I was walking a road out of some town when a big car stopped next to me. A footman got out and opened the rear door. The chauffeur stayed at the wheel. I got in. There was a well-dressed old lady sitting on the rear seat.
After a while she lied, “You look like my husband did when he was young.”
We drove a long way. We drove through big gates, along a long drive and stopped in front of a big house. Clouds of footmen. We walked through the large hall. It was grand. In the middle on a platform lay a man – probably her embalmed husband. We walked up the wide stairway and into a large bedroom. I noticed that the old lady was no longer by my side. I walked further through a room with enough clothes for a small town. I walked into the huge bathroom and took a shower.
What to wear? All those clothes. On the bed were my clothes. Dinner jacket, trousers with officer's stripes, fancy shirt and bow tie, shiny black shoes. A footman tied a silk sash round my waist.
I walked down the grand stairs to the hall, the old lady appeared from another doorway, she was dressed, we walked together into the dining room. Very grand. Very good.
Bob, you do not eat much.
I eat what I need, then I eat what I want, and then I stop eating.
After the brandy we rose from the table and walked to the great window. The footmen drew the heavy curtains apart and we walked onto the large terrace. Starlit night. She showed me the stars – she knew the names.
Bob, you know why you are here?
You are a clever bastard! Aren't you?
I don't know the answer yet – I don't know why.
You say that to confuse me.
I woke later that night in her bed. Why did I not know the answer? It was strange. Something was missing. What?
This is my daughter Cynthia!
Cynthia said nothing. The old lady disappeared.
Cynthia sat at a grand piano and started to play. I sat down next to her – it was a double piano stool – not that I can play. She played for a long time.
She told me all about herself. She did this without saying anything. How she did this I do not know. She never spoke. Could she speak? I do not know. That was not the problem.
Cynthia was about my age, pretty enough, well dressed, well educated, but speechless. Was she the daughter of the old lady? Or perhaps the granddaughter of the old lady? Was Cynthia the old lady? I do not know. That was not the problem.
Cynthia and I walked around the park. She would have said garden. It took hours to walk around the park.
I knew the problem and I knew the answer – but no use for the old lady.
Cynthia entertained me by day and the old lady by night. I was in no hurry – I enjoyed it – it was good for Cynthia and good for the old lady – I gave them time – the time for their life – two years.
The old lady wanted to know when Cynthia would speak – that was the problem.
Cynthia would speak one day – Cynthia would speak after the old lady had died – Cynthia did not know this – that was the answer.
I said nothing.
One day the old lady died and I left without saying goodbye to Cynthia.
You think that I know women. How can that be? I am only a man named b.