She’d lived most of her life in her imagination. Reading for pleasure had been discouraged by the church elders. Her parents, dutiful members of the acquiescent flock, hadn’t welcomed frivolity inside their home. Joy, beyond religious fervor, was confused with sin. In Cora’s mind all joy should be attributed to god, if god was believable at all.
Cora’s best friend from high school was the daughter of the volunteer librarian. A township reliant upon a volunteer librarian illustrated the frugal nature of the town fathers. Sadie lent historical romances to Cora. They’d giggled and called them bodice rippers. The heroines consistently found themselves crushed breathlessly against a broad manly chest, swooning in uncontrollable passion, dress bodices torn apart. The rebellious heroines were always prepared with a nice long cape to cover their shameless heaving bosoms as they snuck up the servants’ staircase upon their return to the manor.
Cora had known James since they were small kids. His grandfather was a church elder. He was a quiet boy, not given to needless conversation. James was drafted the summer after high school graduation as part of the 1966 troop increase to Vietnam. He returned home after a few months; wounded, walking tilted to the right, determined to live the life god chose for him.