Then he inquired, jokingly, why her friend wished to go to Tijuana, and Ruth answered that her friend was going to have an abortion.
Before he knew what he was about to do he jumped up from behind the desk and slapped her across the mouth; then he sat down again as though nothing had happened, and ruth walked out of the study. He noticed with astonishment that the hand which had slapped her was dancing around on the desk as if it was attached to a string. He seized it with his other hand and bowed his head.
He could not believe he had struck her. His fingers burned at the memory. When she was a baby he had held her in his arms while she was falling asleep. There were nights when nothing more than the knowledge of her existence had been enough to waken him so that he had gotten out of bed and gone to the crib to watch over her.