In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

.21 The police made it clear they expected me to leave Paris at the soonest possible opportunity. I would be sent a bill for the damages to the church. They wouldhavelikedmeoutontheverynextflight,butI’dhadenoughoflast-minute flying and I wasn’t ready to leave, not until I’d buried my brother. So they releasedmeintoNanceOlmstead ’scustody,warninghertokeepmeinthestrictest charge.Iwastostayoutofchurches,andalso,theysaid,undernocircumstances was I allowed to ascend the Eiffel Tower. I could see that last bit got her worried. I wanted her to go back to the Hôtel Batignolles, to trust me to meet her there later, but she took the police warning seriously. So she went with me to theHôpitalSt-Louis.WeenteredthroughthedoorI’dseentheorderlyusewith Ilya, but once inside there was no desk guarded by nurses, no signs pointing this way to Emergency, just a long white hall punctuated at intervals by empty wooden benches and by tall doors, most closed. “French hospitals are always like this,” Nance said. Clearly, it was not her first time in one. I remembered whatshe’dtoldmebackattheHôtelBatignollesaboutflyingtoFrancetorescue students. “Tous, St-Louis looks like an octopusthat’s allarmsand no head. The French don’t need registration desks manned by clerks whose job it is to collect insurance information. They don’t have to worry about getting stiffed for the bill.” she went on. “But there’s always someone around who knows what you needtoknow.ShallIask?”Inodded,thinkingbetterareassuringmatroninsoft pastels than someone clearly a lot less stable, possibly crazy. Nance headed down the hall with me trailing behind until she found a nurse in a room lined with filing cabinets. I stood a few feet away as Nance talked to 194 her. Nance’s voice was low, reasonable. The nurse pointed down the hall, said something that sounded like a room number. Nance looked startled. Stepping forward,shewhisperedaquestion.Thenurse,withapuzzledfrowninmydirection , followed Nance’s lead and whispered her reply. “What?” I said. “What?” Nance turned toward me, one hand outstretched. “Your brother isn’t dead,” she said. “He’s in the room at the end of the hall.” Her words buzzed in my ears. I shook my head like a spaniel coming out of the water. “Say that again.” She did. My brother, I thought, and my body took me down that hall in one fluid motion, for once moving the way my brother did every day. I hit the tall door still running, pushed it open. And there he was. His face was half-hidden by an oxygen mask. His blond hair, wet with sweat, fanned across the pillow above his head as if he were under water. A tube ran from his chest into a bubbling tank. My brother as merman. But I could see his chest rising and falling. He was breathing. He was alive. ItwasL’Angoissante Aventure—andIhadjustwokenup.Myheartturnedover in my chest with a painful thud. But Ilya was not awake and smiling like the fatherinMosjoukine ’smovie.Formybrother,thedaybeforehadbeenmorethan a bad dream. With the chest tube and an IV dripping into his arm, he looked frighteningly like Anne-Sophie. Still, I took his hand and it felt wonderfully warm. His eyes fluttered, opened. I expected him to be angry. I’d let the one thing happen to him I had promised would not. He was in the hospital in a web of tubing. He just looked surprised. His eyes wrinkled into a smile. He pushed the mask up with his free hand, and I saw a goofy, lopsided grin. “What are you doinghere?”heasked.Hewasloopy,clearlystoned.Nomatterthathehadbeen injecting morphine every day. I had never seen him high. Now he was flying. I wondered if he thought we were both dead. “Where do you think here is?” I asked him. He gave a small, one-shouldered shrug. “Paradise,” he said. “Where else would we be?” He closed his eyes. “You scared me, brother,” I said, but he didn’t answer. I heard the door behind me open and turned, expecting to see Nance, but it was the doctor who’d found Ilya in the courtyard. He was wearing a hospital ID badge that said Dr. Bonheur. Dr. Happiness. If I hadn’t known him as the 195 neighbor’s customer, I might have taken that as a good sign. As it was, it seemed bitterly ironic. I wondered if he felt the same. Dr. Bonheur came to stand beside me as if we had known each other a long time. It seemed like we had. “You’re his sister?” he asked. “Yes,” I said, wondering whether he...

pdf

Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.