When my father needed something he came by the Fifth Avenue penthouse he’d bought with my mother in 1970 and rummaged through his old things, calling out to her about a book, a favorite tie, his prescription sinus medicine. He still had a key and the doormen still knew him, as Mr. Thayer from 13c. He was living at his club by then and once as I watched him disappear upstairs into what used it be his home, it occurred to me that he was lonely. Often it turned out he’d already taken the item he was looking for, that what he wanted from us was something else, something we hadn’t been able to give him and still couldn’t. Read More

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Her brother had promised to meet them in the Doubletree lobby at seven-thirty, but it was eight already and the revolving doors released only strangers. Cassie’s feet hurt and her arms flagged around Ella. She gave the baby—freshly bathed, smelling of aloe and almond—to Scott and used her cell phone to try Ben. The machine answered, the now-familiar tones of a hoarse-voiced kid, dance music playing in the background. She hung up without leaving a message. She pitched the phone into her black canvas diaper bag then dropkicked the bag across the snappy checkerboard floor. Read More

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The secretary who alerted us to Walter’s disappearance said he worked late Friday then went out for drinks with the other young lawyers. Nine thirty-six Saturday morning he made an ATM withdrawal, his last official interaction with the world. He bought—what? Coffee, maybe, a beignet, the paper. When my father and my youngest brother and I flew to New Orleans to spend a day with the police, we found Walter’s wallet on his bureau, complete with driver’s license, credit cards, and a remaining one hundred and ninety-five bucks. Read More

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