Friday, June 22, 2012
The release of Small Damages is just a month away. This morning I'm sharing this brief excerpt. Look for a contest next week. I'll be giving away four hard copies. The trailer is here.
Outside the sky has grown stormy in one distant corner. The sun still shines on everything else. “I know a place,” she tells me. “Not far.” Through narrowness to broadness, up a wide plateau of stairs, she walks and I walk with her. She opens the door. She waits.
It takes time to adjust to the darkness—to find the stained-glass windows high above the smoke stain of incense and wax. “Eighty chapels,” she says, “in this one cathedral.” When she steps ahead on the marble floor, her heels strike bright, hard echoes. When I breathe, it’s the smell of oranges and crisp.
The nave is giant, endless, stoned in. The pews are worn and settled. Everything is carved into a million dimensions—it’s hanging, it’s suspended, it’s on a pedestal looking down. Adair slides into a pew, and I join her. Two pews ahead, three women veiled in black kneel side-by-side, hands against hands in prayer. Near to them, across the aisle, a Japanese man is tripoding his camera, and in between the legs of the tripod, a kid races a toy car across the tiles.
“It’s my favorite place,” Adair says, “in all of Spain.” I think of Miguel and the Necropolis. I think of vanishing. I look past Adair to the stones that hold the space away from itself. I watch the candles burning and the Christs—Christ after Christ. A thousand of them. Tourists slide up and down the aisles. The women pray. Someone sings, and someone else measures the length of the song’s travels, and into the song beats the snap of the camera.
“What did Miguel tell you about me?” I ask her.