“A big novel? It’s still early for you to write a big novel. Now, don’t get offended, but I don’t think you’re ready to deal with a larger form. Forgive me, but the alcoholic shows up even in your writing—immediately you get caught up in the grandiose thing without having learned to deal with the trifles. Try to become a dab hand with the small forms. Actually, it’s up to you. So long. I’m off.” David shook hands with Martin and quickly walked toward the silver turnstiles.

Climbing the stairs to the platform, David for some reason brought his right palm to his nose. He sniffed it. There was hardly any scent. There were no scars or cuts, no wedding ring on David’s hand. His hand was perfectly clean.


Chapter Two

“She grabbed her purse and, swearing at me a fucking Pole, left. I waited for Sunshine for several weeks, in spite of being certain that she wouldn’t come back. And my intuition was right.

What happened to her later I don’t know. Recently I saw Sunshine in my dreamshe drifted across the river. She was wearing an astonishingly white dress. She called me to her. I woke up with tears on my face.”

“That’s Shakespearean emotions there!” David pressed the arch of his glasses and held his index finger for a moment on the bridge of his nose.

He recalled that bum when he visited the shelter to write the article. The short blonde who had a large black eye and wore a silly hat, she walked through the churchyard and laughed loudly. David went up to her—she was drunk and in rags. He started to urge her to get treatment for her alcoholism.

She listened to David and seemed to agree with everything. She suddenly grabbed him firmly by the shoulder and pulled him close, repeating deliriously with a heavy Polish accent: “Yes, yes, I’m an unfortunate, I am miserable whore…”  In a blink David even felt the strength and heat of her still young body. But it lasted only a moment. Suddenly she started to laugh insolently and, pulling away from David’s chest, screamed: “Go to hell, you, bald bastard! Kur-r-rva! Come back to me in a few years!”  And she ran off toward some guy. That was all he really remembered about her.