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My Name is Jack

Posted by StarMountainKid , 03 March 2013 · 285 views

My name is Jack, and I’m supposed to tell you about places I’ve been and things I’ve done. What I can remember, anyway.

Well, for one thing, I remember I live in the suburbs, and there’s this big hill about five miles away, I can see it real good from my second-story bedroom window. It’s about maybe two hundred feet tall. It’s more like a big mound, really.

Around it is a sort of park where people congregate and sit around in the sunshine, but not too many actually climb the hill. I have, me and a friend, and its hard going. The hill is covered with grass and not rocky, but there’s some steep places and you have to pick your way up. On top it’s real nice, with this big unusual tree growing there, a sort of mysterious tree. You can see all around, and its one place I’m happy. It’s really great to be on top of that hill.

Thing is, nobody seems to think it’s unusual, a big hill in the middle of flat ground all around for miles. Sometimes it doesn’t seem real to me, but there it is.

It’s funny, but I usually don’t remember about this hill. It’s famous and all, but usually I forget all about it until one day I’d look out and see it and remember. It’s sort of in shock that I’d forgotten it.

Another place is over the rail road tracks. Well, sort of rail road tracks. The ground kind of slopes down after that, and in Spring there’s these amazing tall flowering plants growing all over the place there. The flowers aren’t like ordinary flowers you see around, they’re more like cones, and they’re all of different colors, brilliant colors, almost glowing colors. It’s an amazing sight because the plants are all about five feet tall and they’re everywhere around in this beautiful little valley. The view is especially beautiful and amazing from the edge of the ‘garden’ I call it.

I don’t think anybody planted these extraordinary plants, but I’m not sure. Maybe years ago it was a planted garden and now it’s forgotten. I mean, nobody lives around there, and the few times I’ve visited I was alone. Maybe nobody else knows about them. I’ve never seen any one else there, which is really unusual because they’re so magnificent in their colors. You’d think everyone would go there to look at this amazing sight, but as far as I can tell, I’m the only one who knows about them.

The first time I discovered these plants, the first thing I wanted to do was to tell my mother and take her there. I think I did once. I don’t really remember clearly if I did or not, that’s sort of vague in my memory, but I think I did,  and I think she was amazed by them and loved it.

The next thing is the city. It starts about maybe twenty miles from my house. The real city is about ten miles farther, by the lake. The big lake, I mean. It’s so big you can’t see across it or in any way you try to look over it.

The best part of the city is its center. I’ve been there many times, and it’s one of my favorite places. It’s this one boulevard that starts with this arch-building spanning the boulevard, and then the buildings all down the boulevard on either side. The arch-building is all white stone and you can go in it by this little door on the side. It’s like a museum or something inside, or just a monument or something, but the interior is really interesting, though I can’t tell you what it’s like inside. All I remember is, it’s nice and quiet there.

It’s especially beautiful at night because the outside is all lit-up, and all the buildings along the boulevard are different colors, and with the streetlights and all, it’s an amazing sight. I’ve walked up and down that boulevard many times, awed at everything around me. It’s so interesting.

If you turn off the boulevard onto a side street, its fascinating, too.  It gets a little grubby around there, but the neighborhoods are remarkable in their character and sort of exciting. It’s very unusual to be there, looking around and walking different streets. There’s a lot I could tell about this area, but maybe another time.

Then, in the opposite direction, sort of south-west, are the old warehouses and warn out factories and the sort of rail yards. I’ve explored them, too, and I think it can be a little dangerous in that area, though those old buildings appeal to me.

It’s funny, but you can’t really walk down the streets around there very far. They all seem to be dead-end streets somehow. What you have to do is, you have to find your way through all those old warehouses and crumbling factories to go in that direction. It’s almost like a maze in a way.

There’s usually grimy workers here and there you meet, but they’re mostly paying attention to whatever they’re doing, so they don’t bother you. Sometimes I’ve gotten lost in these places, finding my way through old doors and narrow passageways, walking down winding, rusty steel steps and going through little rooms full of garbage and all kinds of odd stuff.

But when I finally do make it through all this confusion, there’s this road that goes over a concrete bridge over the old rail yard. You climb these concrete steps up to the street and walk east on the sidewalk next to the roadway. It’s always sunny when I do this, and the white concrete in the bright sunshine hurts my eyes.  It’s a long walk, but once you get to the other side there’s all this park land next to the lake. It’s very pretty there, with grass and trees all around.

One place I like to go to when I get to the park is this astronomical museum. It’s in this big grassy area. The funny thing is, this museum is underground. You have to go down these stairs to go into it. I don’t remember exactly what it’s like inside, but I do remember it’s one of my favorite places.

Another nice place is this beach I’ve visited often. It’s a small beach, but it’s peaceful and nice. It’s kind of mysterious in a way somehow, though. I don’t think I can explain that part. In fact, everything I’ve described so far is mysterious and kind of vague and strange. I really can’t explain this strangeness I feel in these places. You have to be there to feel it yourself. This strangeness is the most important part of all these places.  I can’t emphasize this fact enough. These places are very, very peculiar, and that’s why I love them so much.

I remember just now there’s another street where the buildings along it glow. I can’t describe how beautiful they are, almost unreal. I’ve walked down that street a few times, it’s sort of south of the boulevard I talked about. It’s in a shabby neighborhood, though. In fact, besides the main boulevard and the parks and lake, all of the rest of the city is dim and shabby looking. Sort of old and dirty and unkept. I guess that’s the way all cities look though, even mine.

That’s about all I can remember right now. It’s funny how I can’t remember things one moment, and the next moment I remember something else. I know I’ll remember other things the next time, and probably will have forgotten all bout everything I’ve talked about today. That’s just the way my mind works.

I want to thank General Spaulding for helping me and encouraging me to talk to you today and all the other days. He says the places I’ve been to are very interesting to the military, though I don’t understand why they would be. He also keeps asking me about my childhood, but, sadly, I can’t remember much of it. He usually wants to know what the sun looked like and how the stars were at night. The sun was just the warm sun, and I knew I must have looked at the stars at night, but to me they were just beautiful stars.

When he and I look at the stars now together they still look the same, although sometimes they do look different to me somehow. That seems what he’s interested in, but I can’t tell him anything specific because I don’t remember exactly.

Sometimes General Spaulding seems depressed that I can’t remember everything he wants me to remember. I try to cheer him up, saying maybe tomorrow I’ll remember something he likes. He usually puts his hand on my shoulder and smiles in these instances, and says, yes, maybe tomorrow, in a sad sort of way.

I have to say in conclusion that my life here is difficult in many ways. Not remembering is one difficulty. Another is, I’m not sure why I’m here or what my life is supposed to be like. I know this is not a normal life for someone. They keep telling me my mind will eventually return to normal and be clear and certain and I won’t be all sort of confused as I usually am now. I’m hoping they are right.

Believe me, it isn’t fun forgetting about almost everything from time to time, then remembering certain things in my past and trying to explain what they are, then forgetting them and then remembering different things.  All this makes me wonder who I am. I really don’t know who I am, that’s the really hard part. I’m really nobody right now, I guess. All I’m certain of is I’m taken good care of here, as if I’m someone special to these people who take care of me. I don’t know why I should be special to them, but it seems I am to them anyway.  

Well, that’s all I want to say for now. Maybe tomorrow I’ll remember something else. You all seem so interested in what I talk about, expectant, like I’m going to say something really important any minute. That’s funny to me. I don’t feel special or important, I just feel sad most of the time. This is due to my illness that I don’t understand, and this is why my mind is so confused.

Maybe when I’m well I won’t feel sad anymore.

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