of his vision where he couldn’t quite see them. He was exhausted. He
felt betrayed. By whom? He had only betrayed himself. He had acted
too rashly. So he argued to himself. But he feared he was turning from
an atheist into an agnostic. He didn’t want to be an agnostic. To be an
uncertain agnostic seemed horrible. To always have those shapes at the
edge of vision. It was horrible. And he grunted and struck himself on the
chest as if to beat it out.
When he came back into the apartment, Anny was trying to convince
Dennis to go to a doctor, but Dennis didn’t want to go. Simon understood that he would enjoy having a scar on his face. Dennis put on a
Band-Aid and said that he wanted to go out to eat. So they went out to
It was ten o’clock and the tapas bars were just opening their kitchens. Simon and his wife and son sat on stools around a small table near
the bar. A waiter frowned at them and said, “Dígame.” Simon shrugged.
Anny, now resolute and unflappable, ordered the same things they had
had for lunch. Patatas bravas, tortillas españolas, espinacas.
Dennis gazed at a soccer game playing on a tiny TV behind the bar.
He had begun to sulk. The flesh around the Band-Aid was swelling and
purpling. Looking at it, Simon felt terrible. Not culpable, exactly. More
like sick at heart.
He sighed and watched three young men sitting at the bar. They commented on the soccer game and made glances at a pair of women at the
other end of the bar. The women appeared indifferent.
Anny said, “Dennis, you’re going to be a brother.”
Dennis laughed. “What? You’re getting a cat?”
She told him about the pregnancy. He didn’t seem very impressed,
didn’t even look at her as she talked. But then, as if suddenly remember-
ing, he interrupted, “I thought it was impossible for you to get pregnant.”
“That’s what we were told.”
He nodded. He looked around. He glanced at her belly. “It’s still early,
right? You might miscarry or something.”
“I might break your neck.”
Then Anny told him about the Virgin that they had seen in the street
the day before. Dennis nodded but didn’t look at her. Simon sat forward.
“You went to church,” he said to Dennis. “Why did you quit?”
“Well.” Dennis quirked his lips. “You know what I noticed? It seemed
like god always wanted to get in one last jab.”