Dear Eva

 

Dear, dear Eva:

I keep poor track of the seasons. It is hot, it is March, it is whirling into dark winter. If only I could prolong these pink evenings, when I walk to see the bright Hudson—the river churns up pink foam and pink shine, the pink-masked taxicabs go marauding, and the prophetess (with her one duct-taped crutch) screams and pisses outside Duane Reade. These pink evenings—volatile, crude—when I feel your terrible presence. I see you and your sloped tigress back, prowling the wilds of the bed, evading me, slipping from corner to corner, your knees and palms roiling the sheets. What a trail you left for me, Eva. What a terrible circuit to follow.

The other day, or month, I left the park at 77th and paused by the statue of Humboldt. He wore a cap of snow on his head—the only fresh snow we had left. All other banks and fields and ledges of snow had been crushed, muddied, liquefied, spattered, mashed to sludge by doggies and toddlers. Our city is as dirty and perfect, Eva, as it has always been. My boots were wet and crusted from my morning traipse. I carried a maple switch in my hand and whipped at the backs of my legs.

"Andrew L. Fitz," a woman's voice said, and there was Leandra Krullman.

She was pregnant, though she looked far too old. Almost fifty-older than me. It saddens me to see big women who are also, uncomfortably, pregnant. She stood with her hands on top of her stomach: she still wore too many rings, all of them too large, including a blocky onyx piece around her index finger. She frowned at me—that special, unwarranted Leandra frown—as though I were covered in blood.

Do you remember spilling champagne on Leandra after your thesis defense? Each time you bit into a strawberry you would burst out laughing: you were that exhausted. Leandra, oblivious, oblivious always, stood between us and asked you questions. Did Rosler follow the protocol, or did Rosler stray to odd topics? Wasn't McCleary prescriptive? I don't think it was her self-interest you hated—poor L was only arming herself for her own, upcoming defense—so much as it was her waddling resistance to charm, wit, pleasure, and slyness. You gave half-answers, then curt, cruel answers, then fussy and detailed recitals. You looked at me, unbelieving, as L produced more and more questions. You lifted your glass, traced a circle with it—I think you were asking me Why?—and, with some shudder or flourish from you, the glass tipped onto Leandra. How awful that was, Eva. The splash caught L in the mouth and silenced her. A little mass of bubbles crisped across her wet cheeks and her neck.

Was it an accident? Was it malicious? I know you'll never tell me. The scene will never be resolved: L wiping her sternum, wetting her palm, and refusing your balled cocktail napkin.

Disbelieve if you will, but L looks much better these days—even when she's frowning. Her size now makes her seem handsome. She's one of the pregnant queens of the park, out for her daily rotation, not pleased or annoyed by the gritty slush but surveying her own inner kingdom. She wore sneakers—they looked wet through—and she rubbed the high dome of her belly.

"I'm Leandra Fishman now." She extended one hand.

"Still just Fitz," I said.

"Who else would you be?"

Her onyx ring scraped my palm and my thumb. I laughed. I said, "Mazel tov, L."

She spoke about her husband. You weren't there, of course, but I felt you—alert, impatient, critical, prying—as though you were touching my hand. Who could marry Leandra? you wanted to know. How sour and pedantic was he?

I never understood all the green hatred, the fertile distrust, that thrived between you and L. I could see why Leandra resented you: you were moneyed and lovely; difficult, favored. You had a womanly, dark, crass joy. You came to seminar unshowered and bad-tempered and primed to fight, and still you won the room's love. But I don't know why you weren't merciful—weren't kinder to L, or easier on her—you, who had every advantage.

My own position has always been to play the courtly fool. L says, "I just published in EHQ," and I say, "I never publish." The fun of spending time with L is that she does not process humor. The frown (alarm, disapproval, and wild, smug excitement), then: "How do you expect to get tenure?" And so on. She truly is a delight.

"Did she invite you to her wedding?" L said.

"She who?"

"Eva Rosenberg. Now she's Eva Katzer."

I tapped my switch against my knee. "I was invited. I didn't go."

L moved her hands on her belly, as though she'd just felt a kick. She looked at me, taking in my switch and pants and coat and face, her hands still moving in two slow circles around her body's equator.

She said, "I wouldn't have wanted to, either."

