The Time Remaining
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Syracuse University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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According to the police report
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According to the police report, a detective named Martin Cobb, based in the District of Columbia, was shot at the wheel of a Mercedes coupe while he was waiting for a red light to change one block south of Dupont Circle. The only witness to the incident (a tourist from Maine) reported that he saw a Washington taxi ...
Part I. Ahead of Time
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He calls her Holly. She turns toward him and says, “My name’s Janet. How would you like it if I called you George or Harry and not Dodge?” She waits for him to answer and adds, “Just how would you like that, Mr. Dodge Gilchrist?” Dodge tells her it would make no difference. ...
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Looking at Tabry for the first time in four months, Gilchrist notices the burst of gray in his otherwise black hair—not gray at the temples in the customary pattern but a swatch of gray just to the right of the crown. Even though Tabry is only a year younger than Gilchrist, it always seemed to Gilchrist that Tabry was his senior. ...
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Strolling back from Tabry’s house to his apartment, Gilchrist passes a Georgetown restaurant and overhears a recording of Judy Collins singing “Both Sides Now.” The words bring Gilchrist to a stop—“I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from near and far and still somehow . . .” The words suggest a face that’s part of a time ...
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Gilchrist watches Ruby crush her cigarette into a zigzag in the ashtray beside his bed and stand. She has always appeared to him as a woman who looks exactly her age, unlike the others he has known who strive to look younger or older. If someone guessed that Ruby Levenson was thirty-two years old, he or she would be exactly right. ...
Part II. Raya’s Time
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Now as she sits at Gilchrist’s desk in his apartment while he explains what working with him will entail, she appears much more sure of herself. When Gilchrist looks at her, he notices that she does not look down but directly back at him in an attitude of complete attention. ...
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“She’s doing a good job, if that’s what you mean,” Gilchrist is saying to Tabry. They are walking in the garden of Dumbarton Oaks where Tabry asked Gilchrist to meet him. “Does she talk to you about what she is doing? Does she like it?” ...
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Gilchrist watches Raya approach him down the path from the inn. As she nears him, he has the sense that she has the walk of a dancer. She seems almost weightless, and she walks without self-consciousness, as if walking is secondary to her and she is capable of more balletic movements. ...
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Gilchrist knows it is Ruby. Even though the horse and rider are more than fifty yards away, he can see clearly that the woman in the saddle has blonde hair and that the horse is the color of cordovan—Ruby’s favorite bay. As the bay canters across the pasture and up the bridle path to Gilchrist’s cottage, ...
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Raya prints out the page she has just typed and reads, supplying, as Gilchrist has insisted, the punctuation marks as she goes. “If a person persists in his dissent in the country in question (comma) he may be arrested as a public annoyance with the hope that a temporary incarceration will cure him of his problem (period) ...
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Les s than two day s after his return from Saranac, Gilchrist is at his desk in his Washington apartment, proofreading the final page of his Latin American manuscript when the telephone rings. ...
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Gilchrist knows that Raya will arrive promptly at nine o’clock. One of the qualities that he recognized in her from the beginning of their work together was her scrupulous punctuality. Since returning from Saranac, Gilchrist has neither seen nor spoken with her. All that he now has in his mind’s forefront is what Tabry broached to him ...
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Gilchrist imagines that he is sinking. For more than two hours he has been on his back in bed, but the sleep he thirsts for does not come, and it seems as distant now as it appeared when he first came to bed. He reaches toward his bed stand and switches on his shortwave radio. ...
Part III. The Time of Night
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The detective that Gilchrist is speaking to is holding a small pad on which he has already made a number of notes. He has identified himself as Martin J. Cobb, placing particular emphasis on the J as if there is another detective in the department with the same first and last name and with whom he does not want to be confused. ...
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“Since Mis s Tabry has no next of kin, I’m going to tell you exactly what her condition is and what we can and cannot do and expect. From what you’ve told me, you are now the only person who has any direct connection or responsibility in this matter. My name is Dr. Voss, Mr. Gilchrist. ...
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For more than two weeks Gilchrist has come to her hospital room every afternoon. On most afternoons he sits in silence. At other times he reads his newspaper column aloud as if expecting Raya to comment on it. At other times he simply begins a conversation and then stops when he realizes that the answer he is expecting is not going to be said. ...
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Gilchrist almost tells Dr. Voss that he is beginning to tire of the word encouraging. It is part of the argot of officialdom that he, as a writer, loathes. Government officials are “concerned.” Diplomats are “cautiously optimistic.” Doctors are “encouraged.” ...
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Gilchrist is sit ting in the visitor’s chair beside Raya’s bed. He is holding her hand. He remembers Dr. Voss’s telling him that there had been a definite response when Voss asked her if she could hear him. Gilchrist is waiting for something similar to happen. ...
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By the time Gilchrist reaches Raya’s room it is almost nine o’clock. His intention was to come much earlier, but a deadline for his column forced him to work through the afternoon and the dinner hour. Now as he sits in his usual chair and studies Raya’s face, which he invariably does to see some change, ...
Part IV. The Time at Hand
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It is now three weeks since she opened her eyes, and, however hard she tries, Raya can only remember the fire. And the images never change. She is running into the living room where the sofa and the draperies are in flames. She sees Tabry half on the floor and half on the sofa, then reaches under his armpits and tries to tug him across the floor ..
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In the weeks that follow, Raya progresses through simple therapies to those that are more complex. All during this time Gilchrist is with her every day, telling her that she is coming along very well, that it will just take time until she is fully herself again, that he will be there for her. She listens to everything that he says as if each word is her link to reality itself. ...
