape me, who stands here, watching the moon, or the stars, or the clouds?
Miss Abigail, I want to be an author because writers know when a person is lonely. I mean, when Molly read me some books, those writers reached out and said, Look Gideon, we know about your loneliness and we know you're feeling downtrodden. And they said...I'll stand up for you. You're not lone anymore.
She was smart and terribly determined, this girl-her will was pure steel, through and through-but she was as human as anyone else. She was lonely, too. Lonely in a way that perhaps only single girls fresh from small Midwestern towns know. Homesickness is not always a vague, nostalgic, almost beautiful emotion, although that is somehow the way we always seem to picture it in our mind. It can be a terribly keen blade, not just a sickness in metaphor but in fact as well. It can change the way one looks at the world; the faces one sees in the street look not just indifferent but ugly....perhaps even malignant. Homesickness is a real sickness- the ache of the uprooted plant.