This was his religious experience: he was driving in January and John Lennon had been killed not a month and he stopped at an unlocked white frame church in the pinehill woods and picked out Imagine on the piano.
The main characteristic of the day was its clear cold blue sky. After weeks of solid cloud cover a new era seemed at hand--one harsh but true.
Every day now as he drove his daughter to school they passed beneath a billboard advertising the services of the hospital where he worked. He was incidentally in the publicity photo they used and when first pointed out the child began to cry violently. Only later did he understand it was because he had posed as a patient going into the MRI tunnel and she thought he was telling her he was sick.
But I'm not the only one.
Another day as they drove he saw on a street corner a schizophrenic he'd treated as a patient, and she--a stout round manifestly unclean black woman--was smiling and laughing. She had been smiling and laughing when he saw her in the hospital as well. On the street she was greeting the cars going by and it was cold and bright like the day he'd played piano in the church and what seemed plain to him was that the day momentarily revealed its harshness as a kind of objectivity, and that her strangeness in relation to that objectivity was no different to his normality in relation to it. This did not seem a personal revelation, either--suddenly all normality stood the same relation to the center as all aberrance did in the vast objectivity of the physical day.
He'd been deeply taken with the Beatles as a child--feeling stirrings of a strange nature to a child. Sitting improbably close to the black and white TV he watched the crowds go crazy.
Then years later again with his daughter in a grocery he heard on the piped-in system Lennon's last single before being shot to death and realized it had been as long from then until now as from the child watching the Ed Sullivan show until the shooting.
And the world will live as one.