This begins the third section of the novel.Rough with sometimes salty language but I am enjoying the writing
Autumn is such a beautiful season in the Northeast with the magnificent array of colors that create wondrous vistas. It had always been one of Sal’s favorite seasons but even on the few times he ventured outside to walk the splendid grounds of Fox Hill he barely noticed the wonderful pageant of nature.
It had been anything but a smooth transition to Sal’s new life .Unlike his entire life before he appeared to fall into a pattern of personal solitude. The first four months at Fox Hill Sal had gone from a deep depression to a reluctant acceptance that this was his only choice: there was no sense fighting it this was the end of the road .His life was veritably over, and so he bowed to the reality that this high priced warehouse is the last stop where they will carry him out feet first. Initially totally ignoring the activities for weeks he hid out in his room, and despite the pleas of staff took all of his meals by himself. Feeling totally isolated by this strategy he reluctantly started to appear at meals ,and actually joined one of the bridge clubs Purpose and meaning had been part and parcel of every decade of his life ,but now he felt adrift in a current where he had no real value.
The computer became an extension of his personality, and he spent endless hours on games and searches. It filled the time but was another reminder of the life that he had lost.In the past being social came relatively easy to him but the ever looming grief of missing Helen wove through his daily routines. Somehow this place would be idyllic if she were here with him, because she had such social grace and kindness that by now he would be immersed in a plethora of social activities. Despite her hectic schedule Helen could juggle twenty balls in the air without one falling to the floor. It seemed as though her giant heart could always make room for some other person or cause.One of their friends once jokingly commented “Jesus takes care of sixty percent of the world and Helen takes care of the rest.”
Among the many thing he missed about her was her ability to almost go into a trance while watching people.Every morning from the moment he awoke he grappled with her absence but today was one of those days when grief reared its head and dismissed the myth that he could integrate her death into his life. Well meaning friends had ceased mentioning her , and feared that the sound of her name would cause him pain. Others urged a stiff upper lip approach because it was time to give up the grief and move on. All well intentioned, and he realized it was more about their discomfort so he usually graciously accepted their attempts to ease his pain.
Today was just like any other day and had it not been for the calendar on his watch he would have no sense that it was Wednesday. The office had left a note under his door informing him that there would be two new residents arriving today and if available he was to meet with the committee in the late afternoon to welcome them.He mused to himself’the word residents should be changed to inmates ”This momentary flash of the old humorous Sal made him chuckle as he made his way to breakfast.
He tried never to sit at the same table in the morning ,but made a serious infraction of the unspoken cultural norms when he sat at a table that obviously had some sort of membership. While sipping his coffee he became aware of someone standing over his shoulder “I believe you are sitting in my seat” Somewhat stunned he looked up at a well attired gentleman with a scowl on his face and a large wooden cane in his hand..”Everyone knows that five of us sit at this table at every meal.”Sal’s initial Jersey City reaction was to tell him to shove that cane up his ass, and find another seat but he realized that all activity in the dining room had come to a screeching halt.All the residents appeared to gleefully be hoping for a major verbal confrontation. Sal resisted the back in your face response ,apologized and moved to an empty table.