In an autumnal love story of erotic obsession, possessiveness, remembrance, oblivion, and time, an elderly woman dwells upon a failed love affair of some time past, when she was no longer young but not yet old. The narrator relives meeting her lover, Franz, at the natural history museum, when, for the first time in her life, she experiences all-consuming love and absolute happiness. Ultimately the affair founders because of her inability to believe that Franz will actually leave his wife. After he disappears from her life, she withdraws from the world, waiting for his return and revisiting their time together over and over in a never-ending cycle of obsession. Her love for Franz becomes a compulsive suffering from which she can neither free herself nor withhold anything.