At night I used to pad up and down the dark hallways in our house and stop outside my parents' bedroom. Bending over to squint through the keyhole, I could see my mother's slight body huddled on the right side of the bed underneath heavy covers, her head disappearing among them. Ever since her body was consigned to the disease, my mother had been melancholy. She squabbled with fate, demanded an explanation (I've never harmed a soul, she insisted), and quoted the Psalm we always recited at the annual memorial service for her mother, my grandmother Sarah: "Princes have persecuted me without a cause." Every year we had to search for it.