we’ve done a good turn; it’s usually the recipient who resents the obligation. But Fernlicht’s relief and gratitude were whole-hearted. We sat together on the train and got on very well very quickly. The swiftness had to do with his daughter, Hannah. Hannah was the one thing, apart from his gratitude to me, about which Fernlicht was never half-hearted. He explained that he was a single father.
“Me, too,” I said. Both our wives had gone out with the tide of feminism, terrified by the prospect of be coming their mothers by remaining wives and parents. We were in the same situation and of an age.
“Hannah went to a friend’s house after school and she’s expecting me to pick her up. I can’t be late. You know?”
I nodded. I knew the way blood pressure rises at rush hour when there’s a little girl waiting. In those days Maya and I were living just outside New Haven and I had to go into New York fairly often. Alexander and I would meet for lunch now and then in midtown. I invited him and Hannah up to our place for a Columbus Day weekend, but the visit was not a success. Maya, two years younger than