Travels Without Charley
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People: Stevie

Stevie was unsteady on his feet. He walked slowly. He didn’t seem to have much money. He was visiting the area because he had a hospital appointment.

It wasn’t clear why he needed a hospital. I didn’t ask. His elbow was gashed. But was that the reason? No idea - and not what you explore when you first meet.

His father owned a hardware store back in the day. With his uncle they bought a second store in the next town over.

You know that the hardware businesses did well when you got Bill Champlin to come over to your house and give your son (that would be Stevie) music lessons. Bill was good - even then. Stevie apparently wasn’t.

It is clear that Stevie was a handful throughout his teens. It seemed that he remained that way most of his life.

According to Stevie - he was never much good at anything - but he was alright. He “didn’t need much”.

Listening to Stevie, it seemed that he recognized that he had a lot of opportunities, but didn’t make the most them. It wasn’t clear that he regretted anything.

Except he was lonely. I think he is facing his mortality and wondering why he is alone.

The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.

Tom Wolfe