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Having rained hard that morning, by midafternoon the sky was a tedium of slow and tumbling grays. There was no light at all, not the slightest suggestion, and no rain. The gloom was magnificent. I was eight. I didn’t know what a mausoleum was. By the architecture, the spires, by the excesses on the battlements, the vaulted ceiling, it could have been a church. Once inside I was overcome by a stillness so refined and so polished, so dreamlike and unfamiliar I knew I had entered another world, a world more grand than the one I just left. We stood there together, my father and me. I was awe. He was silence. I remember thinking how expensive death looked, how meticulous, enshrined, as it was, in alabaster and reflective granite. I could tell by the rapture on my father’s face it was making the same high music in him that it was in me. And I was happy. I was not afraid, nor did I want to leave.

          This place is not like that, exactly.

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