The bottle on the table between them is almost empty. As soon as the man consumes his cigarette down to the filter, he lights another. His hand trembles so that the ash spills onto his fine woolen coat.

     In contrast to the coat, his face is unshaven, the skin dry, the hair unkempt. His bloodshot gaze darts about incessantly, settling hungrily on the woman before flitting away again.

     He’s there again, he says, indicating slightly with the cigarette.

     Instead of looking behind her, the woman stares at his yellowed fingers. Her face is compassionate, although, just for an instant, her mouth twists.
(more…)