Ventura is a city of southern California on the Pacific Ocean west of
It was founded as the mission of San Buenaventura in 1782.
The red vein on the map is the Ventura Freeway.
When I call up Demeter and tell her what happened, she laughs.
Our father's eighty-four, she says, His hair is white, his neck and arms
are thin and
he's lost so much weight he could very well be an angel.
You can't expect angels to remember anything, can you?
Demeter lives nearby and visits him every two weeks,
tries to take him out on walks, coaxes him to talk.
He's so light, she says wonderingly, I can lift him by myself.
He's a handful of snow.
He's not an angel.
And Ventura? I ask, Does he ever talk about Ventura?
Sure he does, she says, I told you that Anna and Uncle Max just moved there,
she says, and they're living in a large house in Ventura--don't you remember
I went to his retirement party?
I told you about the party--how Uncle Max collapsed two days before
and they had to take him to emergency and had to reschedule everything?
Don't you remember anything?
Do you have their number?
I have it in my phonebook.
I call Anna. Her voice is cool and sharp; she cuts me off. Why are you calling,
she asks. She never likes to be toyed with. I remember how, when I was jiggling
my leg in the car once, she put her hand on my leg and said, Stop it. Stop
acting like a dog.
I began again. I could see that she wanted to hit me.
After that, she only sent gifts to Benjamin and Demeter: expensive gifts
Marilyn couldn't match.
Do you know where Hanna is? I ask. She'll tell me.
Do you want to talk to her? she asks, Wait a moment.
I hang up, stunned.
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