By Marion Morrison

Describes the geography, vegetation and animals, heritage, economic climate, language, religions, tradition, and other people of Cuba, the most important island within the Caribbean quarter.

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She pressed the wineglass to her forehead. ” No more thinking about ghosts. No more imagining David was here with her, telling her what to do. That might be okay for lonely old women like Vera Tait, but it wasn’t okay for her. She had to face facts. David was gone. It was okay to be alone. It sucked, but it wasn’t going to kill her. “The thing is, Capone,” she said, “sometimes I really feel him here. ” Capone blinked. Astrid headed for the living room. On the way past the bookshelves where she kept her cookbooks, she noticed that the spine of one of them was sticking out.

Astrid could detect no hint of salaciousness. No trace of anything other than comfortable camaraderie. She felt as if she’d be safe in Blake’s company. And so would her memory of David. “I’d like that,” she said. m. AN UNEXPECTED spate of tears—her one hundred and seventy-second—made Astrid late for work. It was silly, really. But when she’d been looking through the mail basket for a stamp, she’d found a receipt from last December for one of David’s Christmas gifts. The last thing she’d ever bought him.

THE SOLES of Astrid’s sneakers—into which she’d changed after her big meeting (at which no one even so much as glanced at her brand-new panty hose)—squeaked on the freshly waxed tiles of the third-floor hallway at Tall Pines Nursing Home. Paper daisies pasted on the doors of the rooms, announcing the residents’ names with fading cheeriness, rustled as she walked past. Astrid stopped in front of a daisy that read VERA T.! She knocked and pushed open the door. A nurse towing a rolling blood-pressure machine was on her way out.

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