How could it happen to me, thought Günter, I who have tried all of my life to be a good man, I who am an academic, a quiet individual given over to the pursuits of the mind and someone who has sought to avoid the dangers of the flesh, I who have a daughter I care for deeply and for whom I would do anything, I who misses his wife and who has come to terms with the stark fact that there cannot be another woman for me, I who made sailboats with my father when I was a child, little blue and white steamers constructed from straw, card and wood, which managed, despite the clumsiness of my design and execution, to float down the stream nearby to our home, I who would read books about steam, electricity, mechanics and sails, and who hoped one day, at least for a year or two, to build my own ship, a great passenger ship filled to the brim with my friends, my family, and my schoolteachers and that would travel the globe in search of treasure, even though at the time my concept of what treasure might actually be was confined almost entirely to cartoon images of oversized rubies and sapphires and mountains of gold bars and coins, I who forgot about that dream and thus smiled thinly with ill-disguised disappointment toward my father who, for my ninth birthday, bought me an expensive miniature replication of the Cutty Sark instead of a train or a giant bulldozer, which become by then my new obsession, I who give to charity not my money (I have none) but my time, which I can offer in abundance and without remorse, I who take the hand of homeless men and offer them soup or bread, I who have learned that to a hungry man books are nothing, that is is only the fat and the rich who can read the useless words I have spent my life turning over, I who nonetheless read, every day, a hundred pages before bed, the words swimming in my mind as I close my eyes, exhausted, the book I am reading collapsed into an open heap upon my chest, and I have read a hundred pages every day in this manner since I was seventeen years old, I who cannot fight, or build, or fix with my hands, or paint, or garden, or repair a car or door or kitchen sink or broken toilet, I who miss sailboats, and my father, and my wife. That’s me.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.