Open the index of lost souls and take in the scent of library books not opened in 40 years. Just what might fly out? Every single person’s nightmare of choking on a stick of celery on a rainy Tuesday night and not being discovered for days until the odor caught the neighbor’s attention as well as the cries of the cat that had already eaten off half of your face. By turn the only rescue stories that have ever moved you are those of animals left behind in the vortex of hurricanes or tsunamis. Bewildered and starving, they often greet their rescuers with aggression that melts with the first taste of food.
A city is filled with abandoned souls on the verge of compromising dreams of a 36-year-old for Eugene or Madison and rehearsing the near sincere smile that accompanies the line, “This was my real ambition all along.” Where do the dashed hopes that once strutted down Michigan or Madison avenues go once they have been deflated of all remaining ambition and spunk? A tiny furnished room on East 8th awaits its next striver, humming the tunes of Stephen Foster from his days on the Bowery.