When you took me to Jerusalem, Eva, to the Old City and in, toward the Holy of Holies, I met the ancient pulse of the world and doubled it in my body. Reddening, gold-flaring, unruly sunset: the Haredim sang, recalling the temple, as bells and muezzins wailed. It was as though time's boundaries dissolved here in the twilight: Crusaders and Romans and Byzantines returned for plunder or worship, and so did the British, the Ottomans, the Mongols and Canaanites. I could feel, if not see, the bloody crosses, the slaves, the forced dispersals, that poor blessed goose pursued through the centuries over steppes and mountains by peasants. Now I, conqueror, had arrived, too.

You wore a red skirt and sandals and laughed into your phone, one hand stroking and tugging my belt.

"Fitzy speaks Hebrew," you said, watching me. "Absolutely true. I can prove it."

You held the phone to my mouth.

How outside I felt, how excluded, everywhere in Israel. You didn't pity me—and shouldn't have—but it was a new feeling for me. On the streets, near the fruit stalls, in restaurants, on beaches, I resembled no one in manners or looks. I bartered because I felt obligated. I was scalded pink, forehead and nose, every day of our trip. I was the very stiffest of goys, and yet you had chosen me. Before Israel, I had never noticed the difference, had never questioned your choice.

"Go," you whispered. "Andrew. Talk."

I spoke my five baby phrases.

Both of you laughed, you and your brother, the same laugh from you and the phone. Your earrings flashed gold with each new movement. You walked away, walked back, your hand on your forehead, laughed and panted and sighed.

You said, "He looks ashamed of himself," and then said something in Hebrew.

Jacob came (from Haifa, I think) to observe Yom Kippur. Tall Jacob, eldest and quietest brother: you laughed much less with him. He brought two dark-haired daughters and one little son who loved you and called you his doda. The girls were you—your face, your hair—three Evas, three beautiful Evas. You wore white sandals and skirts and sweaters, times three, so bright against your rich tans. All of you were rehearsing for death, all dressed in luminous grave-clothes. The frantic city calmed that night. It emptied, quieted, darkened. We walked, floated, a city in white, down the street and past the dark gardens and unlit storefronts and homes. Children in white rode bicycles. Your nieces chased a white dog. You and your brother walked far ahead, your arms round each other's waists.

I was left with your nephew somehow. He trailed a blanket and cried ragefully, snot-blowingly, at his unhappy position. Each time a new pair of shoes walked past, he stopped, looked up, frowned and considered, then roared at the unknown face. I was not what he wanted, poor man. I gave him a five-foot berth.

"Look at that," I said, and pointed. "Even the dogs are white."

They were—all of them were. How magical and uncanny. But your nephew ignored me: he screamed, then tripped on his blanket and stood with blood on his chin.

You married late. I doubt you'll have children. There we're equal, at least.

Leandra invited me to a talk she was giving on women in Florence's Renaissance ghetto. I think she likes me much better now—now that I'm not with you. She wrote down the date and the place and the title and said, several times, "You should come." Do you know? I felt flattered by that. My little ego felt soothed. I looked her up when I returned home: Dr. L Fishman, formerly Krullman, Chair of Renaissance Studies. I hate to tell you this, but she's been very successful. Three books. Two research assistants. This much-publicized talk. I felt so pleased by her warm invitation that I almost went.

You must remember how strange Cambridge felt when we returned from Israel. We left the dry sun, the olives and palms, and flew into a month-long display of rain and battering winds. After your fourth umbrella was broken—and your fifth stolen from lecture—you took a waterproof coat from my closet (you never returned it to me). You rolled the cuffs six or seven times each in order to free your hands. You leaned all the way over to zip from mid-calf, and you shrank the big hood with the drawstring. Such purposeful fury: you wore it each day—creased and wetted and lashed with street dirt—till the rain changed to snow in December.

You came to my room late at night in the coat (you'd been studying—already, months in advance—for your general exam). You kicked your feet out of your boots, unzipped, dropped the coat on the floor.

"Evie," I said.

You removed sweater, shirt, jeans, and socks. You climbed in, tugging the blanket.

I said, "That thing's going to cause a leak downstairs."

You said, "I'm going to make aliyah."

Jacob had asked—more than once, in my presence—when you planned to immigrate and settle, for good, in Israel. He never looked at me when he spoke of it. One hand flat on the restaurant table, one hand over his tea glass.

"No," I said. "Your PhD."

"Andrew," you said, "I'm joking."

You spoke of the beaches, the beautiful heat, the summers that lasted six months. Then of your cousins in Tel Aviv; of Jacob, your nieces and nephew. I remember you lifted one arm from under the blanket and released the heat trapped between us. You said, "I will move there eventually."

