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5 beai Patrick Beai Une femme fran├žaise There were pictures. Three rolls. Ektachrome. Rebecca said, "We should have a drink." Arturo stood against the house. In another photograph his wife and children protected a temple. They were living in Japan. Rebecca handed the photos to Paul. They had met only a week earlier. When he danced with her he wondered what she was like. On the wharf in Lahaina tourists amble from shop to shop. An immense banyon tree towers over the square. Susan Hatch traces the course of the young man carrying a knapsack, the haole she had seen in Hana. He seems to be watching for someone, to be awaiting a signal. Susan peers into the throng but sees no one. At the corner near the Sprindrift he hesitates. This party, a birthday celebration. Chambers accosted woman after woman. His daughter fell and cut her forehead. Celine was sixteen. At school other girls have beaten her. They said she was gay. Chambers jacked the stereo to its limit. He wanted to fuck one of the women. It didn't matter which one. The icepack slipped from Celine's forehead shortly after she fell asleep. When Rebecca looked at him she didn't know what she was seeing. His hair was thinning. He was older than she. The lighting was harsh. His position was stable, his Mercedes comfortable. He called to suggest that they meet at a bar. Rebecca agreed. Rebecca spoke to him as if he were standing in another century. Vermilion was the dominant tone. Rebecca spoke of a married man. Of several. They came and went. They sought physical compassion. They drove expensive cars. They wore linen jackets. Rebecca had no grievance with their wives. Nestled in a rain forest: Long limbs and thick foliage shelter the hut. Rain filters through the trees. A single kerosene lamp illumines the bare room. A short wave radio rests on the table in the center of the room. Orsini stares at the radio, his attention secure. Wallace sleeps on a mat on the floor. Water seeps through the roof and drips onto the floor. As she sipped her White Russian, Paul studied the contours of her face. Intelligence. Contempt secreted in the brows. She owned a cat. She once owned a dog. Silhouetted against an exterior light, Rebecca fit the 6 the minnesota review space as well as any woman he had ever known. Max died two weeks prior to his twelfth birthday. "How is Celine?" Rebecca asked. She had heard about the accident. Celine had introduced herself at a club some weeks earlier. Chambers took one woman by the shoulder, whispered / want tofuck you. Said / want to throw you on thefloor andfuck you. She shook her head and pulled herself away. When they left the bar they heard sirens in the North. A cat crept from the bushes. They drove in a wide arc to the West and North. They drove past the houses she wanted to live in. "It's too late," Rebecca said. "They've already pulled their drapes." Chambers' wife died when Celine was five. He never remarried. He lived with a woman for several years in the early Seventies. Celine could not account for her father's passion. Nor for her own. The telephone rang. Paul listened as Rebecca listened to a distant image . She mentioned a sister. Mary Catherine. A separation. Two children confused. A family in turmoil. Advice spun to her from sources not previously tapped. She set the phone upon its cradle. He spoke to Celine at irregular intervals. Rebecca asked whether he wanted anything to drink. They listened to Van Dyke Parks. Few words were spoken. Celine asked ifshe could see him in the afternoon. She wanted to drive into the Hill Country. She wanted to know ifhe would dance with her. He could imagine being with Celine, only: What was he to say? The phone presented difficulty enough. Paul woke in the morning with a stiff prick. They ate breakfast at the deli around the corner from her apartment. Juice, onion bagels and cream cheese, coffee. Rebecca read the newspaper. He flicked through it and spent most of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 5-12
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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