Bridge! Isn't it terrible! And there's the Cathedral! And there's Rosenstrasse. Wave, Ricky!' It is so hard to write. The light is very dim for midday. I must tell Papadakis to turn on the gas. Clara married. She runs a restaurant in Liege and has done well for herself, though they say her husband is a drunk. She loved me. She told me she would always love me, but she had to look after herself. I understood. She had given me too much, I said. She had shaken her head. 'It would not have been too much if you had wanted it.' I spent so many cynical years in pursuit of my dream, in revenge on those I blamed for destroying it. And I never found her. She is washed away in that grisly tide. It is ash. She is a ghost. The twin spires glitter in the early afternoon sun. We look down past them towards the white walls. We are having a picnic. Falfnersallee and the Restaurant Schmidt. Waiting for her. I sip absinthe in the sunshine opposite the Radota Bridge. We visit the dress-shops and the jewellers. Deep in the luxury of the brothel. A riding crop rises and falls. A distant, excited scream. Lady Cromach's smile betrays the betrayer. Clara loved me. That last soft kiss. Alexandra. It was a blow to the groin. I can still feel the bruise. My right hand has started to tremble. Papadakis must bring me some more wine. The sea is too loud. The pain is nothing. I can return to Mirenburg whenever I wish.

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