lifelike, as impenetrably enameled as before. When it ended they fell
asleep together with the cats at their feet, and when they woke up the
next afternoon they almost made love.
The Will waking beside her, faux-black hair tousled, with Thai food on
his breath, was a lazy imitation of the dangerous, driven lover of her
deep desire and devotion. A caricature. He smiled as if a smile was all he
needed to win her back, or over. Where was the suffering? The ambition?
Buried under layers of kind gesture and graduate-student mannerism?
He had wanted to conquer the world. Or at least their world.
“I never meant to be a star,” he said, trying to explain himself. “That
was you, Ursula. That was all you.”
But she didn’t believe him. He had been brilliant in the part of her
“The writers made him,” Will said. “The period, the history. The wigs.
He wasn’t me.”
“You weren’t unhappy then,” she said. “All that time. You weren’t
drifting the way you are now. Do you still have an agent?”
He shrugged and tried to change the subject, to get her out of bed, to
feed the cats, to shower, to dress, to go out somewhere for dinner.
“I don’t want to go out. Everyone knows me out there again.”
“Don’t kid yourself,” he said. “Nobody knows you. Not even your
name. They only know that ridiculous character.”
His cruelty confused her. “And what about you? What do they know
“Me?” he laughed. “My pretty face?”
She asked why he was dyeing his hair. He was reluctant but finally
answered. “Part maybe. Superhero movie. Ensemble.”
She waited for more, but “Jinx,” he said, shaking his head.
“I don’t know you,” she said. “I don’t know you at all.”
“Did you ever?”
When the wind slammed in from the east, the endless overdry heat in-
tensified their longing for adventure, for change, for sex. They drove,
mostly. She drove. Into the hills or up the coast or down to the beach.
Drove in circles, drove wherever speed allowed her, and day after day he
rode beside her. They avoided the city and all its playgrounds. She blew
her trainer off. The desert was good. She drove straight into it, the heat
and the wind, and the air in the desert was cooler. They thirsted, they