May 11th, 1821

All day Daisy acted like her words and tears in the garden yesterday did not happen. She is inside herself, folded over, covered in silent tears, muted.
I never want to have to pretend. Never. It must be like holding your breath and never really die of it. Or just a little.

I have been trying to understand aunt Emeline’s change of attitude since the Granders’ arrival. At first, I thought her anxiousness was caused by her will to be a perfect host, her perfect self. But now, around Daisy and Alan, she is either discreet and composed or laughing freely like a very young girl, looking at her reflection on cristal perfume bottles, silver knives and glass cocktail tables. Now I think the real cause is named Alan.

She looks at his lips when he talks.
She plays with her hair when he pours wine in her glass.
She does not push Hector the cat away when he brushes her ankle.

When uncle George told her how much he appreciates “this Alan fellow”, she replied “They are nice” while looking at an empty vase, adjusting one of her earings.

I think Alan reflects happy memories from her past. Ephemeral youth, blurry ideals, thoughtless decisions, afternoon courting. That is what she sees in Alan’s perfect face, in the way he finishes his sentences in a whisper.

She can hear her own heart beat today. It will not last. The wind will rise again.

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