ROXANNE ONLY KNEW DEATH IN A GARDEN, AND IN A GARDEN THEY buried Violet. In Adelle’s vegetable garden, next to a frail fruit tree.
“It doesn’t matter that the tree is young,” said the red girl when Alan suggested doing it under a thicker one. “It’ll keep her better company.”
Blanche helped them to dig the grave, while Celeste, too affected to be present, stayed by Joseph’s bed to nurse him. They all thought, and Joseph was the first to suggest it, that feeling useful would help her get over the trauma.
When they had finished, Roxanne asked Adelle to take her to the village store. There, she traded all her dresses for material and, dressed with the only one she’d kept, the beige dress the innkeeper had, time before, given her, she alternated, for the next two days, taking care of her sisters with making new clothes.
She didn’t even give any thought to what a crucial moment it was when, for the first time, she covered herself with something that was not red. If she’d had another way of venting her anger, she wouldn’t have resorted to this, which she’d so far not felt the need to do. However, unable to get rid of the sorrow over her aunt-mother’s death, which hit her like a wave with Violet’s murder, she got rid of what she could: whatever linked her to those two despicable men.
Ironically – or maybe it was a fortunate distraction –, the three days in which all of them wrapped themselves in a blanket of silence, the inn was swarming with an unusual influx of guests.
The frequent creaking of the steps and doors – still ungreased – was a background noise Roxanne appreciated, while she worked hard on her sewing.
Finally, when Alan was of the opinion that Joseph was fit to travel, they all got ready to go to the city, from where they’d decide on next steps.
The young woman was alone in the room, finishing off the last skirt and about to put it in her sack, when Adelle carefully opened the door.
“There’s someone else with me. Can we come in?”
Roxanne, surprised, nodded and waited to see who came in after the lady.
At first, she didn’t recognize her. Her hair was much shorter and curled, and she was wearing trousers. But she immediately focused on her face and movements, and everything she was, of course, so familiar with.
Not even the huge confusion and astonishment could prevent her for one second from running to hug her and to burst into tears in her arms.