Lanying has lost interest in my blog.
“I don’t want to read your blog, I want to read your novel,” she told me. “How is it coming along?”
I’m behind schedule. I’m still revising Chapter 5. She’d like Chapter 5 as it’s about Ernst. I told her what happens in it and she said, “That’s very funny. You could make a TV series out of it. That would be very funny on TV.” Then she told me something new about Ernst and Greta, something I need to include. I can’t tell you what it is as it will spoil the story. It’s a surprise that comes right at the end.
I’ve had to rely on Lanying for nearly all the details about Ernst and Greta because I’ve never met them. This is good and bad. It gives me much more freedom but, on the other hand, my instincts can be thrown off by superficial facts.
Lanying likes to say that Ernst is a lady-killer. She loves that word. Probably it’s apt. He is tall, handsome, cultured and witty. He has a superb physique.
“Don’t underestimate Ernst,” she keeps telling me. “Ernst is deep. Greta is the shallow one.”
Greta is Ernst’s lover. I keep telling Lanying what I’ve done to give Greta more depth. I don’t think I’ve made things up. I’ve just revealed certain things that are under the surface in her conversations.
“Ernst is more cultivated,” Lanying told me. “He knows so many clever things.”
When she was in Munich, Lanying sent me a text from Café Mozart. She had finally arranged a meeting with Ernst. It had been touch and go all week. His movements are very unpredictable and she had been unable to get him to commit to a date. Finally she had told him, “Give me a straight answer: will you meet me or not?”
“I will but I might have to cancel at short notice,” he had said.
The next day Lanying went to his office at the appointed time and spoke to his secretary. “He’s not in yet,” she told Lanying. Ernst’s secretary only works mornings. By the time Ernst arrived, it was time for his secretary to leave.
“So you were alone with the lady-killer in his office?” I asked her.
“So! Do you want to make something of that?”
“No, no, of course not. I trust you. I trust him,” I said.
Lanying needs a lot of close friends of both genders because she is only happy when she is talking about sex. Lately she has been very happy. She has had fresh stories to share every evening for the past few weeks. But these are not about the people in my novel. “I hope you’re not going to neglect Ernst,” I told her last night.
“Oh, I can’t live without Ernst,” she said.
I never ask Lanying what she and Ernst talk about in their many emails, texts and phone calls. I wait for her to volunteer things.
But then, to be honest, there are some things I don’t want to know. I should say, like Henry James, “No, no! Not another word! I know enough!” But really there is no need. Lanying knows when to keep things to herself.