anyone who has nothing much to say. Always the same stories. But at some
mentioned the press department. I was instantly on the alert. Within a few
minutes I had
managed to steer the conversation towards Sophie, subtly at first, talking about
the look on his face he loves his mother, that boy I worked out that Sophie
refusing to go. Vincent was pacing up and down the living room, and screaming.
wait to listen to the recording. Eventually she gave in and agreed to go with
him. But of
although I dont know what theyll use that for. A pretty pastel yellow edged
with a darker
yellow. The exposed beams in the living room are painted pistachio green (as far
as I can
judge), but it all looks very pretty. It must be a painstaking task. Countl
working too slowly. It was something he terms minor tragedies. But at the end
session, he asked whether she might like to go somewhere for a rest. This was
really scared her. I think she thought he was planning to have her sectioned.
Andre flashed me a conspiratorial smile and told me that Sophie is expecting
Although this is hardly news, I was shaken. It seems a rash thing to do, given
the state she
So have they found somewhere?
According to Andre, theyve found a beaut
why she seemed indifferent when she found out that she had been suspended.
Apparently, they managed to limit the extent of the damage, but personally I
harm has been done. And in career terms, this is the sort of thing that can come
very well (no shit ). She isnt sleeping, she claims to have bouts of
depression. She says
she is seeing someone. To put it bluntly, she seems a little lost. And alone.
Everyone is rushing around trying to get ready for Christmas, and Sophie is
about the dream she had had in which she pushed her mother-in-law down the
stairs of her
suburban house; the old woman tumbled down the steps, slamming against the
the banister, and ending up sprawled at the bottom, her spine snapped. Stone
hallway, opened the front door and without even closing it I hurtled down the
stairs. I was
convinced the plan had been compromised, that I would have to give up. I felt
A vision of Maman appeared before me and I began to sob. It was a
much to drink. Enough to put me in an awkward position. By the time we got to
I had been forced to accept her invitation to come up for a nightcap. I felt
uncomfortable. She kept smiling at me as though dealing with a painfully shy
At Monoprix I buy the same groceries she does. Exactly the same. But just
before I reach
the checkout I add a bottle of expensive whisky. I am careful to choose
tipple, the one they have in their drinks cabinet. While Sophie is queuing
After careful consideration, I conclude that she has not become aware of my
Perhaps Im just trying to reassure myself, but if she had made the connection
surely be other signs, when in fact everything seems to be working per
Vincent is visibly worried about her. Deep down, hes a sensitive soul. He
Sophie how things were going, but that was euphemistic. On the telephone to
he raised the possibility that Sophie might be depressive. From what I could
go rushing to the police station, she went round in circles on foot this time
eventually found the car parked several streets away. This is not like her own
neighbourhood, she does not recognise the landmarks. A nice little story to start
The funeral was this morning. I watched the lovebirds drive off with their
night. They looked devastated. They must have gone to see Vincents father, to
company. Sophie is a changed woman. She is shattered, her face is pale and
obviously, since she doesnt really wear that kind of thing. But all the same, she
looked inside it half a dozen times since late August. In her mind, she tries to
precisely how often she has opened the box since they got back from their
through the pipes in the bathroom and the kitchen and turned on the taps before
I dont need to come back for a while.
Shortly after they moved in, Sophie met Laure Dufresne, who teaches at the
school. They are about the same age,
Sophies face. Her arms clasped around her husbands neck as though carrying a
she was standing on tiptoe, her eyes closed, the pleasure so intense it
transfigured her. A
pretty face, so pale and taut, utterly absorbed as though in sleep. I managed
That said, she is still keeping the whole thing secret from her husband, which is
sign. For me. And whats good for me is good for Sophie.
Im really worried about something I heard them say last night: Vincent was
this woman again. My decision was made. This thought comforted me, and
round table made it impossible for Andre to paw me as she usually does
has the opportunity, I felt safe.
She lives in a cramped apartment on the fourth floor of
Pau, so I was treated to little anecdotes about her fathers eccentricities, her
phobias, the dogs antics. I smiled. Honestly, it was as much as I could do.
I was treated to what is called fine dining. Well, what she calls fine dining.
he came in. That night, he didnt even mention the incident to Sophie if he
had, it would
have been a disaster. I got such a fright.
A hysterical e-mail to Valrie. She was due to see her therapist tomorrow
morning, but try
as she might she canno
had no further use for Andre, but to avoid burning my bridges completely I
something that I intended to be reassuring. It was at this point that she pounced.
pulled me to her, kissed my neck. She must have felt my resistance. I dont
The day before yesterday, Sophie took everything back. Her library card cannot
it says she took out two books, she remembers borrowing them because she
through them. She didnt read them, just leafed through them. She had borrowed
estate agent closed for the day. The house in the window is marked SOLD. Fine.
mean spending weekends in the country. Why not?
Ideas are curious things. They evidently come from a certain receptiveness of
the day before yester
beginning to feel jittery, I couldnt fight it. Then, finally, there it was, behind the
cistern. This is not good, it means shes beginning to suspect something. Though
necessarily me It occurred to me that she might be suspicious of Vincent,
six years ago. She put the word out to her colleagues and clients at the auction
sold it yesterday. She was asking for 3,000 euros. Apparently thats a fair price.
came to look at the painting. Then a woman. Eventually, Sophie settled for
I walked along the river and tried to choke back my anger.
The day before yesterday, Sophie came home with an important project for the
management committee. It took two days, working late into the night, to finish.
my observation p
attention to her actions, to Vincent, to everything she may even be trying not
She contacts her therapist to see whether she can bring her next appointment
sleep patterns are chaotic, they fluctuate wildly, some nights she feels as
condemned to her solitude.
This morning, they set off for the country. It has been a long time since they
went back to
the Oise. I left Paris half an hour after them, overtook them on the autoroute and
waited for them at the slip road by
I saw her as she came out. She looks very distressed.
A week ago, Sophie organised a press conference to publicise a major auction of
antiquarian books. She brought a digital camera and, during the cocktail party
of the wall has collapsed. This is how I managed to get in, having left the
the edge of a patch of woodland behind the property. With a little cunning, I
find them. I watched them through my binoculars. Twenty minutes later, they
gazing up at Vincent with a deliberately lascivious smile. When nice middleclass girls
play the whore in private, theyre better than the real thing, let me tell you. The
image is even more compromising, if thats possible. It was taken at the climax
court, or to admit to shoplifting and sign a statement: she signed. She couldnt
herself to tell Vincent, she simply couldnt. The problem is, it has just happened
This time it will be more difficult to hide. A bottle of perfume and a manicure
doorframe as she was leaving so that it fell when I opened the door. I could not
around on the landing, so I went back inside to think, but I could not resolve
what to do. If
I took the scrap of paper away, it would simply confirm her suspicions. If