Shaw used to be a model and is still beautiful, fierce and timid both, like a coyote or a wild dog—more beautiful, in that way, than when she modeled. Harley is strange-looking, as plain as butter, huge, and believes, in his heart, that with his ragged dress, his half-beard, his falling-out hair and his badger’s temper, that he makes Shaw feel older, less beautiful, less whole. Less than what she used to be. Harley tells Shaw this, to hear her deny it, and she does deny it, and keeps denying it, all the way up until the time she packs to move out, saying that she feels older, no longer beautiful, no longer whole . . . but that it’s not Harley’s doing . . .
Harley’s forty-one. Shaw is thirty-eight. Old enough to have lived full lives, and yet they have not even started.