evidence that he had made a choice, even though we would never know what had happened, or just where he had been trying to go. I went downstairs to tell Grace about the jacket. I told her that I was leaving soon for Cornell, that I wouldn’t be coming back for a while. I told her I was sorry that I didn’t know where he was, or why he had gone. Before I could turn to leave, Grace stopped me. Today, in the light of her kitchen, her eyes looked somehow clearer, a calm grey-blue. “Maybelline, it’s not your fault that you don’t know where my Dean has gone.” She touched my shoulder. “God is carrying him on his shoulders on his journey now. All we can do is pray for him.” I knew then what she was trying to tell me. What she had already accepted on her own terms: he was really gone. I didn’t go home right away after I left his house. Instead I walked up and down the deserted streets in the neighborhood until I found my way onto our old route to the pond. The world had fallen silent in the high noon heat, and I could hear each one of my breaths as I walked. I thought of places where Dean might be at this exact moment. I saw him speeding down a highway in a borrowed car, someplace sunny, maybe California or Arizona. The radio playing and the windows rolled down. There he was, speeding farther and farther away with every hour from the town that had raised him, had ruined him. Away from all the people who had wronged him, away from whatever it was that had caused him so much pain. Speeding towards something good. And I would hold him there in my mind, keep him locked in that scene, so that he might be at peace at last.