“When do you suppose the war will start?” he said. “I notice your husbands aren’t here tonight?”
“Oh they come and go, come and go,” said Mrs. Phelps. “In and out again Finnegan, the Army called Peter yesterday. He’ll be back next week. The Army said so. Quick war. Forty-eight hours, they said, and everyone home. That’s what the Army said. Quick war. Pete was called yesterday and they said he’d be back next week. Quick…”
The three women fidgeted and looked nervously at the empty mud-colored walls.
“I’m not worried,” said Mrs. Phelps. “I’ll let Pete do all the worrying.” She giggled. “I’ll let old Pete do all the worrying. Not me. I’m not worried.”
“Yes,” said Millie. “Let old Pete do the worrying.”
“It’s always someone else’s husband dies, they say.”
“I’ve heard that, too. I’ve never known any dead man killed in a war. Killed jumping off buildings, yes, like Gloria’s husband last week, but from wars? No.”
“Not from wars, ” said Mrs. Phelps. “Anyway, Pete and I always said, no tears, nothing like that. It’s our third marriage each and we’re independent. Be independent, we always said. He said, if I get killed off, you just go right ahead and don’t cry, but get married again, and don’t think of me.”