“Good. Do you have a long dark skirt and black t-shirt in your wardrobe? I guarantee you we’re gonna make a fucking mind-blowing video: “Carmen”—music from Bizet, plus a little Rolling Stones. What do you think, huh?” He gave thumbs up, anticipating the filming. “How about tonight, at eight?”

“Yeah, tonight at eight!” Carmen suddenly clasped his head and, pulling him close to her, kissed his hair. She’d thought somehow that the filming was over, that Roy had had enough of monkeying around. No way! The shooting would continue! Three, two, one…action!

And, without saying a word, she quickly walked away. Whether accidently or not, she caught up to Michelle, who was walking along the water’s edge, no longer looking over at her husband after so many attempts to distract him from this beach beauty. When Carmen came alongside Michelle, she suddenly began waving her arms; clearly, she was saying something to Michelle. Roy couldn’t catch a word of it.

He watched these two receding women and could not help but compare them. Carmen walked in the style of a professional stripper. Roy already knew from Carmen that not too long ago she danced in strip clubs and worked as an escort; in short, she was involved in the sex-business. He didn’t doubt that every last stitch of her was woven from falsehood—falsehood and make-believe.

But Michelle, his Michelle, strict and pure, seemed wan and featureless next to Carmen. Even Michelle’s neck, her swan-like neck, which gave her stature an air of flexibility and uncommon grace, did not look like this anymore.

Roy sensed how strongly and often his heart began to beat when his gaze now fell on Carmen.

His fingers moved automatically, as if searching for the shutter release on a camera. For some reason he wanted to immortalize this scene.

“Eh, none of it’s a big deal! I’ll dilly dally with Carmen a little longer and then get to work for the new film.” He ran to the oncoming waves, and when the water was up to his chest, he dove in.