To Put it Quite Simply

The following quote is drawn from The Book of Bebb, comprising four novels having as their central character Leo Bebb, who presided over a religious diploma mill in Florida as well as the Church of Holy Love, Inc. The following passage is the final paragraph of the first of the novels, Lion Country. The words are those of Antonio Parr, the first person narrator, who is discussing the terminal illness of his twin sister Miriam. The allusion at the end of the paragraph is to an old radio serial called "Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons." 

WHEN MIRIAM'S BONES were breaking, for instance, if I could have pushed a button that would have stopped not her pain but the pain of her pain in me, I would not have pushed the button because, to put it quite simply, my pain was because I loved her, and to have wished my pain away would have been somehow to wish my love away as well. And at my best and bravest I do not want to escape the future either, even though I know that it contains what will someday be my own great and final pain. Because a distaste for dying is twin to a taste for living, and again I don't think you can tamper with one without somehow doing mischief to the other. But this is at my best and bravest. The rest of the time I am a fool and a coward just like most of the other lost persons that in the end it will take no less than Mr. Keen himself to trace.  

-Originally published in The Book of Bebb

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