But mixed in with the sadness, I also felt hope. Dad had always been a hard man—a man who knew the truth on every subject and wasn’t interested in what anybody else had to say. We listened to him, never the other way around: when he was not speaking, he required silence.

I’d been wondering whether something was wrong with me since the beginning of the semester, when I’d attended my first lecture on world affairs. I’d been wondering how I could be a woman and yet be drawn to unwomanly things.

I had never made my peace with it. As a girl I had often imagined myself in heaven, dressed in a white gown, standing in a pearly mist across from my husband. But when the camera zoomed out there were ten women standing behind us, wearing the same white dress. In my fantasy I was the first wife but I knew there was no guarantee of that; I might be hidden anywhere in the long chain of wives.