Bernard Page 8
again, I promise I won't ask again, I promise I won't ask again," not saying what she thought: please don't go away.

     The next night she opened her email with some nervousness. But she needn't have worried: there was, as usual, an email from him. She clicked on it, after giving herself a moment to pull herself together and get back her self-respect.
     "i am veryveryvery sorry about last night," it read. "i couldnt face it i ran away i feel so ashamed please forgive me
    "u deserve SO MUCH BETTER than this
    "this has been so hard for me i hope u can believe that if not completely understand it even i dont understand it how can i expect u to how can anyone
    "there are so many things i cant do"

     She drew in her breath and stared at the screen, caught between frustration, anger, bewilderment, pity. Not understand? Can't do? Like tell me his name? Well! If he's taking it so hard, I'll just have to live with it, if I want this.
     She stared into space for a moment: Do I want this?      Not having answered her own question (it could wait, it would have to wait), she wrote him a long, gentle, consoling reply, telling him it was all right, it wasn't important (even though it was)~after all, she must find out who he was someday~and how did she know it wasn't better not to know? How often has enchantment been spoiled by knowledge, either too much of it, or gotten too soon? This might be the best it ever gets. The fantasy that reality is not allowed to threaten. Maybe he was, in his strange way, protecting her.
     He replied almost immediately: with those simple, three, wonderful, incomprehensible words that he had first sent her: "i luv u"