"Wouldn't you agree that someone's birth ought to be celebrated by all who know him since there can be no more compelling an occasion anywhere than that which celebrates the existence and entrance of someone upon the earthly scene; and, further, isn't it so that most such anniversaries are mistakenly focused upon mere commemoration of time's passing rather than the pure fact of the celebrant's presence and all the possibility and complication which that entails?"

He could not reply of course. He had brought her a flower from the market, a perfect white flower.

"In America it is called Feverfew," he said.

"I think it is a kind of miniature chrysanthemum," she said, "It has medicinal qualities."

She had the earnestness of an apparatchik, despite her pretensions about being a new woman and all her incessant talk about investments and media culture and the like. Even so she wore a flower well.

Each year finding the clustered snowdrops down there and wondering how our neighbor would enjoy these small pleasures in her yard, and imagining her suddenly huddled naked before us.