And Ilse walks slowly by a ditch, dragging her feet on the dirt. She watches for the tiny flowers that sprout up by the road. She plucks them, stuffing each into the pockets of her dusty pinafore.

At every noise she perks up, waiting for the distant rumbling of a wagon or carriage. Ilse is hitchhiking to the city. Any city. Anywhere away from "here," that is to say the places she knew well, the places where so many stories she knew had been written and intertwined and ended…

…the story of Melchior, who was brave and different and stubborn, and the story of Wendla who was so pretty but so foolish. Thea, too childish and young, Martha, who could have understood but didn't, Moritz who she couldn't save and all the rest of them, blurring together like characters in a book now closed.

Ilse told herself she didn't need that thought, that wild and beautiful sadness that bloomed pale blue in the cracks of her mind. She had an ill-fitting dress, wooden clogs and some money. And as Ilse walks down a never-ending road she knows that is all she needs, for memory is a ghost that fades in the bright, lazy afternoons of summer