the price of salt…

excerpt from the book The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, published in 1952.

Darling,  I pour all this out to you (the next lines were crossed out).  You will undoubtedly handle your future better than I.  Let me be a bad example to you.  If you are hurt now beyond what you think you can bear and if it makes you–either now or one day–hate me, and this is what I told Abby, then I shan’t be sorry.  I may have been that one person you were fated to meet, as you say, and the only one, and you can put it all behind you.  Yet if you don’t, for all this failure and the dismalness now, I know what you said that afternoon is right–it needn’t be like this.  I do want to talk with you once when you come back, if you’re willing, unless you think you can’t.  Your plants are still thriving on the back porch.  I water them every day…

Therese could not read anymore.


“I love you,” Carol said.
Therese opened her eyes, but she did not look up.
“I know you don’t feel the same about me. Do you?”
“I don’t know, Carol.”
“That’s the same thing.” Carol’s voice was soft, expectant, expecting affirmation or denial.
“Anyway, it’s a living and I’ll like it. The apartment’s a nice big one – big enough for two. I was hoping you might like to come and live with me, but I guess you won’t.”
“Would you?” Carol looked at her.
“Well,” Carol said smiling, impatient.
“No,” Therese said. “No, I don’t think so.”



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