IT WAS THANKSGIVING, and the whole family was gathered at a palatial house in the country. It was something like an estate or old manor house, with multiple entrances, stairwells, dining halls, and many floors. The feast was arrayed on long wooden tables, protected with simple white table cloths, and the furniture in general gave one the impression that it had once belonged to a guild of medieval carpenters or perhaps really some Round Table knights. But with all of those platters coming in and out of the kitchens, with all of that racket, with all of the children climbing over and up and on top of everything, I was overcome with panic and went outside. There I lied in the grass, just for a few moments. It was cold, but not so cold that one couldn’t lie in the grass. That’s when I saw her, with her big boughs of red curly hair, cycling away in the distance. I hadn’t thought of Celeste in ages, but she was still cycling around on her white bicycle, running errands, or going places, lurking away on the periphery. Cycling away. I wondered if she had seen me lying in the grass exasperated. I wondered if she ever cared. Her back was to me, and soon her black silhouette disappeared into a hot orange sun. When I went back into the house, most of the feast had already disappeared too. It had all been eaten, and most of the guests had left. There were just hundreds of messy plates and half-drunk glasses of juice and coffee. I was all alone there in the banquet hall. At last, I found a basket full of untouched red plums in the center of a table. Then I took one of the ripe plums and ate it.

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