chapter  22
14 Pages


My brother Philip was buried on the morning of my fiftieth birthday. Earlier that week, he had decided to stop dialysis treatments, so his death was not really a surprise.

But it was a shock. My sister-in-law called just after dawn and I snatched up the phone, turning on my knees, naked, to lean over the bed as though in prayer. Elaine said hello, then issued a sound I did not at first recognize. The phone in our bedroom is an ancient, staticky cordless with areplacement universal antenna that falls off whenever I pick up the unit, so I assumed that the sound was just her voice breaking up over the thousand miles between us.