By 3 in the morning Lipsyte and Christophe were growing restless, wanting to leave. There was only one problem. Lipsyte wouldn’t leave until I left, because, as someone who would be writing his own profile of Houellebecq, he didn’t want me to witness a final scene he didn’t know about. I, in the meantime, couldn’t leave until Nehring did, because she had left her car at the Armand Hammer and I had agreed to give her a lift. So finally all four of us rose to say our goodbyes at the door, one after the other. First myself, then Lipsyte, then Christophe, then Nehring. Nehring seemed to be taking a little longer, so the rest of us went and waited by the elevators for her to finish. And waited, and waited.
“I can’t leave without her,” I told Lipsyte, who was becoming increasingly exasperated by the lateness of the hour. (He was flying back to New York the next day.) “I promised her a lift. It wouldn’t be gentlemanly just to take off.”
“Well, I can’t leave till you leave,” he replied firmly.
It was a stalemate. Five more minutes went by and Christophe crept down the corridor to assess the situation. The doorway tête-à-tête was still in progress, and it was now 3:15 a.m.
“Let’s leave,” I said.
“Okay,” said Lipsyte. “I’ll leave if you leave.”
The three of us rode the elevator down together. Only later did we realize that Nehring was writing her own piece, and the final scene was all hers.