Long Lost Page 58

’’Terese?’’

’’I only gave birth that one time,’’ she said.

More silence.

’’Myron?’’

’’Yes?’’

’’I can\'t have any more children.’’

I said nothing.

’’It was a miracle that Miriam was born. But right after I gave birth, they had to do an emergency hysterectomy because I had fibroids. I can\'t have more children.’’

I closed my eyes. I wanted to say something comforting, but it all sounded so patronizing or superfluous. So I pulled her in a little closer. I didn\'t want to look ahead. I wanted to just lay here and hold her.

The Yiddish expression came back to me yet again: Man plans, God laughs.

I could feel her start to move away from me. I pulled her back to me.

’’Too early for this talk?’’ she said.

I thought about it. ’’Probably too late.’’

’’Meaning?’’

’’Right now,’’ I said, ’’I want to lie here with you and just be.’’

TERESE was asleep when I heard the key in the front door. I glanced at the bedroom clock. One AM.

I threw on a robe as Win and Mee entered. Mee gave me a little wave and said, ’’Hi, Myron.’’

’’Hi, Mee.’’

She headed into the next room. When she was gone, Win said, ’’When it comes to se*, I like to take a \'Mee first\' approach.’’

I just looked at him.

’’And the great thing is, it really doesn\'t take much to keep Mee satisfied.’’

’’Please stop,’’ I said.

Win stepped forward and hugged me hard. ’’Are you okay?’’ he asked.

’’I\'m fine.’’

’’Do you want to know something weird?’’

’’What?’’ I said.

’’This is the longest we\'ve been apart since our days at Duke.’’

I nodded, waited for the hug to subside, pulled back. ’’You lied about Bangkok,’’ I said.

’’No, I didn\'t. I do think the name is rather ironic. Bang. Cock. All the se* clubs.’’

I shook my head. We headed into a Louis-the-Something-type room with heavy woods and ornate sculptures and busts of guys with long hair. We sat in leather club chairs in front of the marble fireplace. Win tossed me a Yoo-hoo and poured himself an expensive scotch out of a decanter.

’’I was going to have coffee,’’ Win said, ’’but that keeps Mee up all night.’’

I nodded. ’’Almost out of Mee jokes?’’

’’God, I hope so.’’

’’Why did you lie about Bangkok?’’

’’Why do you think?’’ he asked.

But the answer was obvious. I felt the wave of shame crash over me again. ’’I gave you up, didn\'t I?’’

’’Yes.’’

I felt the tears, the fear, the now-familiar shortness of breath. My right leg started doing the restless shake.

’’You were afraid they might grab me again,’’ I said. ’’And if they did, if they broke me again, I would give them wrong information.’’

’’Yes.’’

’’I\'m sorry,’’ I said.

’’You have nothing to be sorry about.’’

’’I thought . . . I guess I figured I\'d be stronger.’’

Win took a sip of his drink. ’’You are the strongest man I have ever known.’’

I waited a beat and then, because I couldn\'t help myself, I said, ’’Stronger than Mee?’’

’’Stronger. But not nearly as flexible.’’

We sat in the comfortable silence.

’’Are you remembering at all?’’ he asked.

’’It\'s vague.’’

’’You\'ll need help with it.’’

’’I know.’’

’’You have the bone sample for the purposes of DNA?’’

I nodded.

’’And if it confirms what this Jones fellow told you, will this be over?’’

’’Jones answered most of my questions.’’

’’I hear a but.’’

’’There are several buts, actually.’’

’’I\'m listening.’’

’’I called that number Berleand gave me,’’ I said. ’’No answer.’’

’’That\'s hardly a but.’’

’’You know about his theory on Mohammad Matar\'s plot?’’

’’That it lives on after him? Yes.’’

’’If that\'s true, that plot is a danger to everyone. We have a responsibility to help.’’

Win tilted his head back and forth and said, ’’Eh.’’

’’Jones thinks if Matar\'s followers find out what I did, they\'ll come after me. I don\'t feel like waiting around or living in fear.’’

Win liked that reasoning better. ’’You\'d rather take a proactive stance?’’

’’I think I would.’’

Win nodded. ’’What else?’’

I took another deep swig. ’’I saw that blond girl. I saw her walk. I saw her face.’’

’’Ah,’’ Win said. ’’And as you stated before, you noticed similarities, perhaps genetic, between her and the delectable Ms. Collins?’’

I drank the Yoo-hoo.

Win said, ’’Do you remember the optical illusion games we used to play when we were children? You\'d look at a picture and you could see either an old witch or a pretty young girl? Or there was one that could be either a rabbit or a duck.’’

’’That\'s not what happened here.’’

’’Ask yourself this: Suppose Terese hadn\'t called you in Paris. Suppose you were walking on the street to your office and that blond girl walked past you. Would you have stopped and thought, \'Gee, that girl has to be Terese\'s daughter\'? ’’

’’No.’’

’’So it\'s situational. Do you see that?’’

’’I do.’’

We sat in silence a little while longer.

’’Of course,’’ Win said, ’’just because something is situational, doesn\'t mean it isn\'t true.’’

’’There\'s that.’’

’’And it might be fun to bag a major terrorist.’’

’’Are you with me?’’

’’Not yet,’’ he said. ’’But after I finish this drink and go into my bedroom, I will be.’’

32

THE mind can be pretty goofy and ornery.

Logic is never linear. It dashes to and fro and bounces off walls and makes hairpin turns and gets lost during detours. Anything can be a catalyst, usually something unrelated to the task at hand, ricocheting your thoughts into an unexpected direction a direction that inevitably leads to a solution linear thinking could never have approached.

That was what happened to me. That was how I started to put this all together.

Terese stirred when I returned to the bedroom. I didn\'t tell her my thoughts on the blond girl, situational or otherwise. I didn\'t want to keep anything from her, but there was no reason to tell her yet. She was trying to heal. Why rip out those sutures until I knew more?


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