Every once in a while, when they were in the sitting room or sitting in a café together, the busker would find that he had to reassure himself that she, Katherine, the one he had chased across the sea to find, was still there. She would feel his eyes on her, look up, and shoot him that dazzling smile that had won his heart when he was twenty-two.

Now, all he could think about was that girl he had left behind in Ireland. How, if he were to stare at her for even hours from across the room, she would resiliently continue with whatever had preoccupied her attention. She didn't need dazzling smiles to hold his attention. She needed only her gaping absence in his life.

It had been months since she stopped returning his letters.