Today Alice’s students will draw the pheasants. Alice unlocks the props closet in Bantam Hall on the downtown campus and sees the two taxidermied pheasants on a high shelf, exactly where she left them last semester. The pheasants were purchased by the Department of Art thirty-seven years ago, Alice’s first year teaching at Juniper College.
Mainly, she wanted to be left alone. She didn’t want a husband or a wife or a partner or a lover, she didn’t want a companion or a pet or friends, she didn’t want to be closer to her parents or siblings or relatives. She enjoyed her solitude, relished it. She had plenty to occupy herself—her work, her house and garden, her hobbies. She was not at all lonely. She was thoroughly happy, being alone.
Harvard, 1966. Abel Jones is in his third year. He is an exceptional student, head of the class. He is studying history. His area of focus, the eighteenth century. England and France. Still, there are days when he is lost.