Phases of Astonishment: Chapter iii
Securely seated at home,
attached to our routines,
we imagine ourselves
suited for intrigue
and worthy deeds,
if only given a chance.
I know I once imagined it so.
And so began the journey – and the letters:
“It was probably better that we were so rushed when I left Friday, for without thinking of the ramifications of my first steps across the threshold of the plane, you suddenly disappeared, without the awkward embarrassment or pain. Only later, somewhere high above the meandering Mississippi, was I struck concussively by the event and the openness of the future. On the flight to Chicago, one of the stewardesses was an old college acquaintance. And on my flight to London, I sat next to a Wisconsin student, of about my age, who was undergoing the same experience as I – and all of this compelled by some obtuse force and the hope of finding the sensation of freedom.
“Upon arrival in London, I accidentally boarded the wrong coach and received a free two-hour bus tour halfway to Wales and back. London was so very gray and elicited all kinds of romantic pensiveness. It was drizzling all day. I inspected the backs of dilapidated red-brick terraced houses from an open window in a rail car, musing while the drowsy lullabies of iron striking iron, a monotonous tap-ping tap tap-ping, accompanied my fantasy.”