(a chapter within Wonderbread Man, novella, foundation for a film)
There comes a time in a man’s life when he realizes that nothing else will do. He may be standing at a station of some kind, watching a train go by, or waiting for a subway to come out of the mouth of some tunnel or standing in a field looking up at the sky for no good reason, just because a cloud formation caught his eye or he may be standing in a pub among a throng of like-minded sports fans, holding onto his half empty beer, or driving, coming or going, on a long work trip down or up or from side to side along or down some state highway or waiting at a tee box for a threesome in front of him to rattle off two more shots from the fairway to the green and wait for them to putt out.
He would be finished now…he would be finished now with everything. He knows at this moment that none of it will do. The laughter and camaraderie of his friends, even a wry joke, reading the headlines in a newspaper, pressing through the remote for any television show with a modicum of interest, reading a book or flipping through a magazine, the taking of an argument or the eating of a fancy dinner and slice of dessert, the listening or playing of music-a new tune or an old one, walking, just walking, an opinion or two on any subject to anyone within earshot, the sight of a lovely woman, the listening to a recitation from a famous poet or the reading of a poem, an unexpected lick from his dog upon the back of his hand, even a moment for a quip and not even a call from his loved ones will suffice.
None of it will do, because he realizes at that moment, this moment in the universe where stars are born and dying, where clouds are formed and dissipating, where atoms are connecting and bouncing off one another, that none of it matters. His life, an exposition of hopes and dreams and tin prizes and counterfeit papers leads up to…remembering that old narrative hook, its inspiration, its inception, the one rooted deep within his soul and consciousness and the thousands and hundred thousand’s thoughts and maneuvers in that strategic direction, the million steps towards his rising actions, his pure thought, his holy grail, his Byzantium of gold and silver, an intellectual largess, will never be.
The climax that will never come. The zenith is beyond his reach. And despite the years of preparation, experience, outreach, and meddling, the summit is somehow farther and farther away than it ever was. How could infinity have gotten between the cracks? And the understanding that he had so hoped would be so globally digested, comprehended, and understood, not one would understand. Not the learned or the friendly, nor the innocent, or the wise, not the hip or the editors, not the closest at home even his own wife.
There comes the time when standing in the midst of that silence that nothing else will do.
For he wanted more, so much more. Not the fame, the money, the title, the award, but to give resonance to his life here. That is the dream, isn’t it? Isn’t this point to an existence, to make your life matter to someone else? To be clearly understood? Sure, fairly easy to help someone else along. We do it all the time in our tiny gestures of helping an elderly person off a curb, shopping for mother, opening a door, paying for any old thing, saying “no,” sending a check, saying “thank you,” and reaching out with a friendly note. But, to give resonance to an idea or give someone joy through words or music or art that starts a conversation… Now there’s the thing…life is really about giving someone joy, reoccurring joy rather.
Life is a hope for resonance and recurrence. Yes that’s it. I throw my stone into the river of life and want to see it resonate in recurring, ever recurring circles… one, then two, then larger circumferences, then ten, then a score, ever widening, ever larger ripples of current, movements of energy outward, your own big bang, ever outward–even for such a brief moment of time, my time, my pebble…