August 4

I’m not the only one. Everyone’s hopes, everyone’s dreams end up crashing and burning. I went to visit that nice woman under the linden tree. Her oldest kid came running up to me, all “Mom, look who it is!!!”, she came over, looking totally defeated: first thing she said was: “Ah, Mister — Henry’s dead!” The baby, remember… I just stood there. “And my husband’s back from Vermont,” she said, “came back totally empty-handed, and if we hadn’t had good friends out there he would have had to beg for bus fare, he caught pneumonia on the road.” I had no words… I gave the kid a few bucks, she asked me to take a couple apples from their farm, which I did, and I walked away from that place and all its painful memories.

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August 21

I’m like a yo-yo, up and down… sometimes I actually do get flashes of some kind of happy ending, for like a second! I drift off into daydreams, and… and I can’t help thinking: what if…Albert died? You’d totally! yeah, she’d totally — and then I go chasing that fantasy ’til it leads me to cliff-edges and I back away, shuddering…

When I head out now along the road I drove up that first time, when I went to pick Lotte up for the dance… it was all so different! It’s all gone, all of it! Not a trace of the world the way it was back then, not a heartbeat of my feelings from before… I feel like a ghost coming back to the burned-out rotting mansion he built in the prime of his life, decked out with everything money could buy, and left, as he died, to his beloved son, with such high hopes…