Then he asked this: “Can one be oblivious and in denial at the exact same time?”

She considered it briefly. “No,” she said. “At least, not about any one particular thing.”

He said, “How about death?”

“No, even with regard to that,” she said. “After all, how possibly can you be in denial of something you are oblivious to? That would be a neat trick. You cannot be oblivious to something you have knowledge of. Nor can you be in denial of knowledge you do not have.”

After a long moment with nothing but the train wheels clicking over the tracks, he said, “This is the sort of conversation two people have only when it is long after midnight, and still long before dawn.”

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