For that brief moment as Alcandor looked into the eyes of his beloved wife, it was the two of them alone in their own private world. He treasured those moments when they came. He wanted to stay locked in the security of that gaze. His wife’s glance steadied him. If only she would maintain it, but she suddenly turned away to watch the dancing. Alcandor was anxious. He was troubled and unsettled but didn’t know why.
As he thought of his family and observed them as Caterina was doing, he tried to feel glad and thankful, but instead he was tense and ill at ease. He felt as if something was lying in wait, a monster crouching and waiting to devour him.
He had been trying to work it out for some time—was it days, weeks, months, or years? He wasn’t sure anymore. Occasionally, he thought the monster was materialising, and his mind struggled to capture it, but it always slipped from his grasp, eluding any effort to pin it down and scrutinise it.
He wanted to live within the moment when he and Caterina had looked at each other, but he was alone with his thoughts again, without that beloved face to anchor him against the tumult of the thoughts which buffeted his mind like the billows of a stormy sea.