فصل 10

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فصل 10

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CHAPTER TEN

Simon’s Notebooks

The next morning, there were a lot more protesters outside the U.N. building. Opposite them, the Matoban Ambassador was speaking to a large crowd of reporters. Matu interpreted his words into English.

“This is why Dr. Zuwanie must speak,” the Ambassador said. The rebels are here in America and they want to bring fear with the bombs. This terrible attack on the bus is an attack on the U.N.!”

Silvia watched them for a few minutes and then turned way.

Inside the U.N., Tobin, Dot, Wu, and Rory were looking at pictures of Jean Gamba.

We’re searching everywhere for him,” Tobin said.

“He won’t get into the U.N. building,” Wu said.

“Maybe he’s already gone and it’s finished,” Rory said. But Wu and Tobin didn’t believe him.

Suddenly, Dot’s cell phone rang. She listened, then turned to Tobin.

Fifteen minutes later, Tobin and Dot hurried into the Chelsea hotel and met Ostroff outside one of the rooms. Inside, a police officer was taking photos. There were cameras on the bed, and a note and a bag on the desk.

Tobin went into the bathroom where Philippe was lying in the bath. The water was cold, and red with blood.

Ostroff picked up the note on the desk and gave it to Tobin. It was addressed to Silvia. Tobin put the note in his pocket and left the hotel. He and Dot didn’t speak as they drove back to the U.N.

As Silvia came down the stairs into the U.N. entrance hall, she saw Tobin near the door. He was carrying a small bag and the look on his face meant bad news.

Tobin took her outside and they sat down together. Silvia closed her eyes. “Is it Philippe?” she whispered. Tobin was silent, and she continued. “You can tell me.”

“Yes,” Tobin said. “He cut his wrists. Silvia -“

“I was unkind to him,” Silvia said sadly. “He was unhappy, and I shouted at him. Did he leave a note?”

“Yes,” Tobin said.

“Did you read it?” Silvia asked. “Of course you did.”

Tobin took the note out of his jacket pocket and handed it to her.

She shook her head. “Read it to me,” she said.

“Dear Silvia,” Tobin read. “I couldn’t find the words, so I lied to you. Simon was at the stadium with Xola and they shot him, too. I was too scared to tell you. Simon was braver than me. You’re braver than me. I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry.”

Tobin looked up at Silvia.

“He wrote, ‘I’m so sorry’ twice?” she asked quietly.

“No,” Tobin said. “Once. The second time was me.” She smiled sadly. “I don’t know what to say,” Tobin continued. “My friends didn’t know what to say to me after my wife’s death. Now I know how they felt.”

“It’s OK,” Silvia whispered.

“Yes,” Tobin said. “I tell my friends it’s OK too.”

He picked up the bag and put it between them. “This was with the note.” He stood up slowly and walked away.

Silvia opened the bag. There were more than thirty notebooks inside - her brother’s notebooks. She opened one of them. It was full of lists, in the writing of a child - lists of sports teams, science facts, and countries.

She recognized one of the newer notebooks by its gray cover - a book that she sent him. Inside was a list of names, hundreds of names. “Ruth Vera, killed in a bus station… Charles Token, shot… Thomas Vy, knifed to death… Robaire Mamu, murdered in a police station…”

She remembered Kuman-Kuman’s words: “Zuwanie wants to stay in Matobo as president. People only have to think that someone is trying to kill him. That’s enough to make him stronger.”

She remembered her parents and her sister, and the soldiers that killed them. She heard her brother’s voice at the time. “Don’t cry,” boy said. “I’m here. I won’t leave you, I promise. I’ll look after you.”

She remembered her reply: “I’ll look after you, too.”

“Promise me,” young Simon said.

She opened another of the older notebooks. There was a list of animals, and then some names: “Joel Broome, killed by Zuwanie’s soldiers… Mary Broome, killed by Zuwanie’s soldiers… Alexandra Broome, killed by Zuwanie’s soldiers…” She picked up a pen and added another name to the list: “Simon Broome, shot to death.”

She looked up at the sky her face was suddenly older and harder.

“I promise,” she whispered, as she wrote another name in the notebook: “Silvia Broome, shot to death.”

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