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a second month, and she was sick to her stomach, so sick, so often, that it was hard to hide. If the bleeding was bad, this was far worse, and she knew she couldn’t talk to the nurse about this. In the end, it was her father that she told. There came a night when she was barely able to choke her supper down, breathing through her mouth and moving the food around with her fork after her fi rst few bites. As soon as she 278 lewis shiner could, she asked to go and play, and her father had found her out by the swing set, throwing up. He was angry at fi rst, wanting to know why she hadn’t told him about the bleeding in the fi rst place. That had made her cry and he’d hugged her then, promising that everything would be okay and warning her that she must never, ever say a word about it to anyone, or it would mean she didn’t love him anymore. The next Saturday they’d gone to see a doctor in Smithfi eld, a stranger to Ruth, though her father seemed to know him well. She’d never seen anyone look at her father the way
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