My friend Fritz, Opus 5

You were a stranger to yourself for most of your life Thomas. What say you now?


 

I have returned to my somber place.  It holds the solace of constancy.  I no longer live here in the physical sense, yet I have lived here all of my life. This life. Here I am Jack Torrance in the Overlook Hotel. You have always been the caretaker here, Mr. Torrance…

 

What say you now, Thomas?

I think I died here Fritz.

Yet you live and breath here now. That can not be.

And why not? You are dead, and yet here you are.

I am not here, Thomas. I am only in your head.

 

This was true. I had not admitted this to myself before, but in that moment grasped the truth of it.

 

My former self then.

Ahh, I see. You believe this, do you? Is this the reason you insist on returning to this place?

I am not certain what I believe Fritz. I suspect that you know, but will not say.

Not will not. Can not.

What is it that prohibits you from saying?

Because I do not have this answer, my friend. Only you do.

 

What say you now, Thomas? It occurred to me that as I am yet confined to the living it is only I who sense the immediacy of the question. Fritz is dead, so he may wait an eternity for my answer. It is only when I find the answer that our timelines may agree.

 

I have been a stranger to myself for most of my life and now I say that I am still a stranger.

I think you believe this.

I do. But…. it is not true, is it? And that is why I return to this place.

Are you asking?

Maybe.

We do not deal in maybes, you and I.

 

A hot wind stirs the trees today, the leaves sigh in that timeless symphony.  The waters of Darby Creek flow still and everything else moves in this place where time remains still. I decided I should sidestep the question.

 

When I was a boy, Fritz, lightning struck in the same spot up on that hill. On the 4th of July. Once, and then again in the very same spot, a year to the day later.

Yes, Thomas. I recall it. I was here.

 

This surprised me. I don’t suppose that it should have, but it did. I had been there, but was then unaware of his presence.

 

Are you God?

I am God as you are God.

But….God is dead.

He is indeed, for we have killed him.

No, Fritz. Not we. I have killed him.

You have answered the question then, Thomas. You are no longer a stranger to yourself.

But what does that mean?

 

He was gone again and I had only the sighing trees to answer me.

My friend Fritz, Opus 4

When last met with my friend Fritz it was a somber occasion.  I recall thinking that it would be some time before I might see him again.  I do not know what instinct had told me this.  Perhaps it was only some dark intuition, the sort often associated with his comings and goings. As it happens this was incorrect. I was awakened in the dark of pre-dawn by that familiar voice.

Thomas?

Yes?

Your sleep is uneasy tonight.

Is it?

You prefer to listen to your music rendered on vinyl. Why is it that you do not prefer to write on paper?

Fritz and I have established a familiarity between us.  His oblique puzzles, though I may struggle to answer, do make sense to me.

I have not considered this Fritz. I actually do prefer to write upon paper.

I see. Is that because you are unable to communicate on vinyl?

HA! He left me an opening!

That is but one of many reasons Fritz.

You wish to speak of this no more?

I wish to speak of it no more today.

Very well.

He then remained silent for some time, though I knew our conversation was far from finished. We both enjoy the silence that we may better hear our inner voices. This is the space where Fritz and I commune.

This tropic choler of your nights do not suit my central European constitution Thomas.

I should have thought you would have grown used to it by now.

Perhaps I shall in time.  You carry a sadness Thomas. Something new, not your ordinary melancholy.

Indeed I do Fritz. It was not my wish to trouble you with it.

Na, was gibt’s?

Girl trouble.

He laughed.

At your age? Ach… it is that curse of masculinity. We are forever in some part that ever eager adolescent.

True enough, but this is not like that.

For an instant Fritz appeared genuinely surprised. That marks a rare occasion. He said nothing more, merely entreating me with his glowing, dark eyes to go on.

I have grown numb Fritz. I am the victim of an innocent, girlish infatuation. A child’s hero worship. This is the type of trusting love that should bring joy to the heart, if one is human. I am able to smile and play the part, yet I only feel fear and dread.

Dread of what Thomas?

He knew the answer, or would not have asked.

It is the dread of receiving this trust, knowing that ultimately I can only disappoint.

As is the burden of Man to receive God’s love. I wrestled with this all my mortal life Thomas.

Indeed you did. And what say you now Fritz?

You were a stranger to yourself for most of your life Thomas. What say you now?

He had me. The bastard had me! He would leave, with that question weighing in the air. I have been awake since.