After five years of a sad and disgruntled marriage Boy-Boy took off. During the time they were together he was very much preoccupied with other women and not home much. He did whatever he could that he liked, and he liked womanizing best, drinking second, and abusing Eva third. When he left in November, Eva had $1.65, five eggs, three beats and no idea of what or how to feel. 
Hannah's friendships with women were, of course, seldom and short-lived, and they newly married couples whom her mother took in soon learned what a hazard she was. She could break up a marriage before it had even become one - she would make love to the new groom and wash his wife's dishes all in an afternoon. 
A hill wind was blowing dust and empty Camels wrappers about their ankles. It pushed their dresses into the creases of their behinds, then lifted hems to peek at their cotton underwear. 
Every passerby, every motorcar, every alteration in stance caught their intention and was commented on. Particularly they watched women. When a woman approached, the older men tipped their hats; the younger ones opened and closed their thighs. But all of them, whatever their age, watched her retreating view with interest. 
So when they met, first in those chocolate halls and next through ropes of the swing, they felt the ease and comfort of old friends. Because each had discovered years before that they were neither white nor male, and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden to them, they had set about creating something else to be. 
"While sittin' there, honey, go 'head and pull your nose."
"It hurts, Mamma"
"Don't you want a nice nose when you grow up?" 
And when they thought of all that life and death locked into that little closed coffin they danced and screamed, not to protest God's will but to acknowledge it and confirm once more their conviction that the only way to avoid the Hand of God is to get in it. 
Although most of the people remembered the time when the sky was black for hours with clouds and clouds of pigeons, and although they were accustomed to excesses in nature - too much heat, too much cold, too little rain, rain to flooding - they still dreaded the way a relatively trivial phenomenon could become sovereign in their lives and bend their minds to its will. 
The purpose of evil was to survive it and they determined (without ever knowing they had made up their minds to do it) to survive floods, white people, tuberculosis, famine and ignorance. They knew anger well but not despair, and they didn't stone sinners for the same reason they didn't commit suicide - it was beneath them. 
Nothing in this world loves a black man more than another black man. You hear of solitary white men, but niggers? Can't stay away from one another a whole day. 
But who could think in that bed where they had been and where they also had been and where only she was now? 
As willing to fell pain as to give pain, to feel pleasure as to give pleasure, hers was an experimental life - ever since her mother's remarks sent her flying up those stairs, ever since her one major feeling of responsibility had been exorcised on the bank of a river with a closed place in the middle. 
In a way, her strangeness, her naivete, her craving for the other half of her equation was the consequence of an idle imagination. 
So when his curiosity was high enough he picked two bottles of milk off the porch of some white family and went to see her, suspecting that this was perhaps the only other woman he knew whose life was her own, who could deal with life efficiently, and who was not interested in nailing him. 
"You can't do it all. You a woman and a colored woman at that. You can't act like a man. You can't be walking around all independent-like, doing whatever you like, taking what you want, leaving what you don't."
"You repeating yourself."
"How repeating myself?"
"You say I'm a woman and colored. Ain't that the same as being a man?" 
"You think I don't know what your life is like just because I ain't living it? I know what every colored woman in this country is doing?"
"Dying. Just like me. But the difference is they dying like a stump. Me, I'm going down like one of those redwoods. I sure did live in this world." 
"Lonely, ain't it?"
"Yes. But my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else's. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain't that something? A secondhand lonely." 
"Is that what I'm supposed to do? Spend my life keeping a man?"
"They worth keeping, Sula."
"They ain't worth more than me. And besides, I never loved no man because he was worth it. Worth didn't have nothing to do with it." [143/44]
"Well I guess that's it. You own the world and the rest of us is renting. You ride the pony and we shovel the shit. I didn't come here for this kind of talk, Sula ..." 
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