It must have rained during the night. The roadsides are wet, the asphalt dark with puddles. And the sky this morning is a high blanket of cloud. A finch, darkly silhouetted against the light until you look and can see its proud, white breast beam, glides above the ramshackle rooftops. The bamboo tree in the garden looks green and fresh and the yellow shoots appear vibrant after the rain. Despite the cloud and the rain it’s still hot and the heat is oppressive. It presses down on my chest and sweat runs down my face, my back and my shirt are soaked. Pale green butterflies, invigorated too by the rain, skip in and out of the tree leaves chasing one another, so cool and serene in the heat like something sinister, like intelligent scraps of paper, and since I saw them before the accident, I suspect they be harbingers of disaster. That afternoon out in the country they gathered in the dirt beside the stream, and when we came near they scattered, flying around us like a flurry of snow.
It must have rained during the night. The roadsides are wet, the asphalt dark with puddles. And the sky this morning is a high blanket of cloud. A finch, darkly silhouetted against the light until you look and can see its proud, white breast…
Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Diving instructors sit on little, plastic chairs and call out to you in calm, impeccable, Etonian accents, ‘Hello there, sir! Could I possibly interest you in…?’ and you know right away that it’s a spiel; the same spiel the Phuket hotelier pedals, the same spiel you hear from the fruit-sellers and the fishmongers and from the dark seductress of the Thai massage-parlor, and yet, heard spoken in such a gentle and familiar manner, you aren’t sure what to do or where to look. You’re not sure whether or not to feel ashamed for the public-school dropout, or to envy him. They’re a curious race, the privileged, upper-classes living on South-East Asian islands. Sad yet you know they’ll return to a life of banking and investment and law eventually. And that’s what’s so off-putting about them. They aren’t desperate and yet they beg. They’ve got and will always have more money than me; more privilege, more opportunity, more experience and adventure that money can buy, and yet I should have to pay for it. It’s the British class system in a microcosm played out on an island in the Gulf of Thailand.
So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”