"You're joking again."

"It's where I'm going to have children."

I pulled the blanket back up, toward my chest, and exposed my feet.

"Andrew." You turned in the dark and touched my forehead. "You're important to me."

Of course it was still raining. The heavy downpour marbled the windows—a thick crawl that glittered, flared, when some wary car followed its headlights further down Robinson Street.

I had tutorial that fall with Leandra, Bateman, and Arturo. We met in that strange basement room—the one with the small, high windows and (always, inexplicably) cold pastries and cold coffee. I was there early, choosing a Danish. Leandra walked in. She shook her umbrella and speckled the chairs.

I don't remember what she was wearing that day, but I do recall that it was the semester when her hair was cropped brutally short. Somehow it looked wilder—frizzed, in vertical pieces—when there was less of it. We exchanged good mornings, stirred milk in our coffees. L opened her book on the table.

You had left my bed early that morning. I had been awake, and exhausted, and I watched as you buttoned your jeans, secured your hair, and picked up the heaped coat from the floor. It was wearing on me—the rain, the work, and your long nights in the stacks. I was on my third coffee and was not yet awake. I needed Leandra's attention.

I stood behind L and examined her book.

"That's a mikvah," I said. The glossy page pictured a bath—quite deep, made of stone, with irregular steps and filled with glossy water.

L looked up. "How do you know that word?"

"It's beautiful. It's medieval?"

"Yes."

"Eva taught me about them."

L made some kind of mild snort.

"Will you tell me more?" I sat in the chair beside hers.

I remember so little of what she told me. A shame—it was a good lecture. I know that L wore a ring shaped like a dragon: thick and silver, with tiny bared fangs, it circled her finger three times. The phrase ritual ablutions. I thought of you and your family: how, when you were a child, your mother left you and your brothers in Jacob's care when she left for the West Side mikvah. And you began going—in secret, to a different mikvah—when you were first having sex. How strange to imagine you then, a teenager, devout and ashamed and lusting for someone, immersed in the deep warm bath. You did not observe the rules when we were together, though you defended them.

Do you go now, Mrs. Katzer? Is your marriage bed pure?

"If you want to abase yourself," L said, "and believe you're unclean. If you want to be degraded. Then you should go in the mikvah."

She was frowning and flushed, the mikvah book shut. She knocked her ring on the table.

"Frankly, I agree," I said.

"Do you?" She looked quite ferocious.

"Who's afraid of menstrual blood?"

"You'd better not say that to Eva."

We talked about mikvahs and plague in the middle ages, and plague and Judaism. I knew as much as L about these topics. We both felt pleased with ourselves.

"Leandra," I said. "Israel scares me."

"What?" Leandra said.

Arturo opened the door to the classroom—his leather satchel was soaked, tender-looking, so dark as to be almost black. He touched the bill of his Red Sox cap, dropped his satchel, and left.

L required me to explain my position: what I feared, why I feared it, whose side I supported. I told her about the Jerusalem cats: those little, scruffy, feral gangs that clustered on the dumpsters. As I passed, I would see one orange cat, one white cat, both coiled in defensive positions—backs arched, ears flat, neither moving, rigid. And then I'd see four more cats, grouped on either side—and seven, eight, eleven more on the sidewalk. Gray and black and spotted with mange, all frozen in hostile stasis. I hated to see those little starved cats. I hated my guilt and their desperation, their notched ears and missing eyes, their soft, dirty bellies exploded by truck wheels, the blood sometimes dry, sometimes flowing.

Leandra leaned against her fist.

I said, "Am I wrong to feel this way?"

"You're into something you don't understand." She reopened her book.

When Arturo returned, he had a hot coffee, acrid and steam-releasing. How like him—never to drink the leftover stuff. He lifted it, as if in a toast, smiling at me as he sipped.

I don't want to talk about Arturo. I don't want him here.

It must be springtime now—brief, impetuous spring. The trees in the park have sprouted fresh blossoms. I see women running and more strollers, I swear, than before.

I went in search of your wedding announcement. It was short, disappointing, functional. It mentioned Katzer's profession (litigator), but nothing at all about yours. There was no photo—the real disappointment. I had hoped to see Katzer.