Part V. Time in the Balance
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The let ter in Gilchrist’s hand seems like something alive as he turns it slowly to the light. The handwriting on the white pages blurs until he brings the pages to eye level and rereads what he has already read twice. Having memorized the salutation (“My dearest Dodge . . .”) and the first sentence ...
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On the following day Gilchrist has his telephone number changed. For a week or more after that there are no additional threatening calls. Gradually, the matter of the telephone calls becomes a secondary issue for Gilchrist. What comes to replace it is the result of a meeting with Ruby. ...
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Still carrying her letter and reading it again and again as he walks, he enters the bedroom to find the closet empty of her few dresses, skirts, and blouses, the drawers of the bureau similarly empty, her toiletries in the bathroom gone. He sits down on the edge of the bed and finishes reading her letter for the fourth time. ...
Part VI. The Time Preceding
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Not that it had been much different from what he expected. He had read enough about Israel to know what its internal and foreign policies were. But knowing in theory, as he knew from his experience as a reporter, was never the same as knowing in fact, and now, at the conclusion of his two-week stint in Israel, he knows much more in fact. ...
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Gilchrist was almost finished shaving his right cheek when Ruby telephoned him. She told him she was in the hotel restaurant on her way to the airport and had to see him. He informed her that he was under constant surveillance and then asked her again if she thought it was a good idea for her to be seen with him ...
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Having learned to evade the Katzenjammers with the aid of Samir and his brother, Gilchrist was determined to meet other Israelis whom he would never have a chance to meet as long as his schedule was controlled by Gelb and his staff. He had compiled a list of names—a former general, a lawyer with the Peace Now movement, ...
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“It’s good to be known by one name. Everybody knows me as Rachel. The Palestinians know me as Rachel. To the Israelis I’m Rachel. And, of course, to my mother I’m Rachel.” She laughed and indicated to Gilchrist that he should seat himself beside a three-legged table where two cups of coffee were positioned opposite one another, ...
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Dr. Sharak joined his hands behind his neck, leaned back in his swivel chair, and contemplated the ceiling. Behind him were shelves of books with scientific titles. To the left of the bookcase was a framed citation that Gilchrist recognized as the Nobel Prize awarded to Sharak years earlier for his work on the desalinization of water. ...
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“One of my college professors told me years ago, Mr. Nagid, that the best way to understand a culture or a people is to read the work of the best poets. He added, by the way, that the least-reliable way was to rely on politicians. Not just politicians but officials of any kind, since they are maintainers of the status quo. ...
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Because Gelb and Ruby were out of the country, Gilchrist found himself being driven to the Ben Gurion Airport by Gelb’s adjutant, a young colonel named Assaf Avrom. With his ink-black hair and swarthy complexion, the colonel could easily have passed for an Arab, according to Gilchrist’s initial impression of him. ...
Part VII. Time and the City
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Gilchrist remembers that Tabry once told him that Washington was a battleground. For years Gilchrist had just considered the capital as something like a field of play, a place where power was concentrated and where power made certain things happen, a chessboard with chessboard margins or rules. ...
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On the following Monday morning, Gilchrist is waiting in his Mercedes in front of his apartment. When he finally sees Dr. Voss drive out of the underground garage of the apartment in a white Chrysler two-door, he follows him through the crowded Georgetown streets, down Pennsylvania Avenue, ...
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“Thank you for those wonderful welcoming words,” says Holly. “I am truly happy to be back home before returning to Ireland so I can say a few words about one of Ireland’s greatest writers, my late husband, Julian Mattimore. In each of his twelve novels we are given a different picture of different Irish people in their different lives, ...
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During his drive back to Washington and to the appointment he has finally agreed to keep at the Israeli Embassy, Gilchrist thinks of nothing but Raya. The surprise of seeing and hearing Holly and realizing mile by mile what a fool he has been for almost an entire wasted decade because of her ...
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After parking the Mercedes in its slot, he lets habit alone lead him to the elevator and then to his apartment. He opens the door, shuts it behind him, and leans against it. He closes his eyes and relaxes as if the door might be his vertical bed. It is only then that he detects a scent in the room that does not belong there. ...
Part VIII. The Time Remaining
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“It was all on television. It’s all that was on for hours. I couldn’t turn away. Look. I’m still wearing my nightgown. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I should get dressed. Then I thought it would be best to wait. I didn’t know what to do.” ...
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He picks up the cup again and drains the coffee left in it. He has the reassuring sense of almost total recall now, and he proceeds to tell her what happened after he and Cobb arrived at Ruby’s house in McLean. He does not tell her that his study of assassins had given him all the grim alternatives he might be facing in this case. ...
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Even though it was still evening, the moon was out early, and Gilchrist had no problem finding his way to the front door of the house. He put his hand on the doorknob and turned it a full twist. The door opened. Gilchrist paused for a moment and then entered. Then he waited, hoping that Braheem would announce himself. ...
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At this point in his retelling, Gilchrist pauses and looks across the table at Raya, who has not interrupted him and is reliving his story in her own present tense. He wants to tell her that he doesn’t understand, even in retrospect, what more Braheem wanted except to confront Gelb and to have him for a time at his complete mercy. ...
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What ha ppened after that remains a blur for Gilchrist. His retelling of it to Raya becomes almost haphazard, as if he is piecing the story together as he goes simply in order to convince himself that what happened happened. He tells Raya that he and Braheem waited for several moments after Gelb left the house ...
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“The telephone. Remember the call I made to the house before you came out? I don’t know if you did it on purpose or not, but you never ended the call, never cut the connection. I heard everything that was said by you and Gelb until the end. It’s all recorded.” ...
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“Both. If I decide to write about this whole business, he said he would be willing to help me.” He pauses. “I don’t think he realizes what he is getting into. It’s brave of him to volunteer, but I’m not going to put him in that position. He has too much to lose.” ...
Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2012