Excerpt 48

London, England

1972

“I’m leaving right now! No one ever ever slaps me!” I shrieked. “Get away from me, Yanni!”

Hurriedly, I packed.

Yanni apologized and begged me not to leave.

I dragged my two worn-out yellow Samsonite suitcases up the two flights of stairs and out the front door and waited for one of those shiny, spacious, perfect black London taxis to pick me up and drive me back to my familiar run-down hotel in the Paddington section of London.

The following morning I looked at the fifth century-B.C. Elgin Marbles in the British Museum.

Yanni was so blindly patriotic; amazingly, he had been able to deliver lengthy disquisitions in broken English about Greek history and how those marble panels belonged in Athens: The glorious Greeks and all the infidels.

It rained all that day. London seemed almost empty; the streets were deserted; most of London must have gone away on summer vacation. Everything—buildings, sidewalks, sky, trees, and a few lost souls—all looked ashen gray.

I had never been so lonely in my whole life.

When I got hungry, I entered a small Indian restaurant and sat at a corner table. All of the customers were Indian, and all of them stared at me with large, dark eyes as I ate my spicy lamb and creamy yogurt. It must have been the first time that they saw a young woman eating alone in a restaurant.

I was a Martian on a foreign planet.

The following morning, I telephoned Yanni. “Can I come back?” I asked quietly.

“Yes, of course. That’s wonderful news!” he responded.

When I arrived at the bedsitter, there were piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink and laying on the small dining table was a signed black-and-white photograph of a glamorous blonde woman holding a microphone.

He really had missed me!

The night before he had picked up a nightclub singer and brought her back to “our” apartment for cold ouzo and hot sex.

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