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Excerpt 1

There was a crowd of medical personnel around Amy, each attending to her frantically. And there was blood; deep-red drying streaks and splotches in her hair, on the sheets, on her restless arms. I leaned down to her, and, cupping her right shoulder in my hand, spoke her name gently, close to her face. Her head was facing away from me but she struggled to turn it, her right eye rolling; a black, shiny, lifeless button, yet searching for me, and after fixing for just a moment on my stunned, unconscious smile, it rolled back up inside her head again. The left side of her face was red and scraped, the back of her head laid open and bleeding through the rush-job of surgical staples holding it together. I spoke softly to her and she kept searching for my voice, but the injury to her brain was forcing her to turn the other way. The horror of her swollen, scraped-raw face and black, vacant eyes; the agitation of her body, despite her broken neck and broken back and broken ribs; the desperate reaching out of her body toward mine and mine toward hers; the magnitude of our pain; the two of us, destroyed in an instant by an ill-fated blow to the head, and swept away in a storm of unconsciousness, of disbelief: the reality of all of this was impenetrable to my senses, mercifully, and far beyond my capacity to take it in. So I smiled at her, and lovingly clutched her shoulder, and told her I’d be there for her and not to worry – everything was going to be okay.

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