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He followed her gaze. “That was my mother’s room. Le Palais de Nostalgie, I call it, like a shrine. ” The ghoul factor, she thought. Someone would want this apartment just for that … not to mention the location. She noticed the scuffed woodwork and cobwebbed corners. ” “Most of the time,” he said, scratching his arm. He kept his jacket on in the musty apartment. ” What was this about? He knew his father was dead. It was hot and sticky and she felt cranky. “Why don’t you show me your father’s room, tell me about his work,” she said, keeping her voice level.
What if the mother who deserted her really had been a convicted terrorist? Her heart hammered. And what if it wasn’t true? Aimée expected something weighty with answers, reasons, and excuses. But the envelope felt curiously light as she held it suspended aloft in the rays of the sun. For a moment, the face of her mother appeared to her. The carmine red lips and eyes crinkling in laughter. The warmth of her large hands, the faint smell of lilies of the valley—muguets—clinging to her clothes. Aimée didn’t want to open the envelope.
Terrorism…. Her heart sank. ” Jutta Hald asked, glancing around the apartment. She emitted a faint vinegary odor. “But that was years ago,” Aimée said. Suspicion fought with her longing to know about her mother. ” Jutta Hald’s lips tightened. She unbuckled a brown leather bag, a ragged remnant from the seventies by the look of it. ” “Close enough,” Aimée said. ” “She wrote things. Lots of them,” Jutta Hald said, pulling out an envelope. “The guard confiscated this during a lockdown. ” Jutta Hald set the envelope on Aimée’s marble-topped claw-footed table.