Lock lay on his back and let the heat scour his body for places to burn. There was no wind, and against his closed eyes the sun blazed red. Now and then some lurking anxiety began to tug at him but he flicked it away: he was not in Moscow, and that was enough. For a while he felt his whole body glow amber and there was a lightness in his chest. How much better he felt here.
Around him people lay prone on loungers. A waitress walked past with soft , brisk steps on the sand. Murmurs of conversation reached him, easing him to sleep; then, loud and insistent, one side of a phone call—in Russian, of course, it would be. He caught only the odd word, but recognized the tone: commanding, expectant. He opened his eyes and wondered whether he should have another drink. For a moment he stared up into the immaculate sky, bathing in the heat, then raised himself up on an elbow and winced at the pain in his back. His wretched back.
Oksana lay next to him, perhaps a yard away, on her front, her tan fresh. Her face was turned to him but her eyes were shut and he couldn’t tell if she was sleeping. He looked down at himself. His skin was pale. He had been in the sun for three days but it still looked gray.
That morning his back had woken him early and he had left Oksana sleeping while he went for a run, dressing in the bathroom in order not to wake her, his shirt tight about him and his running shoes strange on his feet. Just before dawn Monte Carlo was cool and calm, framed by a sky lightening at the edges from the darkest blue, and Lock, heavily at first and then with a sort of arduous fluency, had jogged past the marina along a coastal path that headed away from the rising sun into the west. His back stopped hurting and he ran on, breathing ever more deeply, cursing the oily air of Moscow and rejoicing in the world emerging from the twilight. And then abruptly the path had stopped, where Monaco simply stops. His breath harsh in his throat, Lock had pulled up and bent over, his hands on his knees, and felt the weight of his body gently rocking as his heart thumped in his chest.
He would go again tomorrow and pace it better, perhaps find a longer trail. Now, though, he wanted a drink. He gestured to a waitress to bring him the same again and after a minute she arrived with a Scotch and soda. He sat up and drank. His father’s drink. How he would have scorned the crushed ice and the long, dainty glass—scorned Monaco, come to that. Holidays for him had meant walking in the Harz mountains or sailing on the Ijsselmeer, Lock and his sister serving as reluctant crew. Activity was one constant, the other a Primus stove that lived neatly in an aluminum case and burned purple meths stored in old water bottles.
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