By Alison Pick
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Extra info for Far to Go (P.S.)
It amazed her, really, how he’d grown. The everyday miracle of it. She went quietly into his bedroom; he was on his back with his arms above his head and his fat cheeks flushed like the belly of the coal stove. Since the incident at the train station he had taken to sleeping with one of his lead soldiers clutched in his hand. He clung to it like a vial of magic potion that had rendered him unconscious and would now be required to bring him back to the world of the living. It was almost, she thought, as though the whole country had fallen into slumber.
The thought of war terrified her, and she clung to him tightly. “What will I do? ” “Pavel will protect you,” Ernst said mildly. She lifted her chin to hold his eye. ” She could see Ernst wanted to give Pavel the benefit of the doubt, to paint his friend in the best possible light, as though in apology for his earlier comment. “You have your wife,” Marta heard herself say in the petulant voice of a child. Ernst’s gaze softened; he ran the pad of his thumb over her bottom lip. “And you have your beauty,” he said, as though that would solve anything.
It was Ernst—she’d known it would be. He’d shaved since the night before, she saw, and his sweater had been replaced with an Austrian cloak like Pavel’s. An ostrich feather stuck out from the side of his cap. He seemed a different man from the one she’d just been with, remote and apart from her. To think of the intimacies they had so recently shared made her flush. “We were just talking about you,” Pavel smiled, and clapped his friend on the shoulder. ” Ernst looked at Marta. ” Pavel said. ” Ernst made a noise in the back of his throat that seemed, to Marta, noncommittal.
Far to Go (P.S.) by Alison Pick