A WAKING NIGHTMARE
and Ordinary People
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small Durance deal with that steep or deep. —Gerard Manley Hopkins No Worst, There Is None
M ary was concerned. She had known Jim for eleven years and had been married to him for six. He was as solid as a rock. She could always count on him. Now, suddenly, he seemed to be falling apart, for no apparent reason. Her rock was turning into a pile of pebbles right before her astonished—and increasingly frightened—eyes. What could be going on?
It started about four months ago.
Jesus, what is wrong with me??
Jim fixed a vacant stare on the Alka Seltzer as the bubbles swarmed about the tablet before rising in the glass.
I can't do it. I just CAN't do this. I can't work all day and try to study all night.Why did I let myself get into this trap? Mary would be better off without me.
The knot in his stomach tightened. He reached for his toothbrush and knocked the Alka Seltzer glass shattering to the floor. He sank down to the cool tile floor and held a smooth piece of glass to his forehead as if to chill the worried thoughts that kept boiling to the surface. He tried to remember when he began feeling so terrible. He tried to think of a reason for the pained feeling in his stomach that seemed to poison his concentration and sap away his usual spirit. He could think of no reason. His wife Mary was the joy of his life. She'd been contentedly supporting his return to business school so that he could move on from his construction work to a better life. He was only one semester away from taking his place in the world of boardrooms and laptops. He ought to have it made. So