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Chapter 42
She came floating on an island of bananas in a halo of light,as lovely as the Virgin Mary. The rising sun was behind her.
Her flaming hair looked stunning.
I cried, "Oh blessed Great Mother, Pondicherry fertilitygoddess, provider of milk and love, wondrous arm spread ofcomfort, terror of ticks, picker-up of crying ones, are you towitness this tragedy too? It's not right that gentleness meethorror. Better that you had died right away. How bitterly gladI am to see you. You bring joy and pain in equal measure.
Joy because you are with me, but pain because it won't be forlong. What do you know about the sea? Nothing. What do Iknow about the sea? Nothing. Without a driver this bus is lost.
Our lives are over. Come aboard if your destination is oblivion– it should be our next stop. We can sit together. You canhave the window seat, if you want. But it's a sad view. Oh,enough of this dissembling. Let me say it plainly: I love you, Ilove you, I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you. Notthe spiders, please."It was Orange Juice – so called because she tended to drool– our prize Borneo orang-utan matriarch, zoo star and motherof two fine boys, surrounded by a mass of black spiders thatcrawled around her like malevolent worshippers. The banana............
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