[Fiction] A husband, feeling sick, leaves his father-in-law’s party early:

At this point, the husband realizes that he doesn’t want to spend the night reading Rousseau in bed, alone. He thinks about going downstairs to the hotel bar. It’s the kind of thing he never does—but ten minutes later there he is, sitting at the bar, reading his book. The husband is not trying to pick anyone up. His wife will be back in an hour or two, and besides, who would dream of picking someone up with Rousseau? Of all the authors you could try to pick someone up with, Rousseau is probably the worst. Or maybe Kant. The husband orders a hot toddy. The bartender, an attractive young woman with crinkly black hair, brings him the drink and they exchange remarks about it. Is that what you wanted? Yes, it’s perfect, the husband says.

“Another Life.” — Paul La Farge, The New Yorker

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