Chapters 45-46 Summary
Two thousand people are gathered along a bridge in Paris to remember a dark moment in the country’s past. Survivors and their families, rabbis, the mayor, the prime minister, the minister of defense, politicians, journalists, and photographers are all gathered here. Thousands of flowers and a platform are the backdrop for the event. Guillaume is standing at Julia’s side, eyes downcast and face solemn. The mayor begins to speak, and an old man next to Julia takes out a hankie and begins to weep noiselessly. Julia wonders what he has lost.
Every face in the audience held sorrow which cannot be removed. As the speech continues, people in the crowd are hugging and crying. Julia speaks with Franck Lévy for a moment and then tells Guillaume about Sarah and her apartment and trying to find her after sixty years. She is meeting Nathalie in half an hour, and she rubs her stomach, knowing this day could have gone much differently. She could have had “the operation” and left the clinic alone later in the afternoon. She would have had a dull ache in her lower abdomen and a void in her mind and in her heart.
Bertrand has not called her, and she wonders if the clinic called to tell him she left before having the abortion. He will be home tonight. She wonders how she will tell him and what he will say. She walks to the meeting spot, not wanting to make Nathalie wait, and wonders if she still cares what Bertrand thinks or feels. The thought is unsettling and frightening.
That evening, after she returns from Orléans, the apartment feels stuffy and hot. She opens the window and thinks it odd that they will soon be leaving this noisy, bustling place and moving to their apartment in its quiet surroundings. This is a place full of the energy of Paris. Just as Julia kicks off her sandals, settles into the sofa, and shuts her eyes, she is startled by the harsh ringing of the phone. It is Charla calling from her office which overlooks Central Park.
Julia tells her she had not been able to do it, and Charla is thrilled at the news. Julia can almost hear her smiling on the other end of the phone. Charla tells her sister she is proud of her and that she has a terrific daughter. Julia tells her sister that Bertrand does not know she will be keeping the baby. There is a long pause, and Charla asks if she will tell him. Julia says she will have to tell him sometime. Later, Julia folds her hands over her child and feels as if, little by little, her vitality is returning. And, as always, she thinks of Sarah Starzynski and of what she now knows about her.
She did not tape anything or write anything down when she talked to Gaspard Dufaure; it is “all written inside her.”