Destined. Was I destined to have come into Aura's life when I did, or did I intrude where I didn't belong and disrupt its predestined path? Was Aura supposed to have married someone else, maybe some other
The apartment, which I'd been renting for eight years by then, was the parlor floor of a four-story brownstone. Back when the Rizzitanos, the Italian family that still owned the building, used to live there, occupying all four floors, the parlor would have been their living room. But it was our bedroom. It had such tall ceilings that to change a lightbulb in the hanging lamp I'd climb a five-foot stepladder, stand on tiptoes atop its rickety pinnacle and reach up as high as I could, though still end up bent over, arms flapping, fighting for balance - Aura, watching from her desk in the corner, said, You look like an amateur bird. Around the tops of the walls ran a plaster cornice, whitewashed like the walls, a neoclassical row of repeating rosettes atop a wider one of curled fronds. Two long windows, with deep sills and curtains, faced the street, and between the windows, rising from floor to ceiling like a chimney, was the apartment's gaudiest feature: an immense mirror in a baroque, goldpainted wooden frame. Now Aura's wedding dress partly covered the mirror, hung from a clothes hanger and butcher twine that I'd tied around gilded curlicues on opposite sides at the top. And on the marble shelf at the foot of the mirror was an altar made up of some of Aura's belongings.
When I came back from Mexico that first time, six weeks after Aura's death, Valentina, who studied with Aura at
Excerpted from Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman. Copyright © 2011 by Francisco Goldman. Excerpted by permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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