He opens the door to the hotel room. At last, there she is. This time, without the slightest doubt, it is she, but not looking like herself either. Her face is old, her glance strangely harsh. As is the woman he had been waving at on the beach must, now and forevermore, replace the one he loves. As if he must be punished for his inability to recognize her.
“What is it? What’s happened?”
“Nothing, nothing,” she says.
“What do you mean, nothing? You’re completely transformed.”
“I slept very badly. I had almost no sleep. I’ve had a bad morning.”
“A bad morning? Why?”
“No reason, really no reason.”
“Really, no reason.”
He insists. She finally says: “Men don’t turn to look at me anymore.”
He stares at her, unable to understand what she is saying, what she means. She is sad because men don’t turn to look at her anymore? He wants to say to her: And me? What about me? Me who goes searching for you for kilometers on the beach, me who shouts your name in tears and who could chase after you the length and breadth of the planet?
He doesn’t say it. Instead, slowly, his tone low, he repeats her words: “Men don’t turn to look at you anymore. Is that really why you’re sad?”
She flushes. She flushes as he has not seen her flush for a long time. That flush seems to betray unconfessed desires. Desires so violent that Chantal cannot resist them, and she repeats: “yes, men, they don’t turn to look at me anymore.”
I am enjoying this book.