While he examined the boy's eyes, Billy told him matter-of-factly about his adventures on Tralfamadore, assured the fatherless boy that his father was very much alive in moments the boy would see again and again.
"Isn't that comforting?" Billy asked.
And somewhere in there, the boy's mother went out and told the receptionist that Billy was evidently going crazy. Billy was taken home. His daughter asked him again, "Father, Father, Father--what are we going to do with you?"
Billy is trying to comfort the boy. The boy has lost his father, who was killed in Vietnam. Time traveler Billy knows a different kind of reality, not limited by time or space. Death isn't an ending in Billy's reality. It's just one moment along a continuum, along with births and weddings and baptisms and graduations. Billy wants to pass this knowledge along to the boy, so that the boy knows that his father is still alive, and will continue to be alive, forever.
I've written about Vonnegut's concept of time before. It is quite comforting. The only problem is that, as a human being, I can't experience all these different moments over and over. I am on a straight line toward my inevitable end. I won't ever see my brother or sister again in my lifetime. Their moments have passed. I will never hold my infant daughter or son again. Those moments are gone, as well. Time takes all things away.
I am not trying to be fatalistic. I will admit that I'm not in the best of moods. I've had to deal with too many people today. I've used up my daily quota of kindness and compassion, and I'm quickly devolving into misanthropy. I have a couple more days of forced human interaction, and then I will be able to retreat for about a week into the Fortress of Solitude in my mind. By the end of next week, I'm hoping my batteries will be a little recharged, and I may like people again. Maybe.
In the meantime, I will try to avoid talking about aliens or time or war or Trump or anything that may require me to be removed forcibly from my place of work. I will try not to go off the deep end.
Saint Marty is thankful tonight for the solitude of headphones and music.