I lived the life of a lunatic. Seeing sunshine, I suspected rain. I felt a relentless desire to ask people to verify whether they were seeing what I was seeing. Is this book blue? I wanted to ask. Is that man tall?

While traveling in Utah for research, I would meet a young man who would bristle at my last name. “Westover,” he would say, his face darkening. “Any relation to Shawn?” “My brother.” “Well, the last time I saw your brother,” he would say, emphasizing this last word as if he were spitting on it,” he had both hands wrapped around my cousin’s neck, and he was smashing her head into a brick wall. He would have killed her, if it weren’t for my grandfather. “And there it was. A witness. An impartial account. But by the time I heard it, I no longer needed to hear it. The fever of self-doubt had broken long ago. That’s not to say I trusted my memory absolutely, but I trusted it as much as I trusted anybody else’s, and more than some people’s.

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