I looked at her without a word. She held an edge of the beach towel in each hand, pressing the edges against her cheeks. White smoke was rising from the cigarette between her fingers. With no wind to disturb it, the smoke rose straight up, like a miniature smoke signal. She was apparently having trouble deciding whether to cry or to laugh. At least she looked that way to me. She wavered atop the narrow line that divided one possibility from the other, but in the end she fell to neither side. May Kasahara pulled her expression together, put the towel on the ground, and took a drag on her cigarette. The time was nearly five o’clock, but the heat showed no sign of abating.