Miss Lonelyhearts and the Fat Thumb
For the first time, Betty appears. The love interest. The angel figure. The figment of his imagination, yet a real woman.
"Miss Lonelyhearts found himself developing an almost insane sensitiveness to order.
"She had often made him feel that when she was straightening his tie, she straightened much more."
"She came to the door of her apartment in a crisp, white linen dressing robe that yellowed into brown at the edges. She held out both her hands to him and her arms showed round and smooth like wood that has been turned by the sea."
"Her world was not the world and could never include the readers of his column."
"More than two months had passed since he had sat with her on this same couch and had asked her to marry him. Then she had accepted him and they had planned their life after marriage, his job and her gingham apron, his slippers beside the fireplace and her ability to cook. He had avoided her since. He did not feel guilty; he was merely annoyed at having been fooled into thinking such a solution was possible."
"And I love you," he said. "You and your damned smiling through tears."
And he did.