Sometimes when she mentions God, it strikes me that my mother uses him as but one of the devices that come to hand in an outrageous man’s world, to be put to work like all the rest in the one enterprise she has any use for: the canny management of the shocks of life. It is a bargain struck at the very beginning in which she settled for a general belittlement of everything, the good and the bad. She is as wary of good fortune as she is immured against the bad, and sometimes I seem to catch sight of it in her eyes, this radical mistrust: an old knowledgeable gleam, as old and sly as Eve herself. Losing Duval, her favorite, confirmed her in her election of the ordinary. No more heart’s desire for her, thank you. After Duval’s death she has wanted everything colloquial and easy, even God.