Chapter 3 Summary

Leonard excitedly awaits his evening out with Glass, feeling very optimistic. He recalls Glass’s assertion that the city is full of people doing espionage work and feels proud to have a place among them. Feeling more settled, he sits down to begin a shopping list and, in doing so, plans his day-to-day schedule. As he makes the list, Leonard begins to see it as a reflection of himself. In a way, the things he plans to buy at the store are indicative of the new idea of himself that he is trying to create in Germany. His work gives Leonard a sense of sureness that he equates with manliness. To help him when he gets to the supermarket, Leonard uses a German dictionary to find the German words for the items he wishes to buy. Since he plans to take most of his meals out (the canteen at work serves food), his list is very simple. List in hand, Leonard makes his way to the store, marveling at the still-potent reminders of World War II in the partially destroyed buildings. In many cases, the bombed-out buildings remain standing and even have business on the ground floor (if it is intact). In many cases, buildings are missing entire walls, and the bombing has often left their plumbing exposed to the elements. Along the way home from the store, Leonard stops for some food and coffee.

When he arrives at his building, he passes two painters in the stairwell. They all mutter their German greetings, and Leonard makes his way to his apartment. Before heading into his apartment, Leonard hears the two men speaking English with near-perfect diction and pronunciation. He calls down to them and decides to head down for some chit-chat. The men ask Leonard about his work, affording him the first opportunity to test out his fake back story. They try to get him to admit his military involvement, but Leonard simply defers. The men talk to Leonard about the extreme hostility between the Germans and the Russians. The men explain that during the war, countless women were raped and brutalized by the Russians. After a while, it becomes clear that the men need to work, so Leonard excuses himself to get ready for his evening out with Glass. Without intending to, Leonard naps for a long time until it is nearly time for Glass to pick him up.