It’s 8 a.m. and I am in a little room in a little house in a little village called Laleham that’s just outside London. I am here visiting Erica, who’s about ten feet from me still sleeping in bed, and the rest of the house is silent. Erica’s parents live here too, and they are also sleeping. I haven’t had my coffee yet. I don’t know why I’ve tried to write before I’ve had my coffee, but I can’t sleep anymore.
The room that I am in – Erica’s bedroom – looks a lot like I imagine it did when she was 12 years old. There is a doll house on the dresser behind me, and a pile of stuffed animals on the floor. There is a piggy bank on the bookshelf to my left along with lots of other doodads a 12-year-old might possess. The wine rack and her books, however, tell a different story. I’m seeing all kinds of dry historical tomes, and Dickens, Dumas, Dante, Hugo, Orwell. I even see a copy of my novel, Fortuna Berlin. Let it be known we first got together after she read my book. The book didn’t scare her away, in other words. Which is strange because I thought if the book didn’t accomplish anything else, it would at least succeed in scaring women away.
I have a good story to tell about my flight over here. I was composing it in my head while it was happening, but to tell it properly would take more time than I have right now. It’ll probably have to wait till I get back on Wednesday. In the meantime, my battery’s beginning to die, people are beginning to stir and I need to get some coffee in me. I’m feeling as glum as the London weather right now.