And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
There are three sides to every story: what happened, what didn’t happen and what really happened. Actually, I’d like to add a fourth—what should have happened.
As I look back on my experiences of last summer I think the latter element stands out.
I was failed by those around me who should have supported me, but didn’t, and by someone close to me who could have helped but wouldn’t.
Nevertheless, I have some takeaways—the first being that life isn’t fair—that’s almost an axiom and a given.
The second takeaway is life demands something of you whether you can do it or not—and that is also unfair—and in some ways a corollary of my first observation.
And the final thing I might say to sum up this divagation, this self pitying nebulous foray into the void, is the fact that most times reality sucks.
I came to West Harbour to find myself, and recover a sense of my past.
There were gaps in my memory big enough to drive a truck through, and ironically that was the deus ex machina—the miraculous event that saved me from what would have been a disastrous decision—marrying Mara Cervantes.
A road accident left my memory permanently impaired but fortuitously left me unable to connect with the aforesaid ‘Girl of my Dreams’ whom I now perceive as an intolerable bitch.
So much for divine intervention—but obviously, it does happen, and in my case, I’m eternally grateful.
But who is Marcus Sterne—or more precisely, who is this parentless protagonist walking around in his body?
This angst is about as close as I can come to understanding my predicament, my vulnerability and my isolation in this world.
I inherited a life but am a man without a history, lacking an autobiographical memory.
And there you have it—the ultimate abandonment.
Last spring Father died leaving me orphaned but incredibly well off, if you count five million in the bank along with multiple investments and the family estate in West Harbour.
Apart from that, I have no idea who I am and the damnable thing is nobody else seems to have any details about the family history other than to say Father made his fortune in murky dealings and arcane manipulations of the stock market.
The only advice I have was given by Arthur Reid, the family lawyer, and he warned about getting too close to the locals because the Sternes have a history in West Harbour and none of it appealing.
So, I can’t really begin with a blank slate and undertake the mammoth task of self-fashioning, but instead, I’m forced to deal with being the proverbial bête noir and must make my way from there.
Not the best of all possible worlds.
I think this undertaking will be more than returning to my roots, unless, of course, that process entails spiritual exorcism.