Death freed Isis from emotional discord, housework and routine. She stepped into a book and swiftly found herself tandem sky diving with a handsome young thrill seeker or madly paddling down rapids with a group of middle-aged environmentalists, screaming and whooping and filling her lungs with more fresh air than she thought possible. She learned the delicate art of chocolate making at a factory in Switzerland and deep sea diving in the tranquil waters of Belize. She became an adept downhill skier, race car driver, and oil painter. Conversational awkwardness disappeared.
A Viennese art professor engaged her in a torrid love affair and although they’d gazed into each other’s eyes for eight blissful months, she did not miss him. Rain streamed down outside the Vienna bistro where they embraced and fervently kissed for the first time; Isis never felt a drop.
He was fascinating to listen to and they spent afternoons entwined in a cocoon of mutual adoration. Intellectual and cultured, their discussions were cerebral and exquisitely intense. Isis titillated him with accounts of her trips abroad (little did he know they came from inside library books). She soaked up his art history knowledge and oil painting techniques.
“Would you say Eduard Charlemont is the greater Austrian contributor to impressionism or Olga Wisinger-Florian?” he asked her one afternoon following a sublime love-making session in his apartment overlooking the Wien River.
“Darling, I don’t perceive one to be better than the other. Who are we to judge what part is more important than the whole? I believe they’ve all contributed something valuable and rich.”
He gently placed kisses all over her face, whispering in his marvelous accent “How could I not love you? You who are free of over-analyzing and destroying something so simple? Not mulching every subject apart into unrecognizable bits.”
Isis laughed and snuggled closer, her new inquisitiveness bringing forth a million questions about him. A light breeze wafted in through the open window, caressing their naked skin. The memory of his scent was divine. The affair was simply something that occurred, passionate and lovely. But regrets and heartache did not abide here.
However, vague, nightmarish visions began haunting her as she tossed and turned on the loveseat in the library’s children’s reading section in the early morning hours, in a state somewhere between sleeping and dreaming. The accident transpired so suddenly, with such abrupt finality, Isis scarcely understood the transition.
Stay tuned for Chapter 7…