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She wondered if she would be in this much pain if John died.

"You think it doesn't matter, forgetting about those you once loved? I promised to love my wife forever. And here it is, six months later, and I'm already forgetting. Twenty-four hours I didn't think of her!"

A quick spasm across his face, a glimpse into his inner world.

"Do you know that I can't hear the voice of my daughter? I can't hear it. I can watch her on our home movies and I hear her laugh and talk, but she's like a stranger. That's not what my daughter was to me-the brush of her as she went past, her smell, freshly scrubbed, the rhythm of her footsteps on the stairs, her cry of delight when I would come home from work. She's leaving me. They both are. And all I feel is relief."

They sat in silence, and after a time Anna felt his shaking begin to subside.

"I'm sorry," he said.

His face began, again, to reassemble itself.

"It's okay. I'm sorry for upsetting you."

She realized that this hurt would never go away for him. It would always be there, under the surface, no matter how deeply buried. She'd never been hurt that deeply.

"I give you this big speech about how I don't wear my heart on my sleeve, and then I break down."

He withdrew his hand from hers.

"It's okay. I understand."

Shadows pooled in his eyes.

"No, you don't. And I hope you never do."

He opened his fist, revealing the stone.

"This was very thoughtful of you."

"Not thoughtful enough, I'm afraid."

"I really do appreciate it. Thank you. Would you help me put it on?"

She took the necklace and went around behind him, opening the clasp.

"This way," he said, "I'll never be able to forget."

"I hope you'll remember that they loved you, and that they'd want you to be happy. This way you can
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