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hs103150.jpgbuy prints of select halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 103

They rode in the SOLID GOLD Lincoln — Stew, Rebecca and Julie. Rebecca sat up front with Stew, staring silently at her mother’s face. She tried to fit the glass eye back into its slot, but it wouldn’t stay. She started to cry.

“It’s okay, Rebecca,” said Julie. She put her hand on her sister’s shoulder. “Let’s just go home.”

Bob was on the phone with Stacey when Rebecca came through the door. “She’s here,” he said. “She just walked in.” The phone fell out of his hand and he ran to embrace Rebecca. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay, dad. I’m okay,” Rebecca said, hugging him. “It’s okay.” She stepped back and held up her mother’s head.

Lisa gasped. “Oh my God!”

“It’s all I could do,” Stew said. Lisa stepped forward to hug him.

Bob extended his hand for Stew to shake. “Thank you.”

Stew saluted as he made his way toward the door to go. “She’s a little worse for wear, but it’s all I could do,” he said.

“Rebecca can fix that,” Julie piped up. “I could help.”

Rebecca disappeared into her bedroom. She peeled off her sopping dress and changed into a black sweater and shorts. She ran her hands up and down her hairy legs and smiled. She grabbed a fine-tooth comb from her dresser and a pair of nail scissors. She picked up her toolbox, filled with glues and tapes, scraps of fabric and doll stuffing, and headed back downstairs.

Julie sat beside Rebecca, watching as her sister methodically combed out the tufts on her mother’s head until they were smooth; she trimmed any stray hairs with the tiny nail scissors. Lisa balled up pieces of fabric and doll stuffing and taped them into a ball that could fit inside the slack skin of Helene’s head. And Bob held the head steady as Rebecca glued the glass eye back into place. As they worked, Bob told stories of his life with Helene, about Rebecca as a baby and their time in the woods. No one slept.

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