Read Every Seventh Wave Online

Authors: Daniel Glattauer

Tags: #Fiction, #Literary, #Romance, #Contemporary

Every Seventh Wave

Also by Daniel Glattauer in English translation

Love Virtually
(2011)

MacLehose Press
An imprint of Quercus
New York • London

© 2009 by Deuticke im Paul Zsolnay Verlag Wien
Translation © 2011 by Katharina Bielenberg and Jamie Bulloch

Originally published in German as
Alle sieben Wellen
First published in the United States by Sterling in 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by reviewers, who may quote brief passages in a review. Scanning, uploading, and electronic distribution of this book or the facilitation of the same without the permission of the publisher is prohibited.

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

Any member of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use or anthology should send inquiries to Permissions c/o Quercus Publishing Inc., 31 West 57
th
Street, 6
th
Floor, New York, NY 10019, or to
[email protected]
.

e-ISBN 978-1-62365-344-6

Distributed in the United States and Canada by Random House Publisher Services
c/o Random House, 1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, institutions, places, and events are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons—living or dead—events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

www.quercus.com

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER ONE

Three weeks later

Subject: Hello

Hello.

Ten seconds later

Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Returned)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status

Notification.

THIS EMAIL ADDRESS HAS CHANGED. THE RECIPIENT CAN NO LONGER RECEIVE MAIL SENT TO THIS ADDRESS. ALL INCOMING MAIL WILL BE DELETED AUTOMATICALLY. FOR ANY QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT THE SYSTEMS MANAGER.

Half a year later

Subject: (no subject)

Hello!

Ten seconds later

Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Returned)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status

Notification.

THIS EMAIL ADDRESS HAS CHANGED. THE RECIPIENT CAN NO LONGER RECEIVE MAIL SENT TO THIS ADDRESS. ALL INCOMING MAIL WILL BE DELETED AUTOMATICALLY. FOR ANY QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT THE SYSTEMS MANAGER.

Thirty seconds later

Re:

Will this never stop?

Ten seconds later

Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Returned)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status

Notification.

THIS EMAIL ADDRESS HAS CHANGED. THE RECIPIENT CAN NO LONGER RECEIVE MAIL SENT TO THIS ADDRESS. ALL INCOMING MAIL WILL BE DELETED AUTOMATICALLY. FOR ANY QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT THE SYSTEMS MANAGER.

Three days later

Subject: Query

Good evening, Mr. Systems Manager. How are you? Quite chilly for March, don't you think? Still, after such a mild winter I don't think we should be complaining. Oh yes, since I'm here, I'd be grateful if you'd answer a query. We have an acquaintance in common. His name is Leo Leike. Unfortunately I appear to have mislaid his current email address. Would you be so kind and possibly … ? Many thanks.

With my warmest virtual wishes,

Emmi Rothner

Ten seconds later

Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Returned)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status

Notification.

THIS EMAIL ADDRESS HAS CHANGED. THE RECIPIENT CAN NO LONGER RECEIVE MAIL SENT TO THIS ADDRESS. ALL INCOMING MAIL WILL BE DELETED AUTOMATICALLY. FOR ANY QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT THE SYSTEMS MANAGER.

Thirty seconds later

Re:

Do you mind if I give you some constructive criticism? You're being a tiny bit repetitive.

Enjoy your night shift,

Emmi Rothner

Ten seconds later

Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Returned)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status

Notification.

THIS EMAIL ADDRESS HAS CHANGED. THE RECIPIENT CAN NO LONGER RECEIVE MAIL SENT TO THIS ADDRESS. ALL INCOMING MAIL WILL BE DELETED AUTOMATICALLY. FOR ANY QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT THE SYSTEMS MANAGER.

