It was the Easter holidays, and Nancy Wilmot was staying with Hilary Graves and her family at Adler’s Nest.
“It’s not that we don’t love living and working here. But I’m nearly 40...”
“No you’re not,” interjected her former classmate.
“I’m not far off – and neither are you. I’m nearly 40 and I’m still living in what is effectively a hall of residence. Which might be alright if it was just me, but....”
“But you and Kathie want your own home?”
Nancy nodded. “And that’s not going to happen here. Oh, I know everyone who knows...“ Nancy stopped and grimaced, “...at least, most of them, are reasonably fine about me and Kathie being together, but we’re still under the radar of a lot of people’s attention.”
Hilary almost spat out her tea with laughter. “...Joey...”
“Joey, for example,” Nancy grinned.
The night before, Nancy had been invited with Hilary and Phil Graves to Freudesheim for what they had thought would be a cosy dinner with old friends. But it had quickly become apparent that the whole purpose of the evening was to introduce Nancy to Dr. Jacobs, the new specialist at the San. The evening had been agony, with Nancy attempting to maintain a polite but reserved distance, Hilary barely keeping her amusement to herself, and Jo – though she had been told, on more than one occasion, and by more than one person, that Nancy was not the marrying kind - looking on with well-meaning incomprehension.
Hilary had sent Phil off to work that morning with strict instructions to disabuse Stephen Jacobs of any notions he might have developed in Nancy’s direction. But thinking back over the evening’s events, Nancy didn’t think Phil would have much trouble. There was something about Dr. Jacobs’ manner that she half-recognized, and she had a hunch that she wasn’t his type at all.
“But if we started openly living together, I don’t think Joey’s blissful innocence...”
“More like wilful ignorance...” Hilary interjected, but Nancy waved her away.
“...would last, and I’m not sure that she, and the rest of this corner of conservative rural Switzerland, is ready for two cohabiting women. And another round of hate-filled denunciations doesn’t really appeal right now.” Nancy shrugged. “And it’s not even like there’s anywhere available here that we could afford. So, as it stands, we’re actively looking for new jobs.”
A thought struck Hilary. “Is that why Kathie’s in England?”
Nancy nodded. “She’s got an interview this afternoon.”
“And another on Friday, for a Head of Geography.” Nancy couldn’t disguise the pride in her voice.
Hilary shook her head. “I can’t believe you’re leaving. I’ll miss you. The pair of you, actually.”
“Yes, and we’ll miss you, you know.”
“How did the Heads take it? You have told them?”
“Yes, we had to for references and such. And to let them know they’ll have to replace the irreplaceable.” Nancy gave a grin, then was thoughtful for a moment. “They were...I think they were a little surprised. But they’ve known for years, unofficially at least, about me and Kathie and I can’t honestly think that they expected us to stay living in those little single rooms till we were old and gray.”
“Aunty Nancy, can you come and help me?” Nancy was interrupted by Lois calling her from across the room.
“She’ll miss you too.” Hilary said, looking at her daughter, who was meant to be painting a picture but had been considerably more successful in painting herself. Blue.
“Hilary! It’s hardly fair to bring the child into it. Don’t make this harder...” Nancy said, as she went over to join in Lois’s fun.