I never called her back, the woman with the two babies born just like mine: girls who couldn’t crawl or talk, could barely smile, who lay there, bundled in flowered dresses, staring at the ceiling. Both had lovely, extravagant names, like opera singers or stars of the ballet. She wanted, I imagine, to sit with me — the only woman she knew with a child like hers — and drink coffee, stir it with silver spoons as the steam rose to our tired eyes and our babies lay there, inert and beautiful, sucking their hands. Was it so much to ask? She wrote her number on a slip of paper, put it in my palm. And week after week I promised myself to triumph in this one, small thing, pictured her lifting the girls into their beds at night, the way I did with my son, or dropping the bitter medicines into their open mouths, perhaps alone, afraid. But hadn’t lightning struck her twice? I did what villagers have done for centuries when they shun the widow, the man with one eye. I turned my back, kept her luck from being added to mine.