Venus Envy

Venus Envy by Rita Mae Brown Read Free Book Online

Book: Venus Envy by Rita Mae Brown Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rita Mae Brown
us both and accepted us for who we were and who we became.
    On the surface of it, I’ve lived a decent life but, Ruru, I had no generosity of spirit as you have. I never gave anybody anything without calculating the consequences to myself. Quid pro quo, that’s me. I covered it up splendidly, I think, but then after all the money Mom and Dad spent on cotillion and private school I surely acquired manners and a good education too.
    I wish I had spent more time with you. I wish I were more like you.
    I want to tell you something about me. Why, I’m not sure. It won’t matter but I feel guilty keeping me from you, and I did. Don’t feel bad
kept me from everyone. I’m thirty-five years old and I’ve never fallen in love with anyone.
once. Oh, I’ve jumped in bed with people, not
many, but enough to make me think I was doing something. But love?
me. I’d have to get too close, I guess, or maybe I was afraid I’d wind up like Mom and Dad. The other reason I declined this invitation to vulnerability is that I’m gay, whatever that means. If I let myself go I’d lose everything I’ve worked for—that’s what I thought and I’m not convinced that wouldn’t have been my fate.
    I’ll never feel what you felt for Uncle Paul, God bless his soul, and if I see him I’ll give him a huge hug and kiss from you. You knew love and you were wise enough to pick a good man.
    I filled my life with things. I was successful. Everyone seemed to like me. I was popular, as we used to say at St. Luke’s, but Auntie Ruru, I was as hollow as a gourd.
    I’m sorry I cheated me. I hope I didn’t cheat you. I did love you so very much.
    Ruru wiped the tears from her eyes. “Poor baby,” she said out loud to herself. Then she thought long and hard about what to do.

    T HE MAIN POST OFFICE, LARGE, OLD, AND UGLY, FILLED HALF a downtown block. Carter Armstrong sauntered across the black-and-coral marble floor. He waved to the men and women behind the counter, nodded to acquaintances, tipped his Redskins baseball cap to the ladies, and then reached into his pocket for his box key. Finding it, he swung open the brass door with the little rectangular window. He pulled out a handful of irritants—every mail-order catalogue on the continent found its way into his mailbox. He didn’t mind getting them at home, but stuffed into the P.O. box, they seemed sacrilegious somehow.
    He accepted his business mail at this box as well as the occasional letter from a lady friend. Everything else was addressed to his home.
    Having flunked out of the University of South Carolina, which was hard to do, Carter had slunk home andstudied to get his real estate license. Fortunately, when he took it the test was easier than it was now, but then Carter wasn’t stupid, merely laze. He passed the test and worked as a realtor at the offices of Blue Sky Realty for three years. He studied some more and passed his broker’s test, then opened his own real estate office, Horse and Hound. Since this was the center of hunt country he decided to specialize in farms and estates. Given his easy manner and his feel for the land, Carter sold real estate and even collected a few energetic agents along the way. With more motivation and less liquor he could have made good money.
    Frazier’s letter caught his eye. He’d recognize his sister’s handwriting anywhere. Her bold wide letters written in real ink stood up like soldiers. His handwriting leaned far to the right and was full of fat loops in the l’s, in any letter above or below the line.
    He leaned against the big oak table in the middle of the P.O. box area and flicked his fingernail under the envelope flap. He took out the letter and read.
    Dear Brudda
    By the time you read this I shall most likely be dead. I meant everything I said to you when you visited me earlier today. I wish you’d cut the traces and go.
    What I didn’t say is that I know you’re still carrying on with Sarah

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