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The most striking thing to her about this strange new place where she found herself was its silence. While her parents and siblings and doctors and ambulances and machines screamed and cried all around her, she heard nothing. She saw nothing. All that interrupted her isolation was a vague feeling of attachment and a sensation that there were people near her.

The darkness was not like any darkness she had ever seen. It was deep and complete, darker than night, far beyond the simple absence of light. In this black place Margarita wandered and wondered, feeling about for a warm hand, a glass of water, a bed. But she could sense nothing. Then, almost nothing. Even though she heard and saw nothing, there was a vague sensation at the edge of her perception: something was there. Faraway, imperceptible whispers tickled her ears and she was sure that there was a light somewhere even though she couldn’t see it.

During her stay in the dark place she could not sleep. Though it seemed to her family and her doctors that she was in a deep, dark sleep, she could not quiet her awareness of being wide awake. She tried to sleep even though she wasn’t tired and found she couldn’t. She tried counting sheep and counting backwards, she tried to remember and recite as many prayers as she could, she tried to remember the birthdays of all her family members, she tried to remember each of the animals in her favorite place on earth, the Bronx Zoo, and the location of their habitats, and she tried to imagine a dream world into which she could drift, but there was no relief from her tireless consciousness.

After two days of bottomless darkness a shadow appeared or, more accurately, the reverse of a shadow. A vague light pierced the absolute darkness. Margarita felt the love and the concern of her family clearly - their fear and anger were just wisps in the air. She could even sense that their fear and anger were just weak reflections of their love. The shadows held her hand and kissed her cheek but if they made any noise she didn’t hear it.

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