Three more days, the letter still lies unopened in its bright blue envelope on the kitchen counter. "If you don't open it I will", mother yells through a cloud of cigarette smoke. She has this way of disappearing and reappearing without giving anything away about where she's been or what she's been doing. Suddenly she's just there again, looking as graceful as ever in sharp designer suits and a glass of wine in her hand. You can tell by the fine lines in her face she's not young anymore, but she still knows how to make a stunning appearance wherever she goes.
When my father died she said he didn't leave a letter behind for us to read. I know she's lying but not why. In her diary - the one that starts with the trip to Russia - there are a few pages missing. On November 27th she writes that she knows what she has to do, this is the entry five days later, after the missing pages:
A heavy snowfall halts the train, I know where we are for the first time in weeks. T hasn't said a word in days, he sleeps a lot and when he doesn't he stares out the window at the white wilderness flickering past us. I'm calm, maybe because I can't feel anything but I try not to think about it. It wouldn't help me, not now, not anymore. I can never go back again, and I guess that's a good thing after all. The only thing ahead of me now is the future, and those endless landscapes between us and the redemption that awaits somewhere.