Friar lay stretched out alongside Luessy. He rolled his eyes in Willow’s direction when she approached, but he didn’t lift his head or wag his tail. “Why is Friar sad?” When her grandmother didn’t answer, Willow looked away and around the room for reassurance. On the bedside table, though they added little illumination to the room made gray by the December late-afternoon light and the storm, a dozen tapers and pillars burned in various sizes and shapes on silver candlesticks. Each shiny stick reflected a hundred tiny flames, so that they seemed to burn, too. Willow’s older drawings still hung on the oak-paneled wall, and the small door to the attic, which even Mémé had to duck to enter, was just ajar, the way Mémé liked, as if someone might come down, or she, dreaming, might want to float up. The crocheted bedspread named “Mother Moses” lay over the back of the rose-colored bedside chair. Except for Friar not jumping up to lick Willow’s face and Mémé being in bed, everything looked the same. She felt the difference then, and her eyes ran over the room again. Others were there. Mémé had company neither of them could see. Willow could almost count them, five, no six. She didn’t question how they’d come from their world to hers. They simply had.
I felt Thomas’s presence and Sabine’s. I ached to be at the reunion of Sabine and Luessy, but I couldn’t be. Though we all inhabited the same space, they were as distanced from me as they were from Willow. I’d entered a labyrinth and shut down my focus to the pinpoint of Willow’s life. They were there for Luessy, to walk her across. I prayed Sabine felt my desire to undo my mistakes and that Thomas watched me and smiled at my journey.
Luessy’s lips moved so slowly into a smile that they seemed to drift back from her teeth. “I knew it was time for you.”
The heavy clouds, the snow, and the winter hour meant there were no shadows moving on the walls or on the floor. Willow marveled; Mémé never wore a watch or checked a clock. Shadows and their motion told her the time, and she could read their minute hands.
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