The Strength of Love in Babel

He was twelve, and as a bricklayer's apprentice, he was in charge of one end of the level string used to make sure their rows were even. They were so high up in the tower that he had made a game of trying to distinguish the people below. He moved the string up a notch on the tall pole that held it steady. A girl, slightly younger than himself, brought over a pail of water. She had caught his eye on other occasions, and he watched her as she held the ornate ladle to another worker's lips. She caught him watching her and smiled as she moved down the line offering water to the next worker.

Now it was his turn. As he paused to drink she leaned close and whispered gently in his ear. The three words came quickly. The first word dealt him such a blow that his whole body jerked away from her. The second knocked him off the edge of the unfinished wall. The third word was so loud to him that it rang in his ears as he fell. When they buried him even his weeping mother didn't recognize the name on the grave marker.