He’s started drafting them on his phone in idle moments, while waiting for his clothes in a launderette, or lying in the hostel at night when he can’t sleep for the heat. He reads over these drafts repeatedly, reviewing all the elements of prose, moving clauses around to make the sentence fit together correctly. Time softens out while he types, feeling slow and dilated while actually passing very rapidly, and more than once he’s looked up to find the hours have gone by. He couldn’t explain aloud what he finds so absorbing about his emails to Marianne, but he doesn’t feel that it’s trivial. The experience of writing them feels like an expression of a broader and more fundamental principle, something in his identity or something even more abstract, to do with life itself.
They continued eating then, as if they were acting out an argument in which both sides were equally compelling, and they had chosen their positions more or less at random, only in order to have the discussion out.