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The rumbling sky splinters with light. Girls are dancing in the silver yacht. A hot wind sweeps over the bay, from the island, and slows the music blaring below deck. The son of the famous architect has won another drinking bout. He's eager to show the girls his new trick; he straps on his waxed wings and climbs to the crow's nest and, arms outspread, eyes closed, makes his leap for the sun: the boiling waves swallow him with a hiss. The girls fall down laughing and the rough shore darkens with rain. That night, in a foreign capital, the architect cancels his engagements to design an obelisk for his son's grave. At the funeral, strangers offer their condolences and the priests remind him that all men die happy. He goes home and dreams himself lost in the labyrinth that made him famous: the iron corridors pounded into steel, the sparking hoofs and thunderous breath, the smoke that reeks of perfume . . . He wakes in a cold sweat, a ball of string in his hands. Maybe the priests were right. Or maybe, in the end, fools like his son chance on kind of wisdom. Coveting a final, futile gesture in order to cheat death. One could do worse, the old man concludes, snuffing the light. Much worse.

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Author:Christopher, Nicholas
Publication:The Nation
Date:Mar 23, 1985
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