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We took the tram and met our friends in front of the town

hall. We had made lunch reservations at a tavern right next

to the government building, not far from the university and

the cafés where Kurt had spent so many hours. It was the

kind of detail Kurt appreciated: he would quit his bachelor

student life and enter the married state all in the same

neighborhood, without disruptions to his routine. Not that

his familiar universe hadn’t changed. The façades were

plastered with Nazi flags, and the heavy boots that tromped

constantly through the buildings had made most of his

friends flee. We were clinging, I realize now, to a Vienna

that had vanished. It would take us both a while longer to

realize it.

We led our meager procession up the steps of the town

hall. My parents and my sisters, who had overdressed, felt

awkward in the presence of the stolid, bourgeois Rudolf.

They kept their silence.

I had invited neither Anna nor Lieesa to my wedding. I

would have liked to query redheaded Anna about my blue

vel- vet coat, in which I’d been caught once or twice in a

downpour. She might have come with me to choose the

little hat I wore, absolutely simple, gray with a ribbon, my

one extravagance given our precarious finances. I borrowed

a brooch from my sister, and I could have tapped Lieesa for

her husband-catching stole. It had brought me luck, before

the moths attacked it, as they attacked our memories. But

my girlfriends inhabited two separate compartments of my