In a college dorm, in a prison, in a marriage
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Nothing has changed in an obvious way. The sunlight slanting into his bedroom this morning is just as bright as it was the day before. Outside on the street, the mounds of dirty snow are perhaps a bit smaller. Water puddles on the sidewalks. For breakfast he fries eggs. He fetches the newspaper lying outside his apartment door. It’s probably just his imagination that the paper is heavier than usual, as if wet. The pages are dry. He tells himself that when he turns them, they will not glisten with blood.
Just the same, he doesn’t open the newspaper.
He salts and peppers the eggs. If he turns on the radio, calm voices will tell him of the latest developments here at home and far away. Experts will speculate on what will happen in the next hour, the next day, the next week. Excited voices will tell him how happy he will be with a new car, or how safe he will feel with a home-security system. It’s not true that on every station he will hear only weeping and wailing, that turning the dial will move him from one grieving voice to another.
Just the same, he doesn’t turn on the radio.
He has errands in the city. He goes out and runs some of them. In the sandwich shop where he buys his lunch, two young men watch a television. He can’t see the screen. He doesn’t know for certain what they are looking at as they joke with each other. Perhaps the television isn’t even tuned to the news. His sandwich is pastrami on rye with lots of mustard. He goes outside to eat it. The snow along the street is still deep enough here and there to conceal a corpse. That great pile of snow in the parking lot could be covering a dozen bodies. But of course there are no war dead here to be revealed by the spring thaw.
Just the same, he goes home and closes his drapes.
Bruce Holland Rogers