‘I would not have known that St Cecilia had ever existed if we had not come to Italy.’

‘Yes, there’s that.’ He smiled, and held the cup out, raising it to her lips. But nothing was drunk from it.

‘I would not have stood before Piero Della Francesca’s Risen Christ.’ Her voice had weakened to a whisper that was scarcely audible. ‘Or Fra Angelico’s Annunciations. Or Carpaccio’s terrified monks.’

The Captain, who often didn’t remember what was so easily remembered by his wife, held her hand by the bedside and sat with her a while longer. They were the marvels of her life, she said after a moment, and slept then, suddenly falling into a doze.

– William Trevor, The Story of Lucy Gault

‘What is she doing standing so close to me?
“I am Sophie, but Sofia is my Greek name.”
“How do you do, Zoffie?”
The way she says my name is like a whole other life. I’m ashamed of my sad white flip-flops. They have turned grey in the summer.’

– Deborah Levy, Hot Milk