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It is the middle of the night and I am dreaming of my mother. I am trying to get her to sign a document. Some garish-looking relations are helping me. “Whatever’s she’s done,” I protest, “she’s my mother, she’s your sister, and she’s his aunt!”

I am woken by soft knocking at the front door. My room is pitch black, I am confused, and my first thought is that they have come from England or Portugal here to southern France to tell me that my mother is dead.

The knocking stops, and my anxiety vanishes. I go through the dark…

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