Word reached him of two deaths, six months apart, of fellows from his freshman dorm, one from a heart attack, one from head injuries sustained in a fall. That made three he knew of, the other, a few years earlier, a chronic smoker’s, had been from lung cancer.
He had been most friendly with that fellow, an athlete, future lawyer, father of three. He had been second friendliest with the heart attack victim, in student government, and later the federal. He had been least friendly with the fellow who had fallen. He had been an amusing eccentric in college and, according to his obit, had blossomed into a fuller one, but beloved by many, at his end.
He thought abut the two times he had himself been coded. He thought of the hair’s weight on the scales of fate which had kept him here and able to write this. He felt like – saw clearly, in fact – he was a lemming moved two places closer in the pack to the cliff’s edge.
The dorm had two floors. About 25 boys lived there, and he found he could recall 23, who lived with whom, and in which room.
He could not, however, recall the bathroom or any detail about it.
He e-mailed news of the deaths and his recollections to five fellows from that dorm.
His roommate recalled them living on the first floor, not the second, and next door to someone whom he did not believe to have been anywhere in the vicinity.
Another fellow said he could recall the bathroom but not the names of either of his roommates.
A third fellow said he lived across from the bathroom but did not recall ever using it – or seeing anyone else use it either.
When he told Adele of his memories, she said, “Boy, something really terrible must have happened to you in that bathroom.”