When my children were young, one of most sacred traditions was the Bedtime Story. We favored classic adventure stories: Treasure Island, The Lord of the Rings, The Three Musketeers, the entire first Amber series where we waited for each new book to come out. As older teens, the bedtime story faded away, and then the kids went out on their own. Ariane came back home in those last days. It was (and is) my desire that as long as I lived, my kids would have some shelter against the storm and I was happy to have her. Admittedly, it is difficult to live together on new terms, both as adults, when one of you used to change the other's diapers. But one of the pleasures that we rediscovered was Reading Aloud, only this time we read to each other. We continued to favor adventure stories; the Phoenix Guard now resonates with her characterizations. She had an amazing ability to sketch a person with her voice and some mannerisms. She had a sense of humor as dry as vermouth and as sharp as a honed knife. An end-of-the-day story about a bus ride would be achingly funny and bitterly true. Her ability to observe people and get inside their skin meant that sometimes their emotions and beings assaulted her with their intenstity, and she would raise a shield to the world that looked like indifference. But it was never so.
Note: this photo, and others I will probably post in the course of this journal, is among the last pictures that I have of Ariane. They were taken by my friend Ritu, who did a photo shoot with Ariane as a model. They are not the whole story of Ariane, but they are part of it.