The body floating in the pool was a wax dummy. The sleeping shape in the Buchanans’ bed was a bundle of blankets with a paper maché head.
They sailed to Cadiz on the RMS Homeric and made their way to Monte Carlo, where they promptly disappeared. After a few years they resurfaced in Rome, then Oslo, then Montenegro. They were spotted at a house party on the Isle of Man, and they appear in a photograph taken in 1937 at Stalin’s dacha near Sochi on the Black Sea. He wears a belted peasant shirt and a pince-nez, she a white dress.
They waited out the war in Tashkent. When it was over, they wandered through Asia and Africa and eventually settled on a kibbutz, where they died within a month of each other in 1977, surrounded by their children and grandchildren.
“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such–such beautiful shirts before.”
White collar shirt in summit stripe. Launder on delicate cycle in tears for the past. Tumble dry low.