By Elena Mauli Shapiro
American educational Trevor Stratton discovers a field packed with artifacts from global warfare I as he settles into his new place of work in Paris. the images, letters, and gadgets within the field relate to the lifetime of Louise Brunet, a feisty, fascinating Frenchwoman who lived via either international Wars.
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Maybe it took so long because it kept getting half-mended by the young women he hired to tend to his children. Or he died of a broken heart because his country was in bondage—though he survived the invasion by nearly four years. Really, morally, he was quite flexible. The situation was not ideal. He didn’t necessarily enjoy it, but he never fought it. He was too old. It was no longer any of his business. He was seventy-three years old. It was just his time. His last name was Victor. His first name is yet to be found in the documentation.
He must be the woman’s husband. He must be the head of the house. He gives Louise a brief tight smile and a small nod in greeting, and does not wait for a greeting to be returned before he goes back to his business of directing the movers. “Good Lord,” Louise says softly, “you’re right. ” The girl is cringing in embarrassment, attempting to shrink her body as if to hide. ” This assertion seems to calm the girl, and the two of them return to their gazing. They agree, after a few more minutes, that there are in fact three distinct boys in this new family, but not more.
Her husband beholds her, his shirt now utterly undone but still on him. His hands hang limply at his sides. He sighs, and says: “You’re very kind, but not tonight. ” Suddenly Louise is quite cold. She plucks her nightgown off the floor and puts it back on. She gets back under the covers. She opens her book back up, but is doubly irritated because she cannot recall what page she was on. She flips around the area of the book that looks familiar, trying to remember. As the rustle of Louise’s restless pages fills the silence, Henri finishes taking his clothes off and puts his pajamas on.