The Set-Up

I’m sitting under the willow tree knitting. Offred glides by me making it the perfect opportunity to set her up with Nick. From what I have found out, Nick is a part of the underground rebellion so I know he’ll help Offred if he can. I’ve decided to team up with Nick and help Offred, but she can’t know. Her reactions to any and everything must be as genuine as possible. To start, I have to get her and Nick to spend time with one another. If she can trust Nick enough before the time is right to call Mayday, we hope she will go with them and not commit suicide due to thinking the van is actually the Eyes.

I motion her over to me and queue my cruel act. “Nothing yet?” I’m obviously talking about pregnancy. “Nothing,” she replies (203). I decide to imply that maybe it’s the Commander who is infertile and not her. To imply this idea is a crime. No man is ever to blame, but I want to hint to Offred that I am not in denial of reality. Just as I know she isn’t in denial either.

“To imply this idea is a crime. No man is ever to blame, but I want to hint to Offred that I am not in denial of reality.”

Offred looks directly at me. It’s one of the first times since we’ve met that we have made direct eye contact. Perfect, now is my chance. Just as Nick and I planned, I offer him as an ulterior option for Offred. Of course, my husband can’t know about this set-up. Even I can’t trust my own husband. He would know that we are considering him as a problem with the lack of pregnancies if he found out I sent Offred to another man. In reality, this set-up has nothing to do with getting Offred to conceive, but everything to do with building that initial trust between Nick and Offred. Either way, however, my husband can’t know or he may call the real Eyes and send them for both of us.

How do I know Offred will follow through on this set-up? She values her life more than I have known any other handmaid, and this plan is risky. I have to offer her a prize. Thankfully, I found out a few days ago that Offred’s very own daughter is in connection with another Wife I know. If I could get her Martha to take a picture from one of the photo albums at the house, then I could show it to Offred and return it before anyone realizes the picture is missing. Because I haven’t arranged this yet, I can’t be too certain. “But only maybe,” I tell Offred.

I see anger in Offred’s eyes. I forgot how this would portray me. She must think I’ve known her daughter’s whereabouts this whole time. I smile, deciding it’s best to go along with this idea Offred must have. The important part is that she will meet with Nick. We’re on step closer to saving her from Gilead.

“I see anger in Offred’s eyes. I forgot how this would portray me.”

-Serena Joy

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