by how desperately she wanted to lick it off. Ruthie was not that kind of girl; she was a virgin and had only really kissed Tommy Pittman. Levi smelled of mown grass and sour perspiration and Ruthie adored the aroma at once. She was exhausted with always having to be ironed and perfumed. They talked for hours that day. And the next. And for days and days that summer. Ruthie's affection for Levi became dominating and exclusive. She knew she would never love another, but Ruthie soon learned that Levi's fondness was simply that. He did not love her, not in the way Ruthie desired. Levi loved a white man named Benedict. To be homosexual back then, and to also mix races, was preposterous. Levi realized he was in a doomed affair, just as Ruthie knew she was now equally ill-fated.