"This way," she said softly, beckoning him over. "I know a secret path." He followed her along a gravel trail behind the church to a ledge where they stopped and took in the city below them. "This is my favorite spot," she said, breathing deeply, as if trying to inhale the beauty of Bologna. "How often do you come here?" "Several times a year, usually with groups. They always take the bus. Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon I'll enjoy the walk up." "By yourself?" "Yes, by myself." "Could we sit somewhere?" "Yes, there is a small bench hidden over there. No one knows about it." He followed her down a few steps, then along a rocky path to another ledge with views just as spectacular. "Are your legs tired?" she asked. "Of course not," he lied. She lit a cigarette and enjoyed it as few people could possibly enjoy one. They sat in silence for a long time, both resting, both thinking and gazing at the shimmering lights of Bologna. Marco finally spoke. "Luigi tells me your husband is very ill. I'm sorry." She glanced at him with a look of surprise, then turned away. "Luigi told me the personal stuff is off-limits." "Luigi changes the rules. What has he told you about me?" "I haven't asked. You're from Canada, traveling around, trying to learn Italian." "Do you believe that?" "Not really." "Why not?" "Because you claim to have a wife and a family, yet you leave them for a long trip to Italy. And if you're just a businessman off on a pleasure trip, then where does Luigi fit in? And Ermanno? Why do you need those people?" "Good questions. I have no wife." "So it's all a lie." Yes. "What's the truth?"
- 182 -
John Grisham - 2005