(The beginning and deepening of Helen Rice and Anna Pietersen's relationship)
Anna Pietersen wandered over her plot of lowland, weaving slowly through the scattered sculpted assemblages Jan Hoekstra had placed on the property over their years together on the outskirts of Amsterdam.
Something that will work within another assemblage that Helen and I are collaborating on, she thought, yet represent him and what he meant to me. He never promoted his work, always the recluse. So difficult that way. Another forgotten yet very fine artist. I, too, similar, hating the marketplace. Helen is different. I am sure it has been frustrating for her, too. And now we two intertwine, as creative beings and aging partners. Companions, maybe, until one of us dies. Life ends. There is no more. And then the earth is gone and all our works vanish. What does it matter? I will not let go of this thought. Yet I will defy it, even if the work is only temporal.
Defiance, that is what I am looking for, she thought. A piece that defies both celestial gravity and the gravity of inevitable destruction. ...