They have just argued, wept. She lies in their bedroom, trying to sleep. He is watching television. Late at night, a commercial comes on. He looks at the images of famished foreign children, flies sticking to the corners of their eyes. There is a toll-free number to call. He thinks: it is the same illness that afflicts us, the two of us. What is missing, what was to have transformed everything. Without it there is only ourselves, alone in these rooms, the days passing. Without it there are children in rags, and only a phone number to call. Without it the great ship of history itself stalls, and we all drift fearfully in separate little boats, toward the common shoals where we will finally run aground.