O'Brien said the whole girl thing was a falsity why waste your time on them?

he'd told Baruch yes why? Sutcliffe said in an echo as they walked home from school along the New Kent Road holding a cigarette to one side a thin line of smoke coming from his mouth as she spoke Baruch said nothing about Fay he just listened thinking of her as they walked along his hands in his pockets his scuffed shoes treading the pavement his eyes looking at Sutcliffe at his blonde hair and bright blue eyes and O'Brien with his shock of brown hair and his crafty eyes I've yet to meet a girl worth losing sleep over he said not a wink of sleep Sutcliffe added Baruch had seen Fay the day before on the way home

by the church on the corner of Meadow Row she in her catholic school uniform clutching her satchel her bright eyes on him her fair hair brightened by the afternoon sun how they had walked together up the Row she talking of the nuns at the school about the whole Latin thing about the long list of saints she had to remember he took in her anxiety her paleness of skin he told her of the pottery teacher who ridiculed his pots and how he did it in front of the class holding up the pot and running it down not that I care a toss Benedict said least not about the pot and they crossed Rockingham Street and up the slope and there they waited gazing at each other the silence like thin silk he wanted to kiss her but not doing so she wondered if she could get nearer to him maybe much closer

but feared her father might hear of it and he didn't like Baruch didn't like the Jew boy keep yourself free of them O'Brien said girls cling to you like leeches and suck the being out of you with their petty wants yes wants and wants Sutcliffe echoed Baruch paused by the hairdresser shop by the crossing opposite Meadow Row best get home Baruch said yes me too said Sutcliffe hope my cousin's gone home she's been with us for weeks now and always in the bathroom and wandering the house in her almost see through night dress sure sure O'Brien said bet you hate that and he laughed and Sutcliffe walked off home the cigarette behind his back held in his inky fingers see you around O'Brien said and wandered on up the road and Baruch

saw him off and crossed the road and walked down Meadow Row thinking of Fay and that moment he almost kiss her how they stood gazing at each other he gazing at her fine beauty her figure and she fearing her father would know and the nuns at the school always writing to him about her and what she does and does not and she seeing Baruch there feeling her heart beat and sensed feeling hot.

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