I recognized the great monument from the illustration in the copy of /The Jungle Book/ that my mother kept in the top drawer of my bedside table. When I went with Sophia to the Taj Mahal for the first time, I was not as enchanted by the real mausoleum as I had been by its plaster, paint, and paper replica in the studio; the original posed a dreadfully seductive promise in cool marble of a strangely painful loveliness, a lover's lie that death itself might in some mysterious way, because of love, be lovely.
Izzi: Remember Moses Morales? Tom Verde: Who? Izzi: The Mayan guide I told you about. Tom Verde: From your trip. Izzi: Yeah. The last night I was with him, he told me about his father, who had died. Well Moses wouldn't believe it. Tom Verde: Izzi.. Izzi: [embraces Tom] No, no. Listen, listen. He said that if they dug his father's body up, it would be gone. They planted a seed over his grave. The seed became a tree. Moses said his father became a part of that tree. He grew into the wood, into the bloom. And when a sparrow ate the tree's fruit, his father flew with the birds. He said.. Death was his father's road to awe. That's what he called it. The road to awe. Now, I've been trying to write the last chapter and I haven't been able to get that out of my head! Tom Verde: Why are you telling me this? Izzi: I'm not afraid anymore, Tommy.
But as I am a scholar I feel obliged to document what it is like here, most of the time, between the dramatic climaxes. In truth it is like this: You cannot imagine how time can be so still. It hangs. It weighs, and yet there is so little of it. It goes so slowly and it is so scarce. If I was writing this scene it would last a full 15 minutes. I would lie here and you would sit there.