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Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Author:Ellen Feldman [Ellen Feldman]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


Eleven

Charlotte let herself into the apartment, then stopped when she saw the framed photograph on the mantel. It must be another hallucination. Or else a picture of someone who looked like him. She crossed the room, picked up the frame, and brought it closer. It wasn’t a hallucination or someone who looked like him. It was Laurent.

She felt Vivi standing behind her in the archway between the hall and living room but didn’t turn, not yet. She wasn’t ready to face how the photograph had got there. She just wanted to go on looking at him.

He was so young. It came as a shock. She was older now than he’d been then. She was older now than he’d ever be.

The rest was rushing back, too. She’d remembered the thick lashes and beautifully shaped brows, she’d even remembered the nose that was a little too short, but she’d forgotten the mouth that gave him away. It could curve in pleasure at some joke or absurdity, or open easily to let out the laughter, or curl with disdain. And it was soft. She remembered that, too. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.

Vivi crossed the room and put her arm around her mother’s waist. “I didn’t mean to make you cry, Mom. I thought you’d be glad.”

“I am glad,” she said, and wiped her eyes again. “But where on earth did you get it?”

“From someone who’d been at the Sorbonne with him. With my … dad.” Again she pronounced the word tentatively. “It was Aunt Hannah’s idea. When I told her I didn’t even have a picture of him, she said there had to be a way to get one. So we started talking about where he’d gone to school and stuff like that. Then she remembered a colleague she’d corresponded with about some psychiatric study. He’d gone to the Sorbonne, too. So she wrote to him, and he wrote back and said he’d never known Laurent Foret himself. He’d been older. But he knew someone who he thought had been a friend of Dad’s.” She was getting more comfortable with the word. “So Aunt Hannah and I wrote to the friend, and he wrote back and said he’d known Dad well, they’d even tried to start a student magazine together. That’s why he had a picture of him behind a desk. Isn’t that amazing?”

“Amazing,” Charlotte agreed. “Who is this friend?”

“Somebody called Jean Bouchard. He said he never met you. He knew about you, because Dad talked about you, but he’d never met you. Isn’t this amazing?” she said again. “Aunt Hannah said the world isn’t as big as people think.”

“Apparently.”

Vivi took the photograph from her mother, and they went on staring at it together.

“He was handsome,” Vivi said.

“That he was.”

“And I think I do have his eyebrows.”

“And lashes.”

“He looks nice.”

“Oh, sweetheart, he was. He really was.”

Vivi glanced sideways at her mother. “I bet he’d never scold me.” She was kidding, but only partly.

“Of course not. He’d be the perfect parent.



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