At Vanda’s insistence we were even able to get an umbrella in the first row. In the shade, stretched out in the chairs facing the drowsy sea, my wife read books on scientific predictions, telling me, now and then, about the subatomic world or outer space, while I read novels and poems that I shared with her softly from time to time, not so much to read them to her but to grant myself further pleasure. After dinner, on the terrace, we both often happened to see the wake of a falling star at the same moment, and this delighted us. We admired the night sky, the fragrance of the air, and by midweek not only that beach, that sea, but the entire planet seemed a miracle. In the days that remained I felt quite wonderful. I savored the fortune of being, for a good seventy-four years, a happy transmutation of the sidereal substance that roils in the furnace of the universe, a fragment of living thinking matter, without too many aches and pains to boot, and barely scathed, purely by chance, by misfortune. The only bother was the mosquitoes that bit at night, me mostly, leaving Vanda in peace, so much so that she claimed there weren’t any. Apart from that, how wonderful it was to live, to have lived. I marveled at my own optimism, a sentiment I have little calling for.
pg. 52, Ties

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