Was the wedding lavish, or did you, at forty-three, want to keep it quiet? Of course you were no less beautiful: I imagine pearls in your hair. The most emphatic lines in your face must be from laughter and squinting. Or perhaps the look of your harshest anger has already marked you, mouth and forehead both. That expression always discomfited me. I imagined you'd use it on children.

Seven years since I last saw you, Eva.

It's as though you've become the muse of my days—such as my days now are. I walk, I grade papers, I lecture, I talk in meaningless, jovial tones. I hardly write. Haven't published in quite a while. The department will sniff me out soon.

My muse—my goddess—Clio, perhaps. Poor men of the Middle Ages. They only had sad Mary to worship (and, sadder yet, a Mary with lopsided breasts, meant to confuse their lust). A goddess, I'd argue, is not an abstraction. She's a personal force—a unique, vital presence. She's ruled by her tempers and wants. And, when the goddess visits my life, I'm ruled by those tempers, too. I do feel you everywhere now. Your delight, your displeasure, your early-morning detachment, your nighttime intensity. As I shower and cook for myself and speak to my landlady, Susan.

I wish we had not taken that trip. You had your research in Languedoc, and Arturo had his in Spain. I had books to page through at the Sorbonne. Really, I wanted to be with you. The train took us away from dark, secret Paris, into a broad and assured sunlit landscape of dusty lavender fields. "Women and the Courts of Love"—that was your working title. "The realities of women's lives in the world of troubadour culture." It was something better than that. You wore bright cotton dresses and your glasses and carried legal pads and a large camera. We visited churches, museums, castles, archaeological sites, and we spoke to so many old women. Or rather, you spoke. In Marseilles, we met Arturo.

He had such a healthy tan. His Red Sox cap was bleached pink.

"Was it awful?" you said. You leaned over the table. You were drinking a Coke.

Arturo looked at me, then you. Leaving Madrid, he said, was like leaving the womb, like crawling back into sunlight. "I never should have gone." He mimicked the way that his elderly aunts had greeted him each night when he returned from the stacks.

I remember you wore a sleeveless black dress, no glasses, a turquoise bracelet, and your hair was just washed. You laughed—not as though you found it actually funny. As though you wanted to please him. You squeezed a lemon into your Coke and re-crossed your tanned legs.

Arturo said, "How was la Sorbonne, Mr. Fitz?"

I said, "Very musty."

We were near the harbor: smell of fish and joyous dazzle and the restaurant's colored umbrellas. I had been glad, earlier that day, that we were meeting Arturo. I had wanted to show him a map—12th century, with sea-monsters, very charming—that I'd found at the Sorbonne. It was in my briefcase, under the table. And, I'll admit, I'd been glad at the prospect of seeing someone new. For days—really, weeks—you'd been irritated. And sometimes worse than irritated. When I forgot and ordered the squid while we were in Port Camargue, you stood from the table, tossed your napkin, and said that I was a beast. (Your French was infecting your English by then.) Your mere irritation was, at that point, constant. I avoided so many topics.

"I can't tell you," Arturo said, "how stifling it was. And how sublime it is here." He lifted his hand to signal 'two more'—a beer for each of us.

You said, "Do you love Provence?"

"It's more that I love this freedom." He tapped the table. So happy.

His mother, Gabriela Martín, was a dramatic woman, a poet. She took lovers into her eighties. Years back, she invited me to a reading, and I went without Arturo. (Where was he? He often had dinner dates with professors, invitations to summer homes, afternoon cocktails or concerts.) She saw me arrive—a few minutes late—and lifted one hand, mid-poem. "Thank the saints," she said, and everyone laughed. "My second son has arrived." She had someone move to accommodate me. She had me read from Neruda.

But you must have met Gabriela. Perhaps many times. Never when I was there.

Arturo had bouillabaisse that night, and wine and Pastis and brown cigarettes. When drunk, he used his hat as a prop, an extension of his gestures, and in so doing exposed his near-baldness. His hair was buzzed to the scalp.

When you and I left the table—it felt close to dawn—Arturo called you back. He said, "Eva." You went and placed one hand on the table and said, "Yes, Arturo Martín?"

Only a few days later you came to me where I sat, reading, on our small balcony. My knees touched the railing—the view was of clotheslines—but I could see dark birds circling and rising, and I could smell the salt harbor.

You wore a white dress. You leaned on the railing—an awkward position. There was only one chair.

I said, "Want to sit?"

No. You shook your head. You looked away, then back at me, still squinting from the sunset.

You said, "I want to go out by myself tonight. I intend to."

"Eva."

