THE BOOK PAGES
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There are two moons tonight. The round white shining disc, brittle and sharp-
She stands in the warm room, staring down at the frozen, wintry scene and, all the while, her fingers fret around the edges of the postcard thrust deep into the pocket of her quilted gilet just as her mind frets around the meaning of the words scrawled on the back of a reproduction of Toulouse-
‘A blast from the past. How are you doing? Perhaps I should pay a visit and find out!’
It is addressed to her and her brother – Edmund and Wilhelmina St Enedoc – and signed simply with one word: ‘Tris’. She fingers the card, breaking its corner; from a room below drift a few notes of music, the lyrical poignancy of the trumpet: Miles Davis playing ‘Never Entered my Mind’. It is one of Ed’s favourite CD’s.
Instinct made her hide the postcard earlier, shuffling it beneath yesterday’s newspaper as Ed came into the kitchen to see what the postman had brought. She made some light-
‘. . . Perhaps I should pay a visit to find out. Tris.’
Later she slid it into her pocket to examine it in the privacy of her own room. The postmark is Paris, dated three days ago. By now he might be in the country, driving west. How could he know, after more than fifty years, that she and Ed would still be here together?
‘Tris the tick.’ ‘Tris the toad.’ ‘Tell-
‘Try to be nice to Tristan, darling.’ Her mother’s voice. ‘I know it’s hard for you and Ed but I do so want you all to get on together. For my sake. Will you try?’
Fifty years. She takes the card out of her pocket and stares at it.
‘Billa?’ Ed’s voice. ‘Are you coming down? Supper’s ready.’
‘Coming,’ she calls. ‘Shan’t be a sec.’
She glances round, picks up a book from the small revolving table – her mother’s little walnut table – and slips the postcard inside. Drawing the curtains together, closing out the two moons and the lake, Billa goes downstairs to Ed.