They turn left on Esplanade Avenue. Behind a high wall, through a patio thick with banana trees and yellow blossoms he ushers her into the little iron door and up the stairs to the room where the lady sits in a canopy bed at the center of an unlit room that smells, overwhelmingly, of roses.
“Who’s there?” the old woman calls out in a high, childish voice.
“It’s me,” replies Robin. “And I brought someone for you to meet.”
“Oh. It’s you. Well come on over. I was just resting my eyes.”
It takes a couple moments for Eleanor’s eyes to adjust to the dimness to make out the details of the old woman propped against the pillows with white cotton ruffles buttoned up to her chin and spidery white hair piled high on her head with bobby pins. Her skin is so white she almost glows. Robin nudges Eleanor forward to take the hand held out to her—it feels cool and soft as linen.
The old lady smiles at Elle. “Did you bring me a present, Robin?”
“Mother, this is Eleanor Westwood Chandra, my star pupil.”
A large portion of this chapter has been deleted.
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