There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time. So you wait in this lobby until the third death. There are long tables with coffee, tea, and cookies; you can help yourself. There are people here from all around the world, and with a little effort you can strike up convivial small talk. Just be aware that your conversation may be interrupted at any moment by the Callers, who broadcast your new friend’s name to indicate that there will never again be another remembrance of him by anyone on the Earth. Your friend slumps, face like a shattered and reglued plate, saddened even though the Callers tell him kindly that he’s off to a better place. No one knows where that better place is or what it offers, because no one exiting through that door has returned to tell us.
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