Excerpt

11

Ach, fantastish,” she says, but he is happy to show off something that is his alone. He ignores the fact that she speaks German.

She walks towards him and asks if she could have something to drink. “Perhaps some red wine,” she suggests.

“I guess I can do that,” he says, but there is edginess in his answer. He feels as if he is sliding into a deep pit without a handhold.

“Very nice, thank you,” she answers, “but can I first use your bathroom?”

He points to the end of a short corridor. “The door on your left.” She picks up her bag and moves in the direction he points. He hears the water running and the toilet flush. She is there for several minutes, but he gives it little thought. He spends the interval choosing a wine.

When she returns, he tells her about the sketch he made years ago as he pulls the cork from a bottle of Merlot. He pours a modest serving into a single glass. He has no intention of joining her. He holds the glass in his left hand and walks to where she has stopped, in front of the deep green couch.

“Please sit,” he says as she takes the glass. She takes a large sip, almost emptying the glass. He sits on the opposite couch and looks straight ahead through the large window at the ocean.

“Please sit over here,” she says. “You seem so far away.”

Posner moves to the other couch, just as she asks, “Can I rest my feet here?”

He waives his arm to the side in a universal gesture. She raises her hips and both legs spring forward onto the couch. She crosses one leg over the other and he faces ten polished toes.