Success came so slowly that by the time they were asking her questions, she had almost forgotten this was her, they were asking about. She had not yet grown accustomed to the wonderful – spectacular – tidings, interspersed with long, blank periods of silence and occasional emails bearing good news. “Your cheque is on the way, has been paid in, your release date is early next year…Welcome to our publicist.”

Because the silences in between were so deep, she began to doubt that her biggest dream had come true, that she had actually done the literary equivalent of winning the lottery. It took occasional reminders and statistics gleaned from dogged, faithful on-line friends and worthy “How To” articles, to reassure her that well now, writing was what she did, by all accounts, and that she had best find ways to carry on doing that. During the long gestation before her book would be born, whenever anyone needing anything did get in touch, asking for this or that, she had been used to doing everything, like, yesterday. Working for people who genuinely loved something she had made was a pleasure, and she waited eagerly for further instructions.

The hardest part was remembering her poverty. She had one good suit that she had bought for her wedding, now with one moth-hole (carefully darned) and there was a brace of shirts that she kept for special occasions and had never worn, hanging about waiting for the day she would have to be smartly turned out, carefree in cufflinks. Cufflinks for women were something new, though she had always envied those who could demonstrate so subtly their unsuitedness to domestic tasks. She had bought herself one pair, just to experiment with the ambition that said she, too, might one day leave aside the wet dishes and the soaking tubs, the water that would not now be allowed to catch her cuffs and creep annoyingly up to her elbows. It seemed that her wishes were coming true.

The excitement that others read into the print, she had expelled uneasily over many years. The writing was not the worst part, so that by the time they were enthusiastic, she had moved on to other things, and was able to smile convincingly, and give great answers. She was ahead of them in that, but when they were off zooming down the highway, she waited patiently.

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