I stood and, unable to fully turn—the chair was trapped between the glass door and the railing, and I was trapped by it—I placed one hand on the railing, one over my eyes, and tried to look at you.

"I don't want to explain it," you said.

"Believe me. You don't have to."

"Andrew. It's terrible for me." You shook your hands, as if they were wet, and left through the sliding glass door.

I sat on the balcony all that night. I ate a tin of lemon sardines, scraping out the oily sauce with a coffee spoon.

Why couldn't you choose between us, Eva? Why didn't you just leave me?

You came to my bed once every few nights after that first disappearance. You arrived late, smelling of wine and sweat, smelling lovely, and crawled over me to your side. In the mornings you were shy, relaxed. You wanted to be touched. We took the train from Marseilles back to Paris. You looked out the window, one hand in your lap, as smeared fields and purplish-gray clouds flashed past and one hot lightning-fork dropped.

We still lived together in Cambridge. We had our Inman Square place, and Arturo had his in Central. I didn't die from my envy—not once. It was strange. It felt natural, somehow. Sometimes you called me when walking from Central to campus, and I imagined you reflected in the bright Mass Ave storefronts, wearing my shaggy beige sweater. There were flowers in our yard that bloomed in the fall. You carried water outside in a blue vase (you didn't realize that we had a hose) and you tipped it in splashes till both you and the ground were streaked with long dark pennants. I didn't think to ask you to marry me then. That was my worst mistake.

Sam came in February, one of those post-grad years. He slept on our couch, half-naked and wrapped in a quilt that my grandmother had made. He looked more like you than Jacob had and was funnier, louder, and sweeter. He was, without doubt, my favorite Rosenberg brother. You slept in my bed throughout his stay, but Arturo did come to dinner.

"It's verboten," Arturo said, and uncorked the bottle. His plate did not fall from his knee. "We stay indoors from September to May."

Sam said, "It's unhealthy. You're all like moles. Eva. You're paler than Andrew."

You held out your empty wineglass, laughing. You said, "That's a lie."

You had another niece in Haifa by then. You brought out Sam's photos from his last trip and showed them to Arturo.

"You know what Jacob would be saying right now." Sam pointed a finger in your direction, eyebrows lifted, as he drank more wine. "Make aliyah if you love them so much. That's what Jacob would say."

"Make what?" Arturo said.

You said, "Samuel, stop."

I explained aliyah to Arturo. The origins of the phrase and the movement; some of its emotional meanings. He frowned as I talked, then refilled his wineglass and left for the kitchen. I heard him turn on the sink.

"That was stupid," you said to Sam.

Sam said, "Why does he care?"

I gathered the plates and forks and stained napkins and went into the kitchen. Arturo was washing the red-crusted saucepan. He shook soap onto the sponge.

I put my hand on Arturo's back.

He said, "Has she talked about this with you?"

"Yes. They can hear us in there."

"Good. He'll learn all about his big sister,"

He was so sensitive. Gabriela encouraged this—she said it made him a finer man. When his food was undercooked at a restaurant, he felt personally injured. At times I thought he resented me, because I still lived with you. Yet more often it seemed that he needed my friendship. We ran together on the Charles and read each other's papers. We talked about news and poets, music and women, though we rarely spoke about you.

He said, "Is she planning to move there?"

Water spun from the faucet, a fat shining column that shattered in every direction when it hit the basin.

"No," I said.

"Has she said that?"

"I'm sure that she won't go."

Arturo removed his cap, rubbed his forehead with the back of his hand, and said, "We are the stupidest fuckers."

All of us were working terrible jobs right around that time. I was an adjunct; you were at the university press; Arturo was teaching high school. Of our cohort, only Leandra had nabbed a tenure-track post. Fuel to the ravaging fire.

You said, "I'm going to kill her the next time I see her. The way she looks at me!"

So I was surprised—frightened, in fact—to receive an email from L. She requested coffee and proposed a place and a time. I agreed, but changed the location. I couldn't risk being seen with her by either you or Arturo.

She wore a dress and large heeled shoes and thick-framed glasses—a new affectation. She sat down. She hadn't ordered a coffee. She said, "I don't want to tell you this, Andrew."

Can you believe it? Leandra had caught us in the act. Or rather, she believed she'd caught you. She'd seen you walking down Holyoke with your hand in Arturo's pocket. I felt a strange pride and anger as she spoke. Without meaning to, I dropped my wet spoon on the table.

