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We sat in the darkened room sharing the flickering images: highlights of her glittering global tour. She moved from scene to scene in her familiar raincoat, smiled the same smile on departing as the one she smiled later, standing by shrines, mosques, minarets, pagodas, by seas and lakes with strange names or on beaches rimmed in silver, rose or gold. She waves to us as she wove through knots of exotic strangers in caftans, fezzes, turbans, saris, to whom, for all we knew she herself might be the exotic stranger as in the realm of the egret and the Bird of Paradise, it is the wren who captures every eye. Debarking, she was still the smiling neighbor in the same raincoat as if to underscore what we had already discerned: that though she had burst forth from her chrysalis and flown to dreamlike spots, to us, dots on a richly-colored map, the one who had left was still the one who had returned.

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