He left the synagogue, just as sick and broken as before. But that evening he didn’t drink a drop of whiskey, promising himself that he would look for work in the morning.

And a month later he returned to the previous David—energetic, decisive, and somewhat self-enamored. He took a position as editor of a local magazine, which published some modern literature, political and business commentary. Sometimes he wrote articles, occasionally took vacations in the Caribbean or Florida. He didn’t return to his wife, but he visited his son often. His relationships with women were short-lived. In a word, he lived the tempestuous lifestyle of a bachelor.

For some reason, his two books, which were on the bookshelf, he removed, hid them away in a dark closet, and tried not to recall them.

It seemed he had accepted his fate. But then, all of a sudden, he met Martin.


The United Nations building on 40th Street in Manhattan has such wide staircases! On the walls are close-up photos of United Nations workers feeding hungry children, giving Hepatitis immunizations to poor African or Asian villagers, and testing them for HIV. Children’s drawings and posters, in all languages calling for disarmament, cooperation and peace, are displayed everywhere. The lobby is full of tourists, delegates, ambassadors, and guards.

Sitting in a soft leather armchair in the hall, David scrolled through the news on his cell phone. A press conference given by an important politician had just ended. Then David put his cell into his pocket, stood up, and headed for the exit.



A woman of about 35, in a dark modest skirt and buttoned-up dark blue blouse, stood in front of him. Her dark hair was neatly combed and parted on the side, displaying her pale oval face with its smooth forehead, narrow chin and thin nose. Her large dark brown eyes were outlined delicately. She was of medium height and nicely built, though her shoulders were a little narrow for her hips. But this little disproportion was hardly noticeable, disguised by the well thought-out cut of her skirt.