"I told you it wasn't anything good."

"It's fine."

L said, "I'm sorry."

She seemed distracted and confused after that. I offered her my coffee.

"At least he won't be here much longer." L sipped carefully from the cleaner side of my cup. She licked her lips, then set the cup down, then lifted it again.

"Arturo? What are you talking about?"

"He won a Fulbright." She was frowning now—a self-righteous frown. "Of course she didn't tell you."

Exhausted, Eva. I feel so exhausted.

It is late, and dark. The other apartments that I can see glow soft blue, or don't glow at all. I can see just a slice of the Hudson, shining and moving like oil. Only one room—a child's room—has a pink light, and animals stacked in the window. When you and I were first together, so many years ago, the darkness was a soft, large space we longed for every sundown. Your white shape, breathing, in the bed, beneath the whiter sheets. A different bed—a different world—from the one I sit in now.

What will I do with this letter to you? I have nowhere to send it. The announcement didn't list an address.

I went that night to Arturo's place. He was alone—I don't know where you were. He sat in the dark, surrounded by papers and books, only one red lamp turned on, a sweating drink pooling its chill on the floor.

"Well?" he said. "You can see I'm busy."

He looked tired, almost sick, in that light.

I sat in the armchair—one of ours. Can't remember why he had it.

"Are you doing well?" I said.

"Did my mother send you?"

"Why are you so hostile?"

He tapped his pen against his desk. "Fitz," he said, "only you."

I spoke before of Arturo's moods. You must have known them better than I. I watched my old friend and wondered what drew you to him when he descended into such bitterness and arrogant melancholy.

I asked him about the Fulbright.

"I don't want to be nosy," I said, "but you owe some explanation."

"I'm going," he said.

"Have you told her yet?"

"You realize she's going to be fine."

I stood.

"She has you." He lifted his eyebrows, which creased his tanned head. "Her old sweetheart. Her champion lover. Her Andrew. Andrew the noble."

Things became very bad after he told you. You came home in the early mornings still crying. You crouched on the bed once, your boots still on, sobbing into my stomach. The separation was more than a Fulbright, perhaps. You brought home your make-up and shoes.

His mother, Gabriela Martín, came to see me soon after. I made her tea and opened the windows to make our apartment seem fresher and cleaner.

"Both of them have me very worried," she said. "Both are approaching ruin."

"Eva's been to see you?" I said.

"My son is crumbling." She made a gesture that looked much like crumbling—crumbling bread for birds in the park.

I was uncertain what she wanted from me. As she sat she combed out her hair with her veined, ringed fingers, again, again, and again. It was distress, not vanity. She kissed me five times before leaving.

You spent his last night in Cambridge with him. But he called me, at two in the morning. I had to come over, he said, right away. You were ill. Right away—you'd asked for me. You were in terrible pain.

I ran: faster than finding a taxi.

I knew when I saw you circling the bed, hands and knees, that your menstrual cramps had returned. You wore underwear and no bra. You crawled to one corner, then to the next, then arched your back, then collapsed. When you saw me, you began weeping.

Arturo stood in the doorway, rubbing his face, stretching the skin away from his eyes.

"Get out," I said, and he left.

I closed the door. I sat on the bed. You wept into my back.

"Eva," I said. "What do you love about me?"

You gasped. A natural part of your sobbing, perhaps. You said that you simply loved me.

I've always felt grateful for that. I still feel so grateful.

We moved to New York for your teaching job. We didn't hear from Arturo. On Fridays, you went with your mother to shul, wearing a scarf tied around your hair and a dress with long sleeves. It was strange to see you that way—modest and calm and severe. I joined for the dinners afterwards. I rejoiced in the Hebrew I knew, singing along even more loudly than you, your mother, or Sam. That was the year that I loved most. You were so content.

We learned the next fall from Gabriela that Arturo had disappeared. "He could be sick," Gabriela said. "He could be buried already." I tried to reach him—my old friend—because you were suddenly frantic. You no longer slept. You searched the internet, all night, for his name or his photo.

He surfaced: a postcard, from Istanbul. You went to meet him in Rome.

I am glad you married Katzer, not him. I hope that Jerusalem makes you happy. I understand that you've begun a new life: that you don't want contact with me. On days in the park when the leaves drop in spirals, I think of your two-season world. Summer, rain, then summer again. How good and orderly.

I miss you, Eva. I'll write again soon.

 

 

Warm regards from

Andrew L. Fitz

 

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