The light

Mr. Perlmutter's first wife died in her twenties and he did not meet his second wife until he was nearly fifty. Her name was Ramona Dolmitas. She was an assistant principal at a high school in Mr. Perlmutter's hometown, but they met during a church trip to California.

A bunch of them had wanted to see the Pacific before they flew home, so they drove out to Santa Monica. They got lost and didn't find the beach until the middle of the night. Ramona was with her sister Diane, whom Perlmutter didn't like. Neither did Ramona. After a few minutes standing in the dark listening to the unseen ocean, she slipped off shoes and pantyhose and waded in. Her sister began to fuss. Where did she think she was going? This was a strange place. It was very dark. Those kids down the beach were probably in a gang. She should come over this way, into the light.

Against the glare of streetlamps there was nothing to see, but Perlmutter heard a quiet splash, as if Ramona were passing her hands through the water.

She said: "Sooner or later we all go into the light."

The dark