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But when he tried to picture the scene that would greet him upon waking, his mind grabbed the question and ran with it, not so much changing the subject as summoning out of the darkness answers that he was sure had long ago ceased to be correct.He remembered the bunk beds he and his brother had slept in until he was nine, with pieces of broken springs hanging down above him like tiny gray stalactites.“The last time I saw my uncle,” Ryan began, “was almost ten years ago, at the funeral of his husband Carlos.Until then, I always thought it would be Carlos standing up here, delivering this speech, far more aptly and eloquently than I, or anyone else, ever could.” Adam felt a freight train tearing through his chest, but he kept his eyes fixed on a discolored patch of varnish.“He outlived his brother Steven, his sister Joan, and my mother, Sarah.Though I was never close to him, I’m heartened to see so many of his friends and colleagues here to pay their respects.The glare from the pavement beneath the cloudless blue sky was merciless, but he kept the windows undimmed.The venue was some kind of chapel-esque building that probably served as seven different kinds of meeting hall, and in any case was free of conspicuous religious or la-la-land inspirational signage.
Adam started booking a car, then realized that he had no idea where the ceremony was being held. He suspected that whatever victories the lawyers could achieve, he was going to have to pay the “unsupervised driving” surcharge for a while yet.He’d always hunted down the fully black ribbons, though most stores had only stocked black-and-red. Wiping his ink-stained fingers on a discarded page after a ribbon change, he knew the whole scene was an anachronism, and he tried to follow that insight up to the surface, like a diver pursuing a glimpse of the distant sun.But something weighed him down, anchoring him to the cold wooden chair in that unheated room, with a stack of blank paper to his right, a pile of finished sheets to his left, a wastebasket under the table.2 Adam decided to go against all the advice he’d received, and attend the old man’s funeral. “The more you rub their faces in it, the more likely they’ll be to come after you.” “I thought you said they couldn’t do that.” “All I said was that I’d done my best to stop them.Do you want to keep the inheritance, or do you want to squander it on lawyers? The old man had bought a few suits for him a while ago, and left them hanging beside his own clothes.