Jesús leaning across the white tablecloth, his face framed by two narrow tongues of flame. The same two candles whiting the coal of his eyes. Ronda, heavy with wine, catching the blinking lines.
In the package on the pillow there was a long black lace shawl, hand made, from Sevilla. Ronda is sitting on the bed, wearing it now cloaked over her head and face and that is the only thing she is wearing.
Serialization of a novel online is an experiment in digital storytelling. It's a new way to bring a book to people's attention on the internet. Here's how it works.
Ronda drifts off again. She imagines resting somewhere narrow. Her thighs are white and cold and spread wide. There is something like a vacuum cleaner. There is something like a basin or a pail.
Eyelids swollen, cheeks shrunk to hollows, skin as pink as Easter ham. Moving closer, she whispers at her reflection in the silver surface: No matter what, tonight you are not going to cry.
Jack turns to face her. "So, what happened? You think...Jesús ditched you?" The question feels like a punch to her gut. She sets the turkey pan on the granite counter.
The music helps. In it, rain is falling. And tropical birds are calling, deep and throaty. Just when she's begun to enjoy the birds, they give way to ocean sounds, with waves crashing on the shore.
Something like seaweed -- green, slippery, and heavily seasoned in what looks like soy sauce -- is served for lunch, side by side with a small mountain of brown rice. She takes a small bite.
Ronda is sitting in the Alcázar gardens, getting dizzy on orange blossoms and Moorish tiles. Everywhere she turns, there are squares and diamonds and fiendishly complex six-sided stars.
Ronda wakes hours later to light that is low and creamy yellow. Sitting up in bed, she tries the phone number in Lanjarón. It rings and rings. Frustrated, she slams the receiver back into its black cradle.
He is Enrique Jerez, 60, a major purveyor of olive oil and sherry in Spain, and he is visiting three different factories he owns in Sevilla. He is a silver-haired grandfather, and he is more than happy to show Ronda his small collection of photos.