Who were they -- the two people who cruised past on a motorcycle, as Claude stood stunned at the side of the road? Claude recognized them at once. It was his brother and his brother’s wife. His brother with the confident profile of a well-regarded patrician politician and his wife, the best-loved person in town. Like movie stars, they have noted the passing of the time by turning gray at the temples.
It does look like them, doesn’t it? When it was in fact obviously his cousin, the perpetual volunteer, and her husband, the money guy. Which is not to say it is not his brother and his brother’s wife. (His family is extremely close-knit. Cousins only marry cousins and everyone’s relations can be described in any number of ways. For example, Claude is actually a distant cousin of himself -- though they met only once, at a reunion for extended family, and the meeting was, by all accounts, awkward.)
The family resemblance is unmistakable -- how could it not be? It is was in fact his very own mother and father who drove past him, smoothly and without stopping, on the road after they decided not to have children but instead to drive across the Orient and here they are, just passing by now.