Nor does Van Cleef attempt to answer the chief resident’s question. Long ago, he acquired the courtier’s knack of distinguishing the rhetorical question from the actual.
Make this not true, Jacob prays, but this prayer tends to go unanswered.
Her wooden slippers crunch the friable earth as she walks along the path. Act, implores the Ghost of Future Regret. I shan’t give you another chance. Jacob hurries past the tomatoes and catches her up near the gate. “Miss Aibagawa? Miss Aibagawa. I must ask you to forgive me.” She has turned and has one hand on the gate. “Why forgive?” “For what I now say.” The marigolds are molten. “You are beautiful.” Her mouth opens and closes. She takes a step back … … into the wicket gate. It rattles. The guard swings it open. Damned fool, groans the Demon of Present Regret. What have you done?
Creation never ceased on the sixth evening, it occurs to the young man. Creation unfolds around us, despite us, and through us, at the speed of days and nights, and we like to call it “love.”