The sun is setting, Ona reminds us, and our light is fading. We should light the kerosene lamp.
But what of your question? asks Greta. Should we consider asking the men to leave?
None of us have ever asked the men for anything, Agatha states. Not a single thing, not even for the salt to be passed, not even for a penny or a moment alone or to take the washing in or to open a curtain or to go easy on the small yearlings or to put your hand on the small of my back as I try, again, for the twelfth or thirteenth time, to push a baby out of my body.
Isn't it interesting, she says, that the one and only request the women would make of the men would be to leave?
The women break out laughing again.
They simply can't stop laughing, and if one of them stops for a moment she will quickly resume laughing with a loud burst, and off they'll all go again.
It's not an option, says Agata, at last.
No, the others (finally in complete accord!) agree. Asking the men to leave is not an option.
Greta asks the women to imagine her team, Ruth and Cheryl (Agata yelps in exasperation at the mention of their names), requesting that Greta leave them alone for the day to graze in the field and do nothing.
Imagine my hens, adds Agata, telling me to turn around and leave the premises when I show up to gather the eggs.
Ona begs the women to stop making her laugh, she's afraid she'll go into premature labour.
This makes them laugh harder! They even find it uproariously funny that I continue to write during all of this. Ona's laughter is the finest, the most exquisite sound in all of nature, filled with breath and promise, and the only sound she releases into the world that she doesn't also try to retrieve.