He first met his wife while she was hitchhiking across the country with a knapsack, a hunting knife, and a battered copy of Miguel de Unamuno’s “The Tragic Sense of Life.” He picked her up in the middle of the Nevada desert. Sweat was beading on her skin. She was out of water. She was desperate. She sat down next to him in the front seat. “Have a juice box,” he said, and she sucked it dry in one breath.
He thought she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She was sure, in her fevered state, that he was going to rape her. She kept fingering her knife, wanting him to keep his distance but wishing he’d offer her another juice box.
“What are you reading?” he’d asked.
“It’s a book about how …” she thought about this for a moment. “… about how life can never be understood, because the purpose of life is living, not understanding.”