She Wasn’t Soft
A Storyby T. Coraghessan Boyle
She wasn’t tender, she wasn’t soft, she wasn’t sweetly yielding or coquettish, and she was nobody’s little woman and never would be. That had been her mother’s role, and look at the sad sack of neuroses and alcoholic dysfunction she’d become. And her father. He’d been the pasha of the living room, the sultan of the kitchen, and the emperor of the bedroom, and what had it got him? A stab in the chest, a tender liver, and two feet that might as well have been stumps. Paula Turk wasn’t born for that sort of life, with its domestic melodrama and greedy sucking babies—no, she was destined for something richer and more complex, something that would define and elevate her, something great. She wanted to compete and she wanted to win—always shining before her like some numinous icon was the glittering image of triumph.