Once he was off the train the first thing that captured his attention was a sign that read "Round Pond". Snooky had never heard of it. The station was nothing more than a one room building and a platform. The platform was lit by one feeble lamp and the other departing passengers scattered from that illumination like cockroaches fleeing from a cellar light. In just a few short seconds the jostling crowds had left him alone on the platform, alone and staring blankly at the empty station.
It was at that moment, as he stood there felling depressed, confused, and slightly hungover, feeling foolish for having fallen asleep on the train, it was then that Snooky first began to be aware of his age. Like a heavy overcoat it settled over his shoulders, bowing them down and almost buckling his knees with its sullen weight.
He could hear car doors slamming in the dark around him and engines turning over. He had no idea of where to look for the guy he was following, no idea at all. There seemed to be no town in sight. There was only the dark surrounding the small puddle of light he was standing in. Not since the time his dad had lost him at Coney Island when he was six had he felt so alone.
Snooky, who had never considered himself much of a deep thinker, had at that moment a sort of dark epiphany. This moment, he realized, this moment alone in a strange place far from everything he knew about and everything he cared about, this moment was all he had to show for his fifty-eight years on the planet.
It struck him hard, like a paving stone to the forehead, this thought. It hit him so hard that he did fall this time, his leg folding like he had been shot. His kneecaps hammering hard enough into the pavement that his teeth drew blood from his upper lip. He didn't notice. The left side of his face went numb and cold sweat beaded upon his skin. He didn't notice that either.
What am I here for? he asked himself. What the hell am I here for?