As tiny as she was, the resemblance sounded: her coloring, her eyes, her head cocked at the same angle and hair as red as his.

That was a cozy night, a happy night; lamps lit, sparkle of glasses, rain falling heavy on the roof. Outside, the treetops tumbled and tossed, with a foamy whoosh like club soda bubbling up in the glass. The windows were open and a damp cool breeze swirled through the curtains, bewitchingly wild and sweet.

But then, six months ago, my dad hauled me with him to this shaddy town in Alaska. Seward Peninsula, just below Arctic Circle? And then, middle of May-we flew to Fairbanks on a prop plane, and then we came here.

Because it is dangerous to ignore the existence of the irrational. The more cultivated a person is, the more intelligent, the more repressed, then the more he needs some method of channeling the primitive impulses he’s worked so hard to subdue. Otherwise those powerful old forces will mass and strengthen until they are violent enough to break free, more violent for the delay, often strong enough to sweep the will away entirely.

The lamplight was warm and the apartment still and snug. At home in bed, in my private abyss of longing, the scenes I dreamed of always began like this. I could lose myself forever in that singular little face, in the pessimism of her beautiful mouth. When I imagined these phrases cast in her voice, they were almost intolerably sweet; now, sitting right beside her, it was unthinkable that I should voice them myself.

For weeks, I’d been frozen, sealed-off; now, in the shower, I would turn up the water as hard as it would go and howl, silently. Everything was raw and painful and confusing and wrong and yet it was as if I’d been dragged from freezing water through a break in the ice, into sun and blazing cold.

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