The Sportswriter by Richard Ford:
“It’ll be all right,” I say, soft and sober-voiced now, meant to start me back on the road to intimacy. “There’s just too many new people in Cade’s life. I wouldn’t be any good at it either.” I smile and nod in one fell motion.
Vicki raises an eyebrow—I am a strange man with inexpert opinions concerning her family life, something she needs like a new navel. She turns a dinner spoon over and over in her fingers like a rosary. The boat collar of her pink jersey had slid a fraction off-center exposing a patch of starkly white brassiere strap. It is inspiring, and I wish this were the important business we were up to instead of old dismal-serious—though I have only myself to blame. Sic transit gloria mundi. When is that ever not true?
“Your father’s a great guy,” I say, my voice becoming softer with each word. I should be silent, portray a different fellow entirely, affect some hidden antagonism of my own to balance hers. Only I’m simply not able to. “He reminds me of a great athlete. I’m sure he’ll never have a nervous breakdown.”