1 November 1987 [the first entry in Peter’s extant journals]
Beginning from an enormous desire to write—and then? Thoughts escape me like so many days, and where is the journal then?
My ears are clogged up from swimming and it’s hard to think.
The ostensible reason for this journal is my current crisis—J’s diagnosis. Was “La Plaie” a premonition? How much more difficult it will be to live the scenario, not having any control over the denouement. And how empty that story seems now. And here am I on these pages now, trying to objectify the experience. Since I wrote “I” in the short story, why not “he” here? “He is very sad, very confused. He sometimes looks at J when he is asleep and imagines him dead a second later. When will that moment come, he wonders? He is sometimes distraught in public places. He is on edge at work. But all in all he is holding himself together remarkably well. But he is only going through the motions. Going through them so well, that he doubts whether a single gesture of his is at all genuine. I am a cliché! His imperfect modesty sometimes reminds him that he is not alone in this mess. But in his life he feels that he has had an immoderate share of the mess. How many ghosts can one man support, especially on a teacher’s salary? Well, we’ve seen repeating patterns before and we shall see yet some more. The well-seasoned survivor always plods on and, as Samuel Beckett wrote, only grieves for himself.”
Autumn is here, and the weather is appreciably colder. The sun hasn’t warmed the ground for a few days.
“He returns to the front line—will he tarry on the way?”