On Simm’s hill they stood looking down at the lights of the city. While the stars scudded and the sedge writhed all about them in the dark. A niggard beacon winked above the black and sleeping hills. In the distance the lights of the fairground and the ferriswheel turning like a tiny clockgear. Suttree wondered if she were ever a child at a fair dazed by the constellations of light and the hurdygurdy music of the merrygoround and the raucous calls of the barkers. Who saw in all the shoddy world a vision that child’s grace knows and never the sweat and the bad teeth and the nameless stains in the sawdust, the flies and the stale delirium and the vacant looks of solitaries who go among these garish holdings seeking a thing they could not name.
How surely are the dead beyond death. Death is what the living carry with them. A state of dread, like some uncanny foretaste of a bitter memory. But the dead do not remember and the nothingness is not a curse. Far from it.