I recall you within a chance patch of sunlight. You had sharp elbows and pale, dusty-looking eyes. When you spoke, you would carve the air with the riblike edge of your little hand and the glint of a bracelet on your thin wrist. Your hair would melt as it merged with the sunlit air that quivered around it. You smoked copiously and nervously. You exhaled through both nostrils, obliquely flicking off the ash. Your dove-gray manor was five versts from ours. Its interior was reverberant, sumptuous, and cool. A photograph of it had appeared in a glossy metropolitan magazine. Almost every morning, I would leap onto the leather wedge of my bicycle and rustle along the path, through the woods, then along the highway and through the village, then along another path toward you. You counted on your husband’s not coming in September. And we feared nothing, you and I—not your servants’ gossip, not my family’s suspicions. Each of us, in a different way, trusted fate.