it took her to learn Greek

I asked Sigrid — Danish, German, she — how long it took her to learn Greek. Many years, she said. I was smoking then, she said, and then she described a habit of listening to what people said to her and writing it down on the inside of her cigarette pack and — and here she pantomimed, a flat, out-turned palm extended and slightly aloft, for Sigrid is petite and the generic remembered Greek interlocutor, probably taller — holding it up for them to review.

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