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I had a good time that night, too,” Michael said, “but I kept thinking, This is forever. This is forever. You will have this good time again and again, a million times over, until it will be like a play in which you and Laura and a few fugitive lives sit around an imaginary fire and talk and sing songs and love each other and sometimes throw imaginary brands at the eyes blinking beyond the circle of imaginary firelight. And then I thought – and this is where I sounded just like a real philosopher – And even when you admit that you know every line in the play and every song that will be sung, even when you know that this evening spent with friends is pleasant and joyful because you remember it as pleasant and joyful and wouldn’t change it for the world, even when you know that anything you feel for these good friends has no more reality than a dream faithfully remembered every night for a thousand years – even then it goes on. Even then it has just begun.

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