In the summer she saw the days from her bed through a sheen of water: as a submerged log will float, just underwater, until some aqueous tremor disturbs its equilibrium and it rises to the surface, so she hung for hours in blissful almost-wakefulness, watching the sun move across the ceiling. In the spring, with all the creative energy that growth gives, she had painted her ceiling in long, slow waves of blues and greens, and the light moving across this gives the illusion of endless gentle flow.

By July she had softened, her face grown youthful and unlined, her hands calm and placid with idleness. She looked on everything with genial goodwill, seeming even when distracted to see and forgive instantly the sins of her rare visitors. When she stirred, in the afternoons, her smell swirled around her, bed-scent, slumberous and heavy and sweet, and lingered even after her bath, rare perfume.

From her window she could see, away over the fields, the high buildings of town and the mountains beyond. Their light washed out the stars and climbed half way up the slopes, winking among the trees. It painted constellations on her ceiling, moving, hypnotic stars.