I’m in Montreal. Long story. Unpacking (literally and figuratively.) I’ve just landed, but I wrote this on the plane:
The curator finally called me back after a week of messages. She said she wanted to meet at her house, not the museum. It turns out it had taken her a week to get the page out without anyone noticing. She said she’d been following the page from museum to museum. She said she’d been expecting me, hoping I’d turn up someday. Oh. Okay. Nothing to worry about. Nope.
She brought me into her office when I finally got there (I had the cab leave me at the bottom of the hill so I could walk up and then I promptly got lost for an hour.) where she’d laid the page on her desk, covered in a thin film.
The image of a pale demon. It was creepy, but I wasn’t crawling out of my skin. I didn’t want to pull the journal out in front of her so instead I asked what she meant when she said she’d been expecting me.
She told me she knew my father. And he told her to expect a call someday about this page. I was gobsmacked. I had a thousand questions that all revolved around *Why did he do all of this?*
She couldn’t tell me. She said no one knew what “Sully” was up to in those last days. He was frantic, driven. She said I probably knew more than anyone else by now. (She would be incorrect.) She told me she could see him in my eyes.
She excused herself and while I was alone I looked through the journal, hoping for a new clue. I mean, I’m the one who knows the most about everything, right? I’m the one with all the information. Nope. Nothing. As far as I know not one single step closer to the truth. Or the point.
She came back and said she thought she’d heard someone at the door but when she opened it no one was there. I didn’t think anything of it until something started knocking on the closet door behind her.
She turned to it and then back to me and the look on her face sent a chill running all over me. She asked me what I’d brought into her house.
She told me I had to leave, but I refused. I was essentially begging her to explain any of this, to help me, help me find the truth, but she pushed me out of the office, out of her house, every door knocking as we went. I walked to the main thoroughfare and the knocking followed me. Every door in every home. The faster I went, the louder they got until I screamed, and although I don’t fully remember I basically collapsed in the street, dropping my bag, skinning my knee and frankly bursting into tears. I couldn’t do it anymore. If this was a trial or a test, I failed it. I couldn’t be whoever he wanted me to be. I couldn’t find whatever he wanted me to find.
The journal had fallen out onto the pavement and I thought very seriously about leaving it there and going home. And then I remembered Mon.
Cole knows this, but I left NYC not only because of what happened, but also because Mon is sick. She has dementia. It came on suddenly. I mean, she was more and more distracted, forgetful… I thought it was funny when she misspelled her own name on a letter to me a few months back… but it’s gotten much worse the past few months. But she didn’t want to tell me. And then she couldn’t remember me. A family friend had phoned to explain everything, so I ‘d rushed back home to her.
We were on the banks of the Ralty one afternoon, she still loves being outside as much as she always did, and she was holding my hand. She looked at me and said I looked different since New York. There was a light about me now. She said she’d had her doubts, but following my father had been the best thing for me.
That was a moment of clarity both for her and me. That all this, as tough as it was, was a positive thing, the right thing to do, and that moment with Mon set me pursuing the path in the journal. I wanted to be there with her, but selfishly it was too hard to watch this beautiful, vibrant person fade away. So I followed the journal.
And I was about to quit. The doors had finally stopped knocking. I picked up the journal. And inside was a new clue about a ruined city. A clue I immediately knew the answer to because I’d been planning a trip to see The Pointe-a-Calliere Museum and the ruins of old Montreal.
And below the clue was a note from my father. The first entry in his journal that wasn’t a cryptic, mysterious clue. Just a note to his daughter.
“Don’t give up.”