On oregon astir May 5th of 2020, helium conscionable stopped. He stopped exercising, stopped walking, stopped reading, stopped planning. He ate, drank, washed, and paid the bills, but that was it. He was seventy-three. He’d spent much than 38,368,800 minutes connected earth, lone a precious fewer of which helium remembered. That’s what deed him 1 evening, aft the cheering and clanking of pots and pans had died down: a immense chunk of his life—the greater portion of his life—might arsenic good ne'er person occurred. Not conscionable the clip spent sleeping but those millions of minutes spanning lunches, dinners, meetings, concerts, marriage, work, books, movies, conversations—all gone. What remained? A bird’s enactment of his existence. Sitting with his parent successful Prospect Park erstwhile an existent vertebrate had shat connected her formal and he, 8 years old, thought the satellite had swerved disconnected course. Wounding a squirrel with a BB weapon erstwhile helium was 10 and crying implicit the tiny quivering body. Losing a footrace erstwhile helium was 12 due to the fact that helium was truthful acold up helium thought helium could dilatory down. Sparring astatine seventeen with a handsome Black kid who fought arsenic an amateur nether the sanction of Voodoo DaLeeba. Smoking a associated successful Sheridan Square Park erstwhile an aged antheral successful tattered apparel approached and said, “If you archer maine you emotion me, I’ll archer you however to marque a batch of money.” Watching “2001: A Space Odyssey” successful a movie theatre connected Fifty-first Street and softly whistling erstwhile the acheronian bony flung into the aerial descends and abruptly there’s a achromatic outer sailing done space. Running headlong down a steep elevation successful a Kentucky hollow, exhilarated by the information of falling and breaking his legs. Bumping into a friend, who told him that she had slept with 2 men that day, and it truthful aroused him that helium asked if helium could beryllium the third. Inhaling an intensely aromatic 1990 La Tâche astatine a Sotheby’s pre-auction tasting. Listening arsenic Seiji Ozawa conducted “The Rite of Spring” astatine Tanglewood erstwhile the skies darkened and thunder rumbled and a hard slanting rainfall sheeted into the tent, spraying the assemblage and the musicians onstage. Ozawa didn’t look to notice, but he noticed that the musicians were smiling, astir grimacing. The strings cried with the upwind and thumped with the drums, and the horns played searing notes successful assorted keys and it was truthful fucking fantastic that helium ne'er adjacent thought to look implicit astatine his girlfriend.
For a time, helium wanted to unrecorded for art, a fatuous conception since helium couldn’t write, paint, oregon sculpt, and played the soft with a vague melancholic aerial that impressed nary one. A tiny spot allowed him immoderate leeway during the seventies, but erstwhile helium had his capable of moving astir helium took a occupation successful a ample advertizing bureau wherever helium made bully with radical helium often liked but ne'er admired. When helium was thirty, helium met a pistillate whose tegument and odor were truthful intoxicating that helium foolishly spent each dollar helium earned trying to clasp connected to her, adjacent though helium knew it was hopeless. She was twenty-four and thought cocaine, vodka gimlets, and going to CBGB portion of the earthy beingness cycle. Five months aft she totalled her dark-blue MG, sidesplitting herself and a grad student, helium joined idiosyncratic who knew more astir books than helium did. She didn’t privation children and, aft a while, helium didn’t, either. His woman was a writer and a lecturer astatine assorted colleges, mostly successful the East, truthful helium met a batch of radical successful the arts, each but 1 of whom disappeared from his beingness aft the divorce. How galore times had helium slept with his woman successful nineteen years of matrimony and the 4 months before that? Nineteen 100 times? Three 1000 times? Five 1000 4 100 and twenty-two? Shouldn’t helium retrieve however it felt astatine slightest immoderate of those days and nights? It’s truthful damned intimate being wrong different person. Isn’t it?