The story is published in 1954. It is one of Andrić's short stories that is far removed from either the Bosnian setting or its thematics and symbolism. This has led more than one critic to remark that Andrić had bid his farewell to Bosnia and was concentrating more successfully on contemporary stories with non-Bosnian setting.
The central character is the forty-eight ex-opera-singer Marta L, beautiful and successful lady. She spends her holiday on the seaside, and lying on the beach, she is thinking about herself. Marta L. is in the zenith of her life, and she has an inkling of the old age approaching. She doesn’t want to admit her fear, so she goes back to her childhood and youth, and revives the days of waking her sexuality. The very thought on the old age fills her with horror; in the hot summer day the ex-beauty can’t stop thinking that the best days of her life passed away, and that the time when she will be the old lady is coming. Marta L. can’t find own peace, except in sunbathing or swimming. In those moments, when she feels her body, Marta L. is tranquil. The end of the story tells that: “She felt herself as light and big and powerful as the world which itself changes and remains always the same, calm and happy in the lap of the benign, momentary respite.”
There are those women, like this one, in whom the feeling for colour and chromatic harmony is highly developed, as if inborn. Like plants, they live and talk in colour. Around such women colours sing, as it were, inaudibly and yet in such unison that they seem to be part of cosmic harmony scaled down to a women's being and the power of human senses. Women like this seem to gather new colours from nature, and to create new relationships between them, and new iridescences; actually, all they do is to uncover them to our eyes, which otherwise wouldn't know how to see them. Slowly and calmly, as unerringly as nature herself, they spread about them, according to their age and possibilities and the circumstances in which they live, their own colours, as if that were all they had to communicate about themselves to other people.
Very little more could be said about this woman who lay at some distance from the rest of the bathers, her hands clasped on her breasts, stretched out and slender, with her eyes shut, like one of the stone duchesses on a sarcophagus.
We know next to nothing about people who pass by us or lie next to us. Was there anything more one might added about this woman, laid out like a statue, Martha L., an opera singer on her vacation, in her forty-eight year? She herself was trying to forget who and what she was, and how long she had been around. Drowsily she gave herself to the sun's fire and to the dim memories and daydreams that welled in her aimlessly and against her will. Vague stirrings, words clearly spoken and yet unintelligible, silences of an unknown meaning, all this mingled inside her, ebbed swiftly and came back again, refusing to fade into limbo. Though not asleep, she was dreaming. And now she was clearly: a strange image out of her past life, one that she had never suspected was still alive in her memory. She was sitting on a garden wall.