[Fiction] A young girl encounters an older group of students:

The morning of the abduction, Mrs. Allsop—dishevelled in a limp linen shirtdress—was wielding her secateurs up a ladder, pruning the climbing roses. She was immensely capable; tall and big-boned with a pink, pleasant face and dry yellow hair chopped sensibly short. Jane admired her mother greatly, especially when she transformed herself at night, for a concert in London or a Rotary Club dinner, with clip-on pearl earrings and lipstick and scent, a frilled taupe satin stole. Jane coveted this stole and tried it on when her mother was at the shops, making sultry faces at herself in the mirror—although sultry was the last thing her mother was, and everyone told Jane that she looked just like her. She certainly seemed to have her mother’s figure, with not much bust, no waist to speak of, and a broad flat behind.

‘Why don’t you call up some of your old friends?’ Mrs. Allsop suggested from the ladder top. ‘Invite them round to play Ping-Pong.’

“An Abduction.” — Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker

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