I looked intently into his face but he turned his gaze downward. He looked like a man who had been broken by life. We sat alone in the dingy room for a long time, in silence. Suddenly he raised his head and his eyes fixed on mine. They were burning like hot coals and I knew that the volcano was about to erupt again. "I cared about everyone", he raged, "but no one cared about me. I have as much right to be happy as anyone else. I did all the right things and life was never fair to me. Look at me now, I'm alone and I'm sick and I just want to die."
"The world did not owe you anything", I replied, "and you didn't owe the world anything. It was your own responsibility to give meaning to your life, and to find happiness. The world is indifferent to our needs. We all need to be cared for, to be loved, to be indulged. The world is not cruel, it is uncaring. Only human beings have the capacity to care about each other. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. They are not cruel, they are just indifferent".
"It just doesn't seem right", he went on, "that life should not return the favor. Maybe I expected too much of people. I expected everyone to think like me and to act like I would have acted in that situation. I expected them to sense my needs and to provide me with what I needed. I was always disappointed...always".
"That is because you always expected something in return. You were selfish. Now you are angry because you didn't get the return on your investment that you had hoped for. There was a fundamental flaw in your thinking. You did not help people out of the goodness of your heart. There was no nobility in your gestures. You loved people because you wanted them to love you back. You helped them because you wanted their gratitude. You have no right to be angry. Your self pity is contemptible."
He glared at me long and hard. Perhaps I had gone a bit too far. I looked directly into his watery eyes. "I only wish that I was young again. I do not accept my fate gracefully. I resent every day that passes. I see nothing in my future but pain, sickness and death. I am just waiting each day for the next horrible thing that will happen to me. I cannot be saved. It is too late. I have only my dreams to keep me alive.
I am walking along the beach, with the ocean waves dancing at my feet, with the blood-red sun setting on the horizon. I am walking on the street in a quiet New England village with snow gently falling and the smell of wood burning in the hearths. I look into the warm, peaceful homes and I see the families gathered around the dinner table. I am sitting under a large oak tree in a summer pasture, filled with wildflowers and buzzing with insects. I am with a young lady and we are having a picnic. I am young and strong and handsome, and I am hopelessly in love. I want to sing, to dance, to recite poetry, to listen to music. There is no anger, no hatred, no envy, no pride, no sorrow, no fear. I am at peace and time is standing still, frozen in a great crystal of beauty. I want to be here forever, because I am young and happy and free".