By the time he climbed off at the wharf, he’d forgotten getting onto the boat. As for anything before that – the wave, the beach, the girl – it was lost in an irredeemable past.
“Where am I?” he wondered, as he followed the crowds down the gangplank, through the medley of barren thriftless shops flanking the street exit, and out into the vacancy of a summer afternoon.
“Who am I?”
There didn’t seem to be anyone to ask. Everyone was moving so fast, commuters rapt in their dream of home, that it seemed impertinent to break into their self-absorption, force himself upon their notice, beg to be redeemed.
Groping in the pocket of his jeans, he found a pencil. In the other pocket, the left one, there was a notebook:
said the inscription on the cover.
Good, then he’d anticipated this … what could one call it? This absence of mind, this fugue, this flight from all that was stable and well-formed. Already the ferry itself was hard to grasp, drifting off into its own, self-generated mist.
“Forward,” his mind seemed to be saying, “Don’t dwell on all that.” There was nothing for it than acceptance of this concrete footpath, these bollards, this – yes – green-painted bench.
He sat down in the sun and started to read: