In which Daphne knows what will survive of us.
Less than a month after all five of Eugenie’s phones had been laid to rest, the war in Iraq began. This much-anticipated event was shortly followed by a declaration of victory by the offstage attackers—with old-school swagger in the new-school style, like a movie in which Denzel Washington prevents a white man with gray hair from being assassinated—and then the nation’s attention was begrudgingly turned back to the twisted language of war
In which the dramatis personae come to light.
Daphne couldn’t get that dog out of her mind. Who or what, she wondered—who or what in this day and age goes blind from a car crash? Mostly you fell into a coma, lost one or more limbs or your ability to walk. Going blind was the stuff of legend—Saul of Tarsus and movies in which Rock Hudson is a brain surgeon. But Queequeg the miraculous surviving dog was said to be blind as a result of the crash that killed Trygve and Mathilde. As traged
In which Daphne begins the job of not forgetting.
Despite all—or maybe because of it—Daphne kept her Monday appointment with the Quartet’s survivors. It was Jan’s idea that they meet at Simon’s preferred café. Daphne arrived at six to find the two men seated and pondering Elijah’s stainless-steel teapot like it was a chessboard.
“Austeja Dapkunaite!” Jan cried when he noticed her approaching.
She hoped he had not lost his grip on reality and thought she was this
In which the cycle of life gets greased.
It had been snowing without incident in the early afternoon when something made the mercury take a schizoid leap. Gradually the temperature settled down but was still nowhere near freezing by nightfall. “A balmy evening for winter, folks”—this from a man pointing at the words HEAVY FOG while telling what was in store for coastal areas south of the city. This strange meteorological recipe Queequeg was shortly to lick off his nose with greed
In which the magician says he is sorry.
The Steinbrenner funeral presented another cramped, dignitary-laden challenge for the city of Cambridge, seriously upsetting Harvard Square traffic on a workday. The First Parish Church already felt plunked down in the middle of a pedestrian mall—a grimy house of worship as UUA houses go, with a seemingly open invitation for every AA meeting in the universe. The political celebrities wanting to pay their respects to Linus would have to suck it u
In which Daphne explains the theory of everything.
By the 26th of February, most of America was lurching toward spring. The White House, however, stuck to its belligerent’s script, prompting news networks to make shopping lists for obstructed-view coverage of the neoconservatives’ war. It was debatable whether such a climate was the most ideal or least ideal for a Brahmin funeral.
At the packed Christ Church in Cambridge, Tessa Frost read an excerpt from the Camus essay
In which the story is told in the shape of a ring.
The Faucet King lived on the fourth floor of an art nouveau building noticeably lacking a doorman. Comparable residences each way on 86th featured doormen with epaulets and loud whistles, all the better to motion to traffic at the end of the arched canopy. The owners of this building, however—German Jews whom the King described as “swimming in money”—still considered themselves socialists. And everyone knew that socialists didn’t pay
In which Daphne is fondly remembered.
Daphne was again awakened by a ringing phone—her first groggy thought being that Elijah had gone, or maybe Elijah and Jan both. Perhaps it was again twofer day for Das Blaue-Fischreiher-Quartett.
Then she realized it was Linus’s loud phone that you couldn’t turn down or off. Her crying from the night before made her eyes feel swollen shut. She ignored the ringing as she showered and dressed and shut the door behind her. “Answer the goddamn
In which the writer still doesn’t know her real name.
“Hungarians are notoriously inclined toward delusions of eminence and persecution,” Yuli Arkadievich Tynyanov warned his newest—and by his reckoning his last—student. Despite the cancer in his chest, his eyes remained sufficiently lubricated to seem to twinkle with mischievous intent. “I would avoid your Hungarian boyfriend at all costs.”
His student smiled. “I’ll remember that about Hungarians.”
“I don’t wish to kn
In which Daphne discovers that the torch is blue.
Early Friday morning Daphne was awakened by the phone. It was Gwen Counts calling in the dark, telling her that Linus had been admitted to Mount Auburn Hospital the night before and that she had already summoned his family on Wednesday.
When Daphne left for the hospital something told her what to bring—Linus’s napkin that she’d left inside Elijah’s book, the plastic yellow bird she almost swallowed, the real four-leaf clover sh