M is always making disparaging remarks about her husband in front of dinner guests. But she has never once complained about being the sole caretaker or her invalid, and live-in mother-in-law, whose three daughters, though well-settled and in the same town, have never offered to have their mother stay with them. Not even for a weekend. R is is an incurable snoop who turns eavesdropping into a high art. She reads other people’s emails when they are away from their desks, and asks prying questions of private people with all the delicacy of a chainsaw. But she never passes a homeless person on the street without stopping to give them something to eat. C has an explosive temper and a dagger sharp tongue. He regularly reduces the people in his life to tears. Even telemarketers. But he would lay his life down for his dog who is old and very sick. Sometimes the dog falls asleep with his head on C’s feet, while C is reading in his easy chair. On those nights C sleeps sitting up because he doesn’t want to disturb the dog. T is incredibly pompous and overbearing. He is always interrupting people and never bothers to learn anyone’s name. He hasn’t had a real conversation since the turn of the century when his company went public. But he is single-handedly, and anonymously funding the education of all the little girls in the village he grew up in. Because his mother, who died when he was young, always told him how much she regretted not being able to read and write.