We expect the days like this, but they come only when they like, and carrying their monstrous young inside them, waiting.

There were dust motes, but Philip didn’t see them. Nor could he remember faces, just then, nor forms. There simply was the sea. And Africa! he reminded Alice, pointing to the coast, inanely, which she saw without his exuberance. Philip was happy. And why should we resent him that? But we do—and Alice, his wife, did, standing apart from him, clasping her hands together over her skirt as she stared out to the Mediterranean.

And why does any of this beauty matter? thought Alice, shivering at the old edge of the world. Could we stumble over, back into what we used to be or what was here before?

A boy in overalls crawled near her feet, not her son, though he would have been the same age as her daughter. He too was happy, though he saw only the dust. A man, who must have been his father, picked him up and demonstrated Morocco, but the boy was unimpressed, and set down, he continued his scrabble.

It doesn’t matter, concluded Alice, looking at the boy. Or it does, she thought, and she went to Philip quietly and placed her hand on his shoulder, feeling the bones snake beneath his jacket.

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