spent a long day sleeping on a big clean hard white bed with dirty remarks carved in the wall beside my pillow and the beat yellow windowshades pulled over the smoky scene of the railyards. i woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when i didn't know who i was--i was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room i'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and the footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and i looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who i was for about fifteen strange seconds. i wasn't scared; i was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost. i was halfway across america, at the dividing line between the east of my youth and the west of my future, and maybe that's why it happened right there and then, that strange red afternoon.
at 3:35 PM