Maine Night

It is two in the morning when the phone rings. “Damn,” Joel says.

“Sweetheart,” Daniella groans, meaning nothing particularly tender, just saying the word to put the world on pause while she figures out what’s required of her.

“I’ll get it,” she adds, though there’s really no point. The call isn’t for her.

In normal families, a late-night phone call means only one thing: tragedy. A drunken mishap. A car crash. A heart finally giving out. Maybe a decapitation or a roadside bomb, the twenty-first century offering, as it does, an escalating range of horrors.

But the Pearlmans are not a normal family. When the phone rings at 2:00 a.m. at their house, it is always her calling. From Zurich or Paris or London. They can never be sure where she’s taken up residence, only that the call will be long-distance and unpleasant.

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