Oh my! These two are obtuse, and even though they keep telling each other and themselves that their story is doomed, it is clear that they are crazy for each other.
After a couple of meetings, Emmi and Leo keep the same flirty game. Now Leo tells her that there is a point on his hand that is special as this is the spot where in the last encounter Emmi touched him lightly. He waxes lyrical about that point, which he thinks is the centre of his life. Then in one of their conversations he makes the mistake to tell her what had happened when he decided to go to Boston. It was Emmi’s husband, who wrote him an email, begging him to meet her and even make love to her, so that Emmi could see Leo as a vulnerable man and could get over him. First, Emmi can’t believe what Leo is telling, but then Leo attaches Berhard’s email, and from this moment Emmi’s life takes a turning for the worse.
We know that there was another encounter with Leo in his apartment, and then they made love, but this was Emmi’s revenge. She feels that Leo and Bernhard treated her like a commodity they could barter, and naturally, she feels terrible that they could decide about her behind her back. We get the impression further in the novel that Emmi wanted to make love to him out of spite, and then leave him as he had left her.
Then Emmi keeps quiet for months, stopping their correspondence. Then it is her once again who initiates contact. We learn that Emmi is in therapy after what happened with Leo and Emmi, and she is living in an apartment by herself. As for Leo, he tells her that Pamela, his girlfriend from Boston, is moving in with him in a couple of weeks. Then in these two weeks Emmi starts a countdown, and every day they ask each other a question. Then the day before Pamela is to arrive, Emmi wants to meet up with Leo in his apartment and she tells him that she has a souvenir for him, which we don’t know what it is until much further in the novel.
There is a brief impasse when Pamela starts living with Leo, but neither he nor Emmi are able to stay away from each other, and they keep contact. Emmi has get back with Bernhard, but he claims it is now a marriage of convenience, and there is no love left. We know that Leo has never told Pamela about Emmi, and then things take a turning for the worse when Leo tells Emmi that he and Pamela are going to Boston for two weeks. He feels that she is not happy in Vienna, and he is even thinking about emigrating there.
Then the next time that Leo contacts Emmi, he is in a bad place as he has told Pamela about her, and she has taken it badly. Leo asks Emmi to be patient as he needs to sort out things with Pamela, and then he will explain everything to her. Emmi tries to be patient, but as she doesn’t hear from Leo for weeks, she is at her wits’ end and keeps sending him emails. When she finally hears from Leo, he tells her that he and Pamela have split up and she is back in Boston. Then he starts telling her the unfinished story of Pamela and how she came to fill the gap that Emmi couldn’t for her personal circumstance. This part is very emotional as Leo admits to throw himself to find a woman to fall in love with. He forced himself to fall in love with Pamela and tried to make her happy, but he never stopped to think whether he actually loved her. His attentiveness and solicitude were welcomed at first, but then Pamela started to feel crowded. There is a part in his confession in which he tells Emmi that it was her souvenir that started to ruin things, and we learnt that Emmi’s souvenir was a kiss just in that sacred point where she had touched Leo in one of their first meetings. Leo explains how that point became his raison d’etre, and Pamela noticed something when he refused to touch her with the hand on which he had his secret. In this part Leo is very emotional and I feel moved by how much Emmi means for him.
There are just a bunch of pages left, and I wonder if they will end up together. Will Emmi abandon Bernard now since their marriage is only a contract of convenience? I think Emmi and Leo need to finally get all this out of their systems, and I think they could be happy together.