She went to Machu Pichu, to Egypt, to Rome. She ran her hands along the weathered travertine and tuff of the Colloseum, still solid after so long. The monuments had lasted. They stood through the centuries, mighty and stubborn, as humans never could.
“I want to come home,” she said again. Fog swelled in the narrow alley beneath her open window. The air carried traces of mildew and old wood and the faint odor of rising dough.
“Don’t come home, Diana. Don’t come to see me like this.” On the phone her father sounded far away. He was already fading.
“Let me see you one last time.”
“I’m not me anymore. That man is gone. I’m just pain and anger now.”
With the last of her money, she went to Paris. She rented a studio on the fifth floor of an elevatorless apartment building on rue Charlot in the third arrondissement. She bought baguettes and brie and wine. She crossed bridges and gazed at the golden light painting the surfaces of churches. She washed her clothes by hand in a tiny sink that had separate faucets for hot and cold water and hung them on the backs of chairs, on the windowsill, on the radiator. Puddles formed and dissipated. Rain came and went. Her father died.
What's Peanut eating? A cotton ball with medical tape on it. I fished it out before he swallowed.