Skolnik Page 24
Tom had seen it all. He was on the inside but he was on the sidelines too. He wasn't part of the big show. It was other people who made the world go round.
     Dick and his wife had long talks when they sat outside on Sundays and he could see that she was resigned to her fate and worried about how he'd manage after she was gone and urged him to marry again and Dick didn't want to tell her how easy it was for him to manage without a woman though he had to admit she'd given him something he hadn't had before. He missed the days when she'd had the stationery shop and had been so efficient and independent and yet waited breathlessly for him to get back when he was on the road, like a schoolgirl really, and tried so hard to please him. She seemed to like the idea of having a rough-hewn husband and he of course liked the idea of possessing a genteel woman and she loved to listen to his stories of the road which were like stories from adventure books and loved to watch him eat

amazed and delighted that he could consume so much food and he loved to watch her in the shop where everything was laid out so neatly in a perfect little world like a little house of dolls. They were just the two of them alone in the vast land closing out the night in the safety of their mobile home which he would know how to defend if it ever came to that. And at the same time it seemed to him that there was another country just out of reach, a fabulous land where dreams came true. He never saw it in the flesh, only on the TV screen and in glossy ads and movie theaters and yet he knew it was real, so many prizes waiting to be claimed by the lucky few. He'd wanted those prizes when he was young and then he'd settled for something less and now he wanted them again.
     Harry brooded and let his wife go her own way and took less interest in what the boys were doing, withdrawing the little he had invested of himself in them like a disgruntled customer closing a bank account. The