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Winter 1953. Therese has moved in with Carol, after they’d reunited earlier that year, in April. Therese still works in the New York Times while Carol has been working as a furniture buyer.
Therese’ pace quickened as they neared Fifth Avenue, taking care to keep her balance while she navigated the slightly icy sidewalk of a side street that led to Parson’s School of Design, north of Washington Square.
“… then I get this letter from her gallery… her gallery! … saying that I can drop by on Monday to interview with Alice and I just don’t know what I should say to impress her, you know?” Brad Ellsworth continued to chatter away nervously. He was walking beside Therese, his coat flapping in the wind, as he continued to walk and talk, unmindful of the cold, the pockets of ice that had formed here and there on the sidewalk, and Therese’ lack of response to his prattle.
“I mean I know something about Chinese porcelain, but …Oh!” Brad flung his arms out in panic as his foot suddenly slipped on some ice and he found himself momentarily suspended in space, almost parallel to the ground now. I’m falling!
A hand shot out to grasp his arm and he clung to it desperately, almost kneeling now, as he fought to recover his balance.
“Are you okay?” Therese asked in her unruffled, still manner. In the few weeks since he’d met her, he’d never seen her unbalanced, seeming to glide above the ground, above life, in a way that made whatever she was doing look effortless.
Her large, doe-like eyes were looking into his panicked ones with true concern. She was holding him up now with a strength he’d never have expected from her slight, ballerina-like figure. He felt ashamed.
“Oh, I’m such a klutz, Therese!” he exclaimed nervously as he pulled himself upright, clutching on the arms that had braced him.
“Calm down, Brad,” Therese soothed him. “I could’ve just as easily slipped on the ice.”
“I doubt that sincerely,” he answered shakily. He took a careful step back, motioning that he could now stand on his own. He adjusted his horn-rimmed glasses nervously.
“Thanks so much for keeping me from falling, Therese,” he continued. “I seem to be thanking you or Carol all the time these days.”