Medal with Louise’s father’s likeness

Medal with Louise’s father’s likeness

You might recognize this face, this face duplicated from a photograph dated 26 Janvier 1943. It is Louise’s father—he makes a gift of his likeness for his daughter to wear shortly before he dies, engraved onto a dangling coin-shaped brooch by his friend Pierre Cleper. The father’s vision failing and the life draining from him make it so that he must know that he doesn’t have long. Strange ideas resurface. He offers his etched face to his daughter to wear on her palpitating breast.

Louise says thank you when she receives this present, and tentatively kisses her father on the cheek. The gift unsettles her a little—it reminds her of an impulse that roars deep within the flesh, hidden far within and brought to light only once, on a terrible day in December 1918. She prefers not to think of it; she prefers not to think ill of a man who is so necessary to her.

She is touched by his gesture. She loves her father so much. Yet she will never wear this brooch. She will keep it packed in a little round plastic box, a piece of cotton protecting its face. She will keep this object until her death, contained like an amulet too powerful and wicked to be used by a mere human but too sacred to be destroyed.

Did you happen on Louise’s box of memories through the QR codes in the book? Come and explore the rest of her memories in the rest of the website…

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