Chapter no 8

The Lovely Bones

For three months Mr. Harvey dreamed of buildings. He saw a slice of Yugoslavia where thatched-roofed dwellings on stilts gave way to rushing torrents of water from below. There were blue skies overhead. Along the fjords and in the hidden valleys of Norway, he saw wooden stave churches, the timbers of which had been carved by Viking boat-builders. Dragons and local heroes made from wood. But there was one building, from the Vologda, that he dreamed about most: the Church of the Transfiguration.

And it was this dream – his favorite-that he had on the night of my murder and on the nights following until the others came back. The not still dreams-the ones of women and children. I could see all the way back to Mr. Harvey in his mother’s arms, staring out over a table covered with pieces of colored glass. His father sorted them into piles by shape and size, depth and weight. His father’s jeweler’s eyes looked deeply into each specimen for cracks and flaws. And George Harvey would turn his attention to the single jewel that hung from his mother’s neck, a large oval piece of amber framed by silver, inside of which sat a whole and perfect fly.

“A builder” was all Mr. Harvey said when he was young. Then he stopped answering the question of what his father did. How could he say he worked in the desert, and that he built shacks of broken glass and old wood? He lectured George Harvey on what made a good building, on how to make sure you were constructing things to last.

So it was his father’s old sketchbooks that Mr. Harvey looked at when the not still dreams came back. He would steep himself in the images of other places and other worlds, trying to love what he did not. And then he would begin to dream dreams of his mother the last time he had seen her, running through a field on the side of the road. She had been dressed in white.

White capri pants and a tight white boat-neck shirt, and his father and she had fought for the last time in the hot car outside of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. He had forced her out of the car. George Harvey sat still as stone in the back seat-eyes wide, no more afraid than a stone, watching it all as he did everything by then-in slow-mo. She had run without stopping, her white body thin and fragile and disappearing, while her son clung on to the

amber necklace she had torn from her neck to hand him. His father had watched the road. “She’s gone now, son,” he said. “She won’t be coming back.”

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