FINALLY!!! The sad man had told me what this thing was all about. It wasn’t about a girl and it wasn’t about him learning to read. It wasn’t about living alone as a boy or enjoying the woods. It wasn’t about fishing, hunting or trapping. It was about him having a thought leaping from his brain and him not being able to re-capture it. It was about a lost thought that was his, an original thought.
I must have looked satisfied and ready to depart because he immediately continued with the story.
“I knew that the blond girl had been lost due to my stubbornness. However, I had no idea why I lost my thought. It was perplexing. I should have written it down. If only I could write well. My penmanship was so horrible that no one could read it; not even me.”
“I thought about the blond girl that had indirectly introduced me to the market place and books. I decided that this was not a bad thing. Maybe I could recall my lost thought if I read more. Thereafter, all of my spare time was spent in the library.”
“The nice librarian introduced me to a local school teacher. I was finally able to proceed on my own. I learned about museums, large city libraries, the educated men in churches and universities, and the library of congress. I set out to meet the world. With enough knowledge I would be able to find my lost thought.”
The sad man stopped his story at that point. I offered him a smoke and took one myself. The drizzle had stopped and we no longer had to cup the cigarettes in our hands to keep them dry. As we sat there quietly he sobbed once or twice. It wasn’t really a sob. It was more of a quick draw of air as if he was attempting to catch a breath. It was a hidden sob. I knew because I had done this myself as I was overcoming a sad thought.
The man, obviously, had more to tell me.