any resemblance, &c

Once there was a girl. Isn’t there always? When this one was very young and not very clever at all, she thought she wanted to be very truly run after, like Old Man Kangaroo. She was a little bit lazy and a little bit vain. She thought it would be nicer to be loved than to love, because somebody else would be doing all the work. When she was only a little bit older, along came a person who did all the running, just like in the story. He chased and chased and chased.

But despite everything she wasn’t sure she wanted to let him catch her. She had noticed that his jokes were a little bit too angry and his unguarded expression a little bit too sour. She was always trying to cheer him up, and it started to tire her out. Still, flattery counts for a lot. And he chased and chased and chased her, which no one else had ever done. And she was actually quite lazy and quite vain.

When things were going well for her, she tried to be sweet to him. And then for a while things went very badly for her. And he was still running and running and running after her. And when she fell over, he picked her up.

She was very tired indeed by that time, so she didn’t run away.

It took years to clean up the mess.

All those years later, when she finally reached a clear patch in her life, she was walking across a mall between two office buildings one day, and she said to herself, What do I want now? A face came into her mind. Its jokes were not angry at all. Its unguarded expression was one of keen interest.

This time she was quite sure. And that’s when the good part of her life began.

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