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cookies. Then we caught a crunching sound as she nibbled,

followed immediately by silence. She must have fallen

asleep. That is how she fell asleep on Thursday. Thursday.

The objects belonging to the one who is no longer present

suddenly assume a disproportionate importance. They

hold the person’s smell and touch. My daughter takes great

care of his things. She likes to feel their proximity: jacket,

wallet, books, notebooks, the presents he gave her, the

figurines he bought for her at the stationery store, the wolf

of the three little pigs (it was the latest one), the violin

strings that were changed last Wednesday. Wednesday. The

need to embrace and caress the imprint he made on them

is enormous. This is a moment of rapine: his objects spring

to mind and you need to appropriate them. Where are the

photos? Where are his fountain pens? His binoculars? The

notes he left me?

Overcome by a sudden frenzy, I search for the notes. I kept

them in a drawer. We never wrote letters to each other, just

brief messages. Two lines at most. They were our letters,

but everything’s mixed up in the drawer and I can only find

one of his last notes. It’s a sketch, an elongated worm made

of spheres drawn with a quick pen, two words—eternal

love— written in German (it probably didn’t sound as

corny to him in German) and a message: “I’ll be home at

ten.” That’s all the correspondence we ever sent each other.

There was no occasion for anything else; we were never

separated long enough to have to write.