Oscar Berg wasn’t a morbid person.  As a child, he

had worried about death the way most children do, trying

to comprehend the idea of his own nonbeing.  The idea

was too complicated and depressing and so he mostly forgot

about it.  He had a period in his mid-teens when

he feared that he would die a virgin, but after

Priscilla W. took care of that he stopped thinking about

nothingness.  Now, lying in the dark Oscar began to contemplate

the prospect of his own nonexistence.  He wasn’t afraid of

dying so much as the pain that would precede it.


Paraphrases from the novel Body of Lies by David Ignatius.