Louise said, “We observed a moment of silence today for the poor flood victims.” They were driving up Prytania, past the French consul’s residence, with the faded French flag out front and a big Citroën in the circular drive. Outside it was ninety-eight, but the A.C. was going in the car. Kids with their uniform shirttails out and carrying book satchels were walking along the sidewalk from another private school in the neighborhood. The dentist was close by.
“Did any of your classmates lose someone?” Walter asked.
“I suppose so,” Louise said. Louise was in the seventh grade and knew everything about everything now. “Ginny Baxter, who’s black and has a scholarship. She and I both opened our eyes at the same time and almost laughed. It was like everybody was praying, but they weren’t, of course. It wasn’t cool.”
“Did you remember your device?” Louise’s “device” was her night guard, which she was having adjusted at Dr. De Patria’s office. She’d begun grinding her teeth at night and sometimes in the daytime, when night guards weren’t thinkable. Dr. De Patria said this was a consequence of her parents’ divorcing when she was twelve years and two months old. To Walter the fact that his daughter ground her teeth seemed a small, bitter tragedy.