European Diary

Total Accuracy

I was married once.  Twice, actually.  No, just the once, really, because the union had been annulled before I married again for the second or, rather, the first time, on the legal grounds of mutual and substantial misunderstanding.  In reality, just then I had met the woman who would become my second or nearly first wife and whom, 18 years later, I would divorce for the sake of another, though it was she, my second wife, who would file for divorce, on the legal grounds of adultery with an unnamed woman.

One I shall call Kay, and to the other, unnamed woman, who incidentally never did marry me in the end, no name can be given save her own, and I have not the energy to write it here.  Kay was 17 when we met, 26 when she bore me a son, 35 when she signed the divorce papers.  How beguiling the safety one finds in numbers.  But one’s confidence may be misplaced, and in the first instance her actual age was 17 years, 2 months and 9 days.  Commencement exercises at the school where she boarded, two hours from Grand Central Station, were held on a certain date that May.  The vernal equinox was the day of her birthday in March, and by subtracting the lesser from the greater I now arrive at that totally accurate figure.

The day in March, the first of spring, is the Persian New Year, Nawruz.  This was the name a Persian ancestor of mine brought with him to Russia in the reign of...

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