Another time Amelia had noticed something outside, a bird, a butterfly, a dream – who knew? Whatever it was, it lured her outside, down the drive, and up the road. That was fine, nothing wrong with that, except that it was a hot summer day, and the further she went, the hotter she got, and the hotter she got, the more clothes she took off. Since she didn’t wear underclothes, she was soon down to nothing. Old August Miller had gone out for his mail and saw her, wandering around dazed and wearing nothing, but a pair of tennis shoes. He walked up to her and said, “You better go back home Missus before you get sunburned.” He had the foresight to point her towards the house. She fled home to her sanctuary, leaving behind her clothes for Wendell and Anna to pick up on their way home that night. Just another story to spread around the town.
Amelia died at the mental hospital; they held the funeral there and buried her there. That may well have been the best day of Anna’s life, all fourteen years of it. She insisted on looking at Amelia in the coffin and touched her face with one finger. She wanted to be absolutely sure that Amelia was dead. Wendell had given her the oddest look. Thinking back, she supposed she believed things would be different once Amelia was dead, but nothing changed. Perhaps she had thought they would change into a real father and daughter, just as once she had dreamed that Amelia would become sane, and become a mother, but nothing happened. They fell back into their old routine. The days came and went, the seasons rolled around.