Late in the afternoon of a sunless day the sky had lit up strangely. The scene of the house and the vast property became the View of Toledo, which they had seen once in New York. This is Banshee, wailing in a new way, she had thought. Why had she thought of that? Why that? But that afternoon the plane had gone down, the plane carrying her entire family. Many relatives called, but Laurence told them all not to come, and they were good enough people to stay away when she made herself clear. So now she turned away solemnly from the cold breeze, because she was alone.
Once during dinner she laughed a little, delighted. This was the sort of thing that had been so exciting when she was eight: being alone in the great house. Of course, someone was always outside on the fields somewhere. But now she was totally alone. Was that a joke? No. So she told herself to stop laughing and continued the meal. It was a very dignified dinner, with thick cream tablecloth and a full setting for one.
She sat musing for some time after dessert. Numbness came.
The bright sky above the house had long faded into blackness before she finally recognized in front of her the plate streaked with a little melted ice cream. She cleared the table, tired now. She felt secure enough to go to bed and undressed and slipped under the covers quickly because the house was very cold. She was so tired that she did not even miss her father, and the quilt was warmth enough.
1965, 1966, or 1967
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Page last revised October 25, 1997.