“Memory fades, and when the people carrying it die, it fails. Paper burns. Hard drives fail. What lasts, then? What strides, through the falling ashes of the burning Library of Alexandria, confident that it will persevere?” She spoke with quiet intensity, her eyes riveted on Marianna. Other than her mouth, her eyes, nothing moved from the lotus position.

“If you’re going to say that you are an idea, I think we might need to have a frank chat.” Marianna drank deep of her stillborn coffee, wincing at its bitter dregs. “We’re each the hero of our own story, you know. To ourselves, we are each an idea. I suppose we are to others as well. But not in the way you mean.”

“Are you sure of that?”

“Well, who is someone that’s an idea? Give me someone old, you mentioned Alexandria.” Marianna scraped the bottom of her cup with a beat-up spoon, seriously thinking about shoveling what remained into her mouth. “I’m curious.”

“Alexander the Great. He is an idea undiminished by the passage of 2500 years.”

“Okay, sweetie. What idea is that?” Marianna said. “I don’t mean ‘this is a good general who conquered the world.’ What idea does Alexander represent? If you can tell me, well, maybe I’m wrong about this whole thing. But I doubt it.”

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