"Happy New Year!" she cried. But how often should one hear it said in a single lifetime?
d mind of Oliver Symmes. They have no meaning to him, save for a furtive spark of recognition that intrudes upon him once in a while.
The woman in the green uniform, standing to one side of the window, smiled at him again. It was much simpler to care for him, she thought, if only one conceived of him as being a sort of sweet little worn-out teddy bear. Yes, that was what he was, a little teddy bear that had gotten most of its stuffing lost and had shriveled and shrunk. And one can easily love and pamper a teddy bear.
"Can you see the crowd all right, Mr. Symmes? This is a good place to watch from, isn't it?"
Her words fell upon his ears, setting up vibrations and oscillations in the basilar membranes. Nerve cells triggered impulses that sped along neural pathways to the withered cortex, where they lost themselves in the welter of atrophy and disintegration. They emerged into his consciousness as part of a gestaltic confusion.
"Isn't it exciting, watching from here?" she asked, show
An old man reminisces about his life on New Year's Eve. He can piece together how he got where he is, but not how long he's been there.
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