Part 15, Chapters 1-3 Summary
The story returns to the unnamed woman in what had previously been referred to as Laura’s novel. The unnamed woman is looking at a black-and-white photograph. It is a photo of her and the unnamed man; it is the only picture she has of him. The two of them are at a picnic and are sitting under a tree. The day the picture was taken had been hot. As she holds the photograph, the woman imagines she feels the heat coming from the photograph. The man is wearing a straw hat. When the picture was taken, he had raised his hand to shield his face from the camera. The woman was looking at him. She had been smiling. She does not remember ever smiling so completely at anyone else as she did when she was with him.
The photograph has been cut. One third of it is missing; a figure had at one time been included in the picture. All that remains of the figure is a hand that appears on the lower left corner. The hand belongs to “the other one”—the one who is always in the picture even when she is not completely seen, the woman thinks. It is the same hand that will eventually write the story. This is an allusion to Iris, who had at one time been included in this photograph.
The narrator asks how she could have been so ignorant as not to know. She blames herself for being careless about recognizing the truth. However, she amends her statement by saying that without that kind of carelessness she could not have lived. If people knew everything that was going to happen next, they would be doomed. People would be unable to eat or laugh if they knew the details of their future. Then the unnamed woman concludes that the photograph is about happiness. However, the story that evolved from the photograph was not happy at all.
There is a break in the story and a news article is presented. The article is a memorial to Iris Chase Griffen, who has died at the age of eighty-three. Sabrina’s return is announced in this article. The young woman, Iris’s granddaughter, has come back to Port Ticonderoga to take care of her grandmother’s affairs.
Before the novel ends, there is one more entry as if written by Iris. She has all but finished her memoir. The final entry refers to the expected return of Sabrina. Iris writes that she has imagined seeing Sabrina again. One day, there will be a knock on her door, and Sabrina will be standing there, dressed in black. Sabrina will call her Grandmother. Iris will make some hot chocolate for the young woman, and then she will tell Sabrina the story she has been writing.