Reconstruction

You see, they imagine that I have everything I want – cars and pools and appliances and Picassos – only because I have what they want. But what I want I cannot have. I cannot have so much time ahead of me that it is seemingly without limit. I cannot any longer be quite so deeply in love with the world now that I know that my love for it is unrequited. I cannot ride in my father’s arms. I cannot know any of the great store of his memories that he did not tell me. And I cannot change the fact, as I am the last one who remembers him, that all he saw, and learned, and loved, will have a second death when they die with me.

From Mark Helprin’s short story “Reconstruction” in his collection The Pacific.