Like pilgrims visiting the tombs of saints, smoky hands of angels on our shoulders, we wandered the medieval city, stone churches and tall half-timbered houses leaning over narrow streets. After lunch we walked to a nature preserve where we used to meet twenty years before. Or maybe the only pilgrim was me, having flown a night and a day to visit my memories. She’d lived there her whole life, one day’s dust settling on every yesterday, whereas for me that brief, vivid time was fresh as photos in an acid-free album. I remembered her, still almost a girl, lithe as exposed wire, electrons ready to jump into my hand and burn through my body. Who had she become, who was once so hungry for love? All around us the short, bright summer was having its way with things. In dappled shade we walked beside the three lakes at the center of the preserve. From the air they might have looked like the chambers of a heart, pumping the valley’s blood into the river that surrounded the town like a moat. The ducks, not so wild that they hadn’t grown used to handouts, guided their little families in tight formation, like convoys on the lookout for U-boats. In my country, they might be dragging the water for the body of a gangbanger, or else one of the lakes would be drained and workmen in waders and gas masks would be collecting milk cartons, beer bottles, old tires, and a mountain of plastic wrappers. Here they don’t throw trash in the lakes — at least they pretend they don’t. Here they let bodies sink into the mud, where the worms can do their work. I could almost see myself on the bottom of the lake, slowly decomposing but alert enough to notice the oddly matched couple staring at the surface. Maybe we’d always been wrong for each other. How could anyone understand my habit of going in the wrong direction? I seemed immune to the usual sorts of happiness. I seemed to thrive on mistakes. How else explain how happy I’d become?