Steele of My Innocence 7/7
Date: Monday, March 27, 2000
Linda <>

My thanks and appreciation to Anne and Jax. They offered terrific advice and helped make the story much better. And without Anne, part 4 would never have happened. Thank you also to Susannah, who was my French tutor. Any errors were mine and not hers! If you've seen The Nephew, you'll know that I drew some inspiration from it.

Steele of My Innocence 7/7

I sail my memories of home
Like boats across the Seine,
And watch the Paris sun
Set in my father's eyes. . . again*

The captain idled the motor, allowing the vessel to bob and glide a bit, but also reducing the noise level. In the bow stood Laura, Harry, Donald, Frances, and Dominique. The sun had begun to set, but a dazzling ribbon of light still reflected off the water. The boat drifted further and further down the Seine, first under one majestic bridge and then another, finally passing the incongruent replica of the Statue of Liberty.

Learning that Dominique was her father's wife was less of a shock to Laura than she might have expected, and in fact the last few days spent in Dominique's company were cathartic, if not exactly cheerful. Knowing that her father had indeed loved her and had not abandoned her by choice was definitely a good thing, but she tried not to dwell on her mother's role in all of this, at least not yet. Dominique explained that as a begrudging offering Abigail had sent periodic photographs and news of Laura and Frances to Thomas. But how could that ever make up for a lifetime apart? And how could Abigail have cheated her daughters out of the only father they'd ever have? By what right had she done this? On what principle could she have stood?

Laura looked down at her clenched fist. She could feel the ashes, she could smell their earthiness, but she couldn't open her palm and look at them. The others let the wind take their share away, but she couldn't.

"It's all I have left of him," she murmured to Harry.

"No, Darling. It's the only part of him you'll ever have to give up again."

And in those words he handed her the strength to let go.

*Lyrics are from "My Father", written by Judy Collins

Since you took the time to read it, please take the time to send my your thoughts on it, to Thank you.-Linda