How it Begins…

From “The Well”

As the mass gets closer and larger, it breaks up into a single vertical dark mass on the left and a much larger horizontal mass on the right, and through the fog I can now see that the vertical dark mass is clearly the building. I can even just make out what has to be the well. I really want to go over and check out that well in detail, but I have to first take a moment to stop and admire the building, which I’m seeing now for the first time in runtime.

It’s a freestanding, late 19th Century apartment building of six stories, and it’s really quite ornate. It’s decked out in white limestone up to the second story, carved into stately horizontal stripes and floral elements, and it’s clad in smooth red brick from the second story up to the roof. Six stairs lead up to twin wooden doors, and the limestone staircase is framed by curved banisters on either side and Romanesque pillars at the top, capped with an entablature that sports a tiny deck (just big enough for a few plants), enclosed by two small square pillars and a wrought iron fence.

This is not just any building, this is the building that contained the small apartment that served as my childhood home, or the home that our family lived in for the longest period of time. Also, this is not the actual building, but a duplicate that I set up in design time, because I thought that Kate would appreciate it as a place to stay. The actual building stands in New York City, over on 95th Street between 5th and Madison, and it’s not freestanding at all; you couldn’t slide a playing card between the actual building and those on either side.

I’m still fairly far from the well. To get there I’m going to have to pass the junk pile, which is a huge pile of random things, subprograms, and memorabilia that I collected, thinking they might help me to make Kate’s visit more comfortable and interesting. Most importantly, it’s a rich source of fodder for the well; anything that goes down there will engage some sort of  well process, based on the essential qualities of the thing.

But this junk pile is much wider and deeper than I thought it would ever be, so it just generally takes up a lot more space in the environment than I thought it would. It’s a veritable metropolis of cardboard boxes, decorated by bicycles, furniture, old-school television sets, lamps, and other large objects, with its own streets and avenues.

I continue walking toward the well, not letting myself get too distracted by certain objects that pop up out of the junk pile, and I notice with relief that the wind has died down to more normal, humane levels. On the way I pass the bus stop, which is simply a wooden bench and a sign. It’s good to have a bus stop right here, I remind myself, fairly close to both the well and the pile of junk, without being right on top of either of them.

As I approach the well, I can see that it looks as I hoped it might. It’s simple yet sound, about waist high, and it’s made of stones that result in a tasteful (though not perfectly flat) edge along the side, and then a rough little lip, near the top.

Should I drop something into it, to test it out? Like… I look around, and don’t see anything except my pile of junk, but it’s a short distance away. And for some reason it doesn’t make sense right now to find random objects from my junk pile to throw down there; I have other things to do, like get things ready for Kate.

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