A man copes with the loss of his wife:
“Say, for argument’s sake, we hire the car that morning and drive to Busteni, or take the train instead. Say the rental agent is not sick. We are his only business, valued customers in fact, for whom he has a late 90s Peugeot gassed up and ready to go. We make good time out of Bucharest, past the abandoned industrial parks and new farms, and arrive quickly to Busteni. We ride the cable car up the mountain, take photographs under the white cross at the top, poke around a bit. We find an easy day hike across the ridge and back, eat lunch, drink our celebratory beers on the porch outside the basement of the hostel.
“We say that it was good to get out of the city and away from our routines. We should do this more often. On the ride down the mountain, we tell our friend about our weekend in Cali Manesti, for Katie’s birthday, how we hiked near the sulfur springs and got lost in the farm where I surrendered my shoe to a manure pile. Coming down the mountain, the cable car clicks and swings, and stops for a while over the deep valley to wait out the high wind, but it starts again. We do not travel to Busteni three months later. Katie does not die on the ridge of that mountain on a Saturday in late June. The ridge is not made sacred by her violent death. A bear crosses the ridge that day and attacks no one. Instead, that afternoon in March, we cross Busteni off of our list. There are other parts of Romania to visit that summer, for my birthday, before we leave the country for good.”