Excerpt

10

Then she surprises him by ignoring the view as she walks around the room, touching small sculptures, and analyzing a succession of wood block prints and lithographs on the wall farthest from the windows.

“Do you live here alone?” she asks

“Most of the time,” he answers truthfully. “I’m married, but my wife spends most of her time in Manhattan.”

She shrugs. He believes she doesn’t care. The more she speaks the more he comes to believe she is a latent free spirit, a throwback to the sixties, someone who would have rolled naked in the mud at Woodstock, screwed her brains out for a week, and only then went off to medical school. She continues to survey the room. There is a tightening in his chest as he thinks of her naked in Woodstock or here on the forest green couch. An intense urge begins to grip his body. He has to think of something else. Now. He turns away and imagines the ocean two hundred feet beyond the window. He thinks of the last big storm that blew shingles off his roof. He considers these things until the urge passes. He realizes more fully that this is a mistake. She shouldn’t be here.

“Where is this from? It looks like this house.”

He needs to turn his head to see her standing in front of the pen and ink sketch of this very house. A rough design he made over twenty years ago and showed to an architect who liked the idea. He bought the land only after the architect agreed to design plans to fit the sketch. The drawing hangs on the wall leading to the master bedroom.

“It’s my design,” he says. “It’s this house.”