Four days later

Subject: Three questions

Dear Mr. Systems Manager,

I'm going to be honest with you: this is an emergency. I need the current email address of “User” Leo Leike, and I need it badly! I have three questions I urgently need to ask him: 1) Is he alive? 2) Is he still in Boston? 3) Is he involved in an email relationship with someone else? If the answer to 1) is yes, I would forgive him 2). But I could never forgive 3). I don't mind if over the past half year he's tried to get it together again with Marlene fifteen times. I don't mind if he's flown her in to Boston on a daily basis. I don't mind if he's spent his nights hanging out in sleazy Boston plush bars, and woken up every morning wedged between the rock-hard breasts of some boring Barbie-blonde. I wouldn't even mind if he'd pulled off three marriages and had three sets of nonidentical triplets. But there's one thing I would mind: IF HE HAD FALLEN IN LOVE, BY EMAIL, WITH ANOTHER WOMAN HE HAD NEVER SET EYES ON. Anything but that, please! That has to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I need to be sure of this if I'm going to get through these nights in one piece. The north wind is blowing relentlessly.

Dear Mr. Systems Manager, I think I can guess more or less what your reply will be, but I'll ask you anyway: be a devil and pass on my message to Leo Leike. I'm sure you're in regular contact with him. Tell him it's about time he got in touch. Do it! You'll feel better for it. O.K., now you can say your piece again.

Best wishes,

Emmi Rothner

Ten seconds later

Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Returned)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status

Notification.

THIS EMAIL ADDRESS HAS CHANGED. THE RECIPIENT CAN NO LONGER RECEIVE MAIL SENT TO THIS ADDRESS. ALL INCOMING MAIL WILL BE DELETED AUTOMATICALLY. FOR ANY QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT THE SYSTEMS MANAGER.

Three and a half months later

Subject: Please forward

Hi Leo,

Are there new tenants in your flat? In case you're still in Boston, I thought I should warn you: don't be surprised if you get a massive electricity bill. They leave the lights on all night long.

Have a nice day—have a nice life,

Emmi

Two minutes later

Re:

Hello?

One minute later

Re:

Yoo-hoo, Mr. Systems Manager, where are you?

One minute later

Re:

Should I be worried, or can I be hopeful?

Eleven hours later

Subject: Back from Boston

Dear Emmi,

Your intuition is uncanny. I've not been back in the country a week. As for the electricity, it's me using it. What I'd like to say, Emmi, is … what
would
I like to say after such a long time? Everything I might think of saying sounds pretty banal. The best I can come up with, even if it's five months early, is: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you're well, at least twice as well as I am.

Adieu, Leo

One day later

Subject: Baffled

What was that? Was it anything? And if it was something, and whatever it was, was it the same thing as before? I don't believe it.

E.

Three days later

Subject: Stunned

Leo, Leo, what has happened to you? What has Boston turned you into?

E.

One day later

Subject: Closure

Dear Leo,

How you've made me feel over the past five days is worse than you've ever made me feel, and you've made me feel truly terrible before now. It was thanks to you that I discovered for the first time quite how terrible terrible feelings can be. (Good ones too, I should add.) But this one is new to me: I've become a burden to you. You get back from Boston, open Outlook, relishing the prospect of reconquering your home country by email. In pour the first thrilling messages sent to you in error by female magazine subscribers. Perfect fodder for fresh spiritual adventures with anonymous women, and who knows, there might even be an unmarried one among them. And then: oh look, an email from someone called Emmi Rothner. The name seems vaguely familiar. Wasn't she the one you practically wrote into bed, like some kind of ace ratcatcher of the cyberworld? You very nearly had her in your arms. But then reason got the better of her at the last minute, and by a twist of fate she never turned up, she let you down, so near and yet so far. Nine and a half months pass, both the woman and the frustration are long since forgotten. And then she gets in touch, out of the blue she turns up in your in-box. And you wish her—this is very funny, Leo, reminded me of you at your best—a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, in the middle of summer. And good-bye! She's had her chance. Plenty more where she came from. She's in the way, she's bugging me. So you're simply going to ignore me, Leo, is that it? She'll give up eventually. She's already giving up. Well, she
will
give up, that's a promise!

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