The Harp Department in Love

This morning, while Josephine Stanislowski is tearfully packing winter clothes into a big box for the attic, her friend and neighbor Ruthie calls about the surprise party she’s having for her husband, Andrew, celebrating his graduation from college. It’s a party Josephine helped enthusiastically, several weeks ago, to plan. “Oh, God, it’s Friday, isn’t it,” Josephine says before she can catch herself. “That’s right.”

“You didn’t forget.”

“I lost track of the days, Ruthie. Sorry.”

“You all right? You sound like you’ve been crying.”

“I had a pepper and egg sandwich,” Josephine says, and is dejected about the lie. “It made my nose run.”

Excitable, garrulous Ruthie knows only the outlines of Josephine’s situation—Monday, after a big blowup, John Stanislowski moved downtown, into his old studio overlooking the river; he says he’s through. Josephine has told Ruthie the change is temporary, that it’s so he can work on his new music.

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