Chapter 11 Summary

After having abandoned hope of finding Maria at her place, Leonard is flabbergasted to find her waiting on the landing to his apartment one evening. Leonard’s natural awkwardness stymies him as he tries to come up with things to say. At first he can only utter her name quietly. Maria’s body language is very closed off, and it is clear she has not made up her mind yet about forgiving him. Finally, Leonard breaks the awkward silence by apologizing. In the middle of his apology, the lights on the landing go out. Leonard remembers that they operate on a timer and stay on for only ninety seconds at a time.

In the dark, he tries to find Maria. He decides that if he can just hold her and perhaps kiss her, she will remember who he was before he attacked her. His eyes do not quite adjust to the light, and he has difficulty locating her. In desperation, she raises her voice and begs him in German to turn on the light. When he moves again to embrace her, she screams at the top of her lungs. A loud commotion is heard from the floor below, and George Blake comes bounding up the stars as Leonard turns the lights back on. He demands an explanation, but refuses to let Leonard speak. He then places himself between Leonard and Maria, speaking to her in German to try to find out if she is safe. Maria apologizes for screaming, stating that they simply had a disagreement. She asks Leonard to let her into the apartment and goes into the bathroom. Blake is skeptical of Leonard and tells him that he thought Maria was about to be raped. The accuracy of Blake’s intuition stings Leonard, but he insists it was simply a misunderstanding. The disbelieving Blake returns to his flat and stops speaking to Leonard in the future.

In the bathroom, Maria admonishes herself for being so frightened. She knows Leonard did not mean to harm her, but the old associations of violence came flooding back when the lights went off. Outside, Leonard is chastising himself for frightening her. In his mind, the dark of the landing reminded him of the darkness beneath the covers in her flat, where they had discovered so much about each other. When she finally comes out of the bathroom, she refuses to sit and waits for him to talk. He apologizes repeatedly and understands that she may never forgive him (nor would he blame her if she did not). He finally falls into an exhausted silence, certain he has lost her forever; he looks up to see Maria coming toward him.