-- Are you hungry? Laura's friend asks her.

They buy wurst from a vendor in the beer garden.

-- Germans believe in meat on the bones, Laura's friend says.

They leave the path and go out onto the short dark grass, lying so their shirts have green stains up the back, for there is still some time before Laura's class.

-- My mother was raised by the sisters, Laura's friend says.

And there is one coming towards them, on the path.

-- Is this forbidden? Verboten? Laura asks.

But the nun keeps walking, circling back away from them.

-- She'll go soon enough, Laura's friend says with her eyes closed, her hair spread on the green; she says, I need something for my head, and uses Laura's knapsack for a pillow.

The smell of grass is like something new born, the damp seeping its way through her shirt and the ground getting harder as she lay. She would stay there and miss her class sinking into the hard ground as though it was soft, like that acting exercise in high school where you lay on the hard gymnasium floor and imagine yourself in mud. Mud on every part of your skin, on your eyes and hands and feet. Warm mud. Soft mud. Sinking, all that. And the remembered dream-feeling of a board, of a fall, of hard scratchy plastic and the stinging below. The German ground is as hard as a hard wood floor, hurting her bottom and the damp seeping into her shirt; still might it not after all take more effort to go? A mother pushes a double- stroller on the path, pigeons fly up before the wheels and circle around down to the ground again walking in their jump-start way and fly up and come down.

She is away from home, she could do anything.

-- Is it time? Laura's friend asks in her viola voice with her eyes closed and her head on a book about Mitterling. Her mother with the G.I. eyes is very ill and could go any day, the doctors say.

-- Let's go, Laura's friend says with her eyes closed.