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."Those people were humming resistance, humming it." She smiled and sipped her drink, then leaned back against the wall with a satisfied smile."How long you been over here?" She shook out a cigarette."Couple of months." "Here in France?" She leaned into his lighter.He nodded."Seen much?" "Seen enough." He looked over at her, his eyes lingering on the neck of her blouse.It didn't matter that she was one of Ed Murrow's, nor that that broadcast had been brave, even well-written; he didn't give a damn.She had as fine a pair of legs below the sweetest narrow hips he'd seen in a long while.And she'd come from London, where the big boys were.He asked her questions he didn't care about the answers to and nodded while she answered, though after a while she didn't answer much, and thought about the moment that would come at the end when he'd pull her toward him, his hands on those hips.Pull her against him.He smiled at her.The hairs on her arms lifted under his gaze and she crossed them over her chest.He slid his attention back onto the crowd in the bar."Listen," she said, "let me play you something." "What is it?" She was woozy from the drink."I want you to hear someone." And she reached down for the recorder she had put by her feet, looking around the bar for a quiet spot.Jim stood and carried their drinks over to a table in the corner by the telephones, under the stairs and out of the chatter of the crowd, and Frankie followed him there.He sat down and lit a cigarette, watching her open the case again, slide the disk from the sleeve in the lid, and then, looking at him, switch it on.He had to lean toward the disks turning to catch Thomas's voice, and he stayed that way all the way through until the silence turning at the end.He looked back up at her."He was dead within an hour of this," Frankie said.Jim raised his eyebrow."I'm starting to think that none of it matters," she said, and snapped the machine off, "except this.Nothing we can report can do better than that.A man speaking.Just his voice.Just him talking before he is killed." She snapped the lid of the case back down around the recorder.Holland shook his head."That's not reporting.You need a frame.People need to know where to look.They need us to point." "We get in the way, don't you see?" "You can't just go around and wave your wand and expect people to talk and then to expect that's enough.You've got to have a story around them.Otherwise it's just sound." "But what if the sounds you record are enough?" "You're a reporter, Miss Bard"--Holland pushed back--"not a collector.You report." "I don't know." Frankie was exhausted."Maybe people talking, just being there, alive for the minutes you can hear them, is the only way to tell something true about what's happening over here.Maybe that's the story," she finished, "because there's no way to put a frame around this one, no plot." He seemed to think about it for a minute."Listen"--he leaned over the few feet between them--"what's the point in having such a nice body if you're not going to use it?" She blinked."I am using it," she answered, and closed the lid on the recorder, stood, and pulled it off the table.She walked out of the bar without another look and found the street that led back to the station.Within an hour, she was back on a train, this time traveling west.The Postmistress 17.FOR THE NEXT ten days, Frankie got on and off trains, headed west as far as one train would go, and then turned around and headed in the opposite direction, toward the boats at Lisbon, toward the ports in Bordeaux, the microphone held out to catch the answers to her questions: What is your name? Where are you going? Where have you come from? How long have you traveled? How much do you have? Will anyone meet you? Through the bulge of France, across the central plain, heading south and west, there were men and women crossing who spoke every language Frankie had ever heard--Jmenuji se Peter Kryczk.A nevem Magyar Susannah.Je m'appelle Charlotte Maret.Regina Hannemann.Ich heisse Hans Jakobsohn.Je viens de Brancis.Je vais a Lisbon.Mein Name ist Josef.A Lisbon.In Lisbon.Oui, juif.Oui, je suis juive.Und das ist meine Frau, Rachel.In her notebook, for each voice, she wrote a paragraph.How the man answered, saying each word so slowly it was as if he pulled the language down from air.Und.She copied his intonation into her book.Das.Ist.Meine.Frau.When he was done he looked at her, smiling, looked away.There.How a piece of wood in a child's hands was worn smooth on one side to show a penciled face.How one mother's rings slid down the long line of her fourth finger, and how she'd push them together again, staring out the window.Merci, Mademoiselle, a man had said quietly, after she'd asked the questions, after he'd said his name into the microphone, carefully and slowly.De rien, she'd mutter, her throat closing over.Jim Holland had been right.She was collecting them; she knew it.She was gathering their voices without any clear idea yet of what she thought she was bringing back to Murrow, but she had to stuff something in the mouth of that quiet.She wanted to get as many voices as she could, and send them soaring, somehow outward, upward, free.The days and the nights slipped past like beads on a wire.One day there was suddenly a burst of women, all of them set loose from the detention camp at Gurs.Gurs, Frankie had asked to be sure.Gurs? The name of the camp that had stood for so long in her head as the center of the story she meant to get to sounded a clear sharp note, like a bell struck from a time she could hardly recall.She had been riding trains that stopped and started in the middle of nights so often that she had lost the ordinary markers of nights spent in specific beds, in particular places.Some nights she'd close her eyes and the train and the whistles and the sleepers all around would cast her backward, and when she'd wake, for a minute it was Thomas sitting there, still alive, in front of her [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]