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up on his outspread palm as if he was weighing it to see if

by any chance it was made of gold. She didn’t snatch it back

the way she did with the other men.

“Where on earth do braids like this grow?” he said.

Which of us would have known to say something like that,

where do braids like that grow. But she didn’t blush. She

looked at him as if it was all the same to her what he did

with her braid, as if she’d let him do anything he wanted

with it.

He could have wrapped it around his neck, he could have

cut himself a length of it, he could have unbraided it, she

wouldn’t have pulled it away. She only said:

“Please eat, sir. Your food’ll get cold.”

He said:

“I like cold food.”

That was another way he was different from the rest of us,

none of us would have said we liked cold food. With us, if

something wasn’t hot enough we’d make a fuss about it on

the spot:

“Why is this soup cold? These potatoes look like leftovers!