“But that’s it!” Singh shrieked, delighted. “It’s not the breasts!” He lowered his voice and leaned toward her. “It is strictly the proportion of the hip to the waist. It signals health and fertility. This is the true essence of desire.”
Claire looked down at her own small breasts. She wanted to believe him. She wondered if there was a Mrs. Singh, and if so, what size her breasts were. He jotted her measurements on a notepad and did the math. “Ha! Point seven five,” he said, nodding in approval. “Almost perfect.”
The buzzing continued, persistent. Claire’s phone lurched forward, then stopped, then lurched again. Dr. Singh took in the spectacle.
“We should take a short break,” he said.
Claire agreed, and while Singh ruffled papers she punched in the number for voicemail and pressed “one” to play her messages. There were four:
The first was a policeman in a somber tone: “Mrs. Byrne, this is Officer Callan from the 19th precinct. I need you to contact me immediately, your husband…there’s been an accident.” The second was Richard, who also asked her to call back, and spoke in a suspiciously measured tone. The third was Michael, Claire’s close friend and Charlie’s longtime assistant, who just said, “Honey. I’m sorry. Oh fuck.”
Sasha was fourth. She was sobbing and Claire could hear ice clinking glass. “Jesus, Claire, why aren’t you answering your phone? They dropped a goddamn Giacometti on Charlie, turn the TV on! He’s dead! Oh God. . .Richard said he didn’t suffer. Call me.”
Claire set her phone on the desk and looked at Singh shuffling paper stacks. She ran a couple of versions through her head, then settled on this: “My husband, I think, is dead.” She looked out the window and her gaze fell on an oak tree.