These is a revised version of the first Alternate prologue for my unfinished Summer of a Doormouse project. It was written around 4 years later in October 2008. It is, if I’m not mistaken, the last major work I did on this project.
Summer of a Doormouse
Through the dirty mud smudged bus window I watch as New Jersey blends into Pennsylvania, traveling to a meeting where a complete stranger will decide my future. I am alone, without a home. Not that I am homeless by any means. I live in a dorm room at Columbia University in Manhattan, while the majority of my belongings reside with my fiance in Pennsylvania in the apartment we share when I’m not at school. But neither of these feels much like “home” anymore, if indeed they ever did. Strangely, the Columbia dorm room feels more like a home than my fiance’s apartment these days, and not merely because I spend the majority of my time there. I hesitate to let the thought crack my conscious mind, but I feel her life slipping away from mine, as though we were still “together” out of habit as much as anything else. How telling is it that I am returning to Shillington briefly for a bankruptcy hearing and she could find no time to see me while I’m here.
There is nothing quite so dreary as a bus terminal. Not quite depressing, but far from a happy place. Nobody comes here for the sake of the place itself. Everyone here is waiting to go somewhere else. Waiting for a bus to Pittsburgh or New York, or are waiting for a loved one to rescue them from this place, having arrived from parts unknown. Or, like myself, there are those that, having conducted the business required of them, now wait to return from whence they came. This is Limbo—if only Jews believed in such things. Nobody belongs here, nobody sets out ti travel to a bus station, its just a weigh station on the way to where you belong. If indeed you belong anywhere.
When I was younger I used to dream of the future. Vivid dreams, almost visions. Not the clean optimistic future of starships and friendly aliens my great-aunt and I used to watch on Star Trek, but the real future. My future. Dark dreams of desolation, war and loneliness, dark dreams that held a spark of hope, of longing love. That spark is all but dead in me now. I try to hold onto the hope, the dream, of my youth. It is a tenuous grasp at best, but I hold on in near desperation. It is a yearning beyond my rational mind, with little to no basis in reality. But I hold onto it never the less. Often I think it would be easier and healthier to just accept my world as it is. The disparity between my dreams and my reality is at the root of much of the pain I find myself in. Marcus Aurelius would surely council me to accept things as they are as the way things are meant to be and live my life accordingly. But, like mad Majnun or Don Quixote, I am unable to see the world as it is, but how it could be, how it should be. Why is it so important to hold fast to these mad dreams? Because it is all I have left. It is all that keeps the Darkness at bay, all that keeps me from being engulfed completely by that suffocating black blanket of eternal night.
Often I try and think back to where it all began. But the greatest difficulty in telling any story is knowing where to start. It could be argued that my story truly begins that May night thirty years ago when I was born. But is that really where it started? Can I tell the story of my birth without telling about my parents’ lives before that fateful day? I don’t wish to start to early, including too much information not pertinent to the story I wish to tell. But if I start to late I will leave out important events that led me to this point and beyond.
Each time I’ve laid pen to paper to record my tale I’ve been drawn to one event in particular, the significance of which is debatable. It is without a doubt not where everything started, but it is—it would seem—where this story begins.
–Jack Abramson, 15 Oct 2004
“All men are bored with other men’s lives”
– Pete Townshend, 1973
Half digested Snickers bars mix in a pool of what was once hot dogs as the contents of my stomach are emptied into a bathtub. Through the burn of regurgitated tequila I can feel a wet cloth being pressed to the back of my neck.
The fragment ends here.
You can read more of Summer of a Doormouse here.