In Rose Madder, Cynthia Smith spent some time in the Daughters and Sisters shelter after running away from her boyfriend, Richard Judkins, who nearly tore off her ear while high on crystal-meth.
“Then, yeah. Later on I was a guitar tech. Now, I’m ...” Yes, that was a good start, but just what was he now? Not a guitar tech, that was for sure. Sort of demoted to roadie again. Also part-time shrink. Also sort of like Mary Poppins, only with long brown hippie hair that was starting to show some gray along the center part. “Now I’m into something else. What’s your name?”
“Cynthia Smith,” she said, and held out a hand.
He shook it. Her hand was long, feather-light inside of his, and incredibly fine-boned. It was a little like shaking hands with a bird. “I’m Steve Ames.”
- Part I / Chapter 4 / Section 2
Ralph Carver sticks out his tongue and makes a sound like a wasp caught in a mayonnaise jar. What a polite little animal it is, the young woman with the tu-tone hair thinks.
'I'm Cynthia Smith,' she says, extending her hand over the counter to the girl. 'Always a Cynthia and never a Cindy. Can you remember that?'
The girl nods, smiling. 'And I'm always an Ellie, never a Margaret.'
- Chapter 1