She didn’t appear in public much, and when she did, she hid her face in a scarf. Can you blame her? People can be so unforgiving, especially the morally smug people of this Midwestern town. Some of them call her a harlot, not a few of them think she’s the Whore of Babylon. She’s neither saint nor sinner, neither monstrous nor meretricious, though her angelic eyes exude sensuality. The townsfolk scoff, ridicule, castigate. If it were up to me, I’d have each one of them shot for having judged her so harshly, for having cast stones upon her without hesitation. But she would have none of this violence. The woman spends the days tending her flower garden and playing Chopin listlessly on her Steinway. A steady diet of tonics and laudanum do not ease her loneliness.