Kappelschnitzer didn’t object, letting his silence play into her enthusiasm.
“It’s a date,” she said. “I’ll pick you up. Saturday at ten.”
Only when she’d settled him into a taxi did he realize that he hadn’t
even told her where he lived. And then, an instant later, he registered
that she must already know.
What was most remarkable to Kappelschnitzer about the next few days
was how unremarkable they proved. His patients continued to require
thyroid scans and adjustments to their insulin dosing. His overdue paperwork still mounted. On Thursday, he played his usual game of squash
with Art Chambers from Rheumatology, and although Chambers called
to confirm, which was out of the ordinary, he made no other mention of
Shirley. (Art could be a bit tin-eared at times.) Despite his personal misfortune, the clocks did not stop. Across the city, men persisted in driving
cabs and running numbers rackets and loving their wives. The truth was
that Kappelschnitzer found this collective indifference rather discouraging—exactly as he’d felt when someone he actually knew had died.
He could no longer say with certainty that Shirley had not existed or
that she hadn’t died, only that he was unable to recall being wed to her.
After clinic on Wednesday, he rode down to the city’s Department of
Records and found their marriage license on microfiche. Friday morning saw him at the reference desk of the New York Public Library, requesting a photocopy of their announcement in the Times. He’d rather
hoped there might be a photo of the happy couple but had to satisfy
himself with a few paragraphs of text. Neither was he surprised that the
details all checked out: The Arnold Kappelschnitzer in the announcement had attended Yale and Johns Hopkins, had served in the navy; that
Arnold’s parents and his even shared the same names. Only the most
conspiracy-minded skeptic could doubt that it was he. And yet . . .
Kappelschnitzer decided to approach the matter passively to see
where its currents carried him. What other choice did he have?
His newfound pliability meshed well with Marilyn’s resolve.
“I thought we might spend a few hours at the flower show,” she said,
“and then drop in at the Oyster Bar for lunch. That’s a fitting tribute to
Shirley, don’t you think? Who’d ever believe a nice Jewish girl from Ca-
narsie could know so much about shellfish?”
Again, Kappelschnitzer offered no objection. So they hailed a cab to
Herald Square and joined the throngs of tourists admiring cornucopias