If I could just stay alive a week, I'd know the unwritten secrets of Anna's mom and the Dutch Tulip Guy. I looked down my blouse at my chest.
"Keep your shit together," I whispered to my lungs.
A sturdy young waiter with wavy blond hair appeared. He was maybe even taller than Augustus. "Do you know," he asked in a delicious accent, "what Dom Pérignon said after inventing champagne?"
"No?" I said.
"He called out to his fellow monks, 'Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.' Welcome to Amsterdam. ..."
"The world," he said, "is not a wish-granting factory," and then he broke down, just for one moment, his sob roaring impotent like a clap of thunder unaccompanied by lightning, the terrible ferocity that amateurs in the field of suffering might mistake for weakness.
I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.