'What?' he said angrily. 'There are things no one can change, nothing can make better - young people are like that, you think there must be a solution to everything, well there isn't. Dromas and I are - one person. And now I lie awake at night and I can't sleep because of that girl - and I don't even like her. I've never liked Kira. She's a sly, cold little piece. Dromas has taken her bed into another room because she can't bear it. I feel as if I've been cut in two.'
For a while they stood silent, while in front of them the young men marched efficiently up and down, believing that Juba was watching them.
It was a hot day - but when was that not true? They were well into the dry season. Out on the plain the dust devils lazed by. Here, the stream that she and Dann had bathed in was lower and in places - Mara saw this with a feeling of foreboding - was not a stream, but had become a string of waterholes.
'...no, no. I'm afraid. There's nothing more terrible, children dying, the babies...'
And she thought, surprised at herself, It is true, back in the Rock Village, the children and the babies dying; but it was so terrible I wouldn't let myself feel it, and so when that child died on the journey here I felt nothing. I don't want to feel, I don't want that again - never. And she felt now the anguish of seeing the dying babies in the Rock Village, babies being born, then dying, or surviving for a while, so that everyone watched, hoping, and then another bad dry season - and they died. The mothers' stony faces, the fathers' angry faces as they dug little graves in the hard earth, or put the corpses out for the scavengers.
Juba put his arm around Mara, and she leaned against him and most bitterly sobbed, to make up for all the tears she had held back then. And he stood, full of sorrow, and thought that this girl could never understand his grief over Dromas.
(Doris Lessing, Mara and Dann. An adventure, p.159-161)