“Dont hold on,” he said. They were water-skiing, she holding on to his waist. “Dont hold on. Try it by yourself.” He knew if she let go she would go flying into the water and then he’d have to make a rescue. But he also knew she knew this, and it was a joke between them.
He loved her dearly, and if anything happened to her, he wouldnt know what to do, though sometimes he thought of it. What would happen, he thought, if she didnt love me anymore. That was the nail that caught his arm. Because she didnt.
“What?” she yelled into his ear. “Dont hold on,” he said, and looked sheepishly, then down at the water, smiling. “You must be nuts,” she said and laughed, holding onto him that much tighter, and pinching him.
It was a dismally beautiful afternoon. In fact, it was so beautiful that Samantha wondered if it would ever end. The trees were so green, the light green that only early spring can offer. And yet the moment was the moment, dismal because she couldnt latch onto it but could only feel a certain queasy uncertainty that made the usual lilt on her face screw up slightly into a slightly worried frown.
Harry was late. And the more she thought of his being late, the more her frown went into darker tints. What was he doing? She had to know. The breeze opened a branch above where she sat, and the sunlight flickered through. She got up.
To be somewhere, somebody else, she thought, and the breeze poured through the open window, igniting the curtains with movement, sending a spray of coolness over her body. Oh God, she thought, if only I had a break, could just leave. . . . And then Harry came in without knocking. She didnt change her face, just kept looking at the wall next to the phone. “Harry,” she said, “it’s finished.” He didnt answer, just stood there looking dumb. He had heard it before.
Some Time Ago
“Love never dies, watching his eyes.” It was the line from a song she had forgotten, like a razor or an umbrella. The January cold, she thought, as she opened the January issue of a fashionable magazine and saw an ad for Bermuda. In the picture a young middle-aged couple, obviously affluent, were standing in front of a quaint, pastel cottage. It was maybe Atlantis itself, the way the sand intensified by the cactus on the beach portrayed a mild and dreamy vista.
Atlantis. Her mind played back to his eyes, how they looked filled with that very vista. He had told her of his interest in the legendary continent, and had even suggested they work together on a book. She could type.