After fifteen minutes Edgeworth gives up on dignity and tries, ineffectually, to get the cravat around his face like a scarf. It doesn’t work. The cravat’s already wet from the mist, and can’t be convinced to stay up over his nose. Holding it up leaves his hands exposed, at the mercy of the cutting wind that seems to be shifting angles past the shelter so that it can always reach him first. Not for the first time on this vacation, he contemplates chartering a flight home.
The phone rings, and he fumbles for it, unsure how his phone will understand that he’s biometrically the same person when he himself is fairly sure he’s been transformed to an ice sculpture. Swipe. Swipe. The third time’s the charm. “—geworth?” Phoenix is saying, on the video call. “Miles. Hello? Where are you?”
“I,” Edgeworth says, “am at the bridge.”
“What? No you’re not. I’m at the bridge. Sort of at the bridge. You can’t actually get up on it,” Phoenix says. He leans in, and past his shoulder Edgeworth can see blue sky and silver ocean, an expanse of green grass, and—“You’re…Was the bridge you were talking about in Minnesota?”
Edgeworth closes his eyes. “Phoenix,” he says, “you’re at the Bay Bridge.”
“Yeah, that’s what I said,” Phoenix says. “The bridge over the bay. Which was a little underwhelming.”
Wordlessly, Edgeworth steps out of the shelter, tilting his phone back until Phoenix can see the great rising curve of the Golden Gate Bridge, red and transcendent until it vanishes into the fog.
“Yeah, like that,” Phoenix says. “—Hey, wait a second—“
“The Golden Gate Bridge,” Edgeworth says. “So named because it goes over the Golden Gate.”
“No, yeah, I got that,” Phoenix says. “Due to all the overwhelming physical evidence.” When Edgeworth tilts his phone back, Phoenix has that expression on his face that says, ‘I’ve made the mistake, but somehow you are going to be the one made to regret it.’ “Could you text a shot of that to Maya? She’s still claiming it’s gold.”
“Why,” Edgeworth says, “is it summer where you are?”
“I don’t know,” Phoenix admits. “I was just looking that up. You’re not even half an hour away. This is like, Culver City to Hollywood.”
“I’ve never driven down the 101 into an eternal winter before.”
“Well, now you have,” Phoenix says. “Man, that really is a lot more impressive.”
“I know,” Edgeworth says. Driven temporarily mad by the cold: “I thought perhaps even romantic.”
Phoenix’s face softens. “Is there a gift shop around there?”
Edgeworth scans the area. “I think so. There’s some sort of a hut.”
“As long as it’s inside. Hang tight. Buy me some chocolate,” Phoenix says. “I’ll be right there. I’ll bring you your gloves, we’ll walk the bridge together, it’ll be great. I hear there’s good hiking in Marin.”
From a man who thinks hiking is some kind of Swedish curse word, this is a great concession. Edgeworth says, “I’ll see you soon.”
The bridge in front of him is huge, gray, and even uglier than the one he just left. The sign on the on-ramp says, implacably, Richmond Br: San Rafael. The sun has somehow come out even more.
Phoenix says, ”Shit.”