Dormition & Assumption

She had aged, but she had not aged. She had wise-looking eyes. Then again, all old ladies’ eyes, unless marred by cataracts, are wise-looking. Even cruel or crazy or stupid old ladies have wise-looking eyes. My lady, however, really was wise. She really was old, too, though a stranger could not have guessed it.

I do not think she changed at all after she conceived my brother. She had grown older, and she had grown wiser, but, except for her eyes, she still looked like a marriageable young girl. I never met her husband, but I have heard that he was already very old when she married him, and became more old all the time, as men often do, and finally died, as men often do.

Because she aged, she fell asleep. Because she did not age, she did not die. She fell asleep, and it was like any other sleep, only she did not breathe. Her skin was as warm as it had ever been. Her cheeks were still pink; her expression, still serene. She had aged, but she had not aged.

As she was sleeping that unbreathing sleep, a sun burst through the ceiling. She opened her eyes, and gasped, and doubled over as though she had been kicked. She started shouting my brother’s name. Then she fell into the sun, like someone falling into the sea. I thought I heard her talking with my brother as the sun rose up and went away. She did not even leave a hole in the ceiling, which was good, because it rained the next day.


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