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Holden in Wonderland
The clock ticks each second my life passes by. As Mr. Antolini lectures me about education my neck aches with pain; my neck continuously snaps forward as I try to stay awake. He smokes another cigarette. Mr. Antolini smoked as much as a person inhales oxygen. My face goes numb as I concentrate on staying awake. One puff, two puffs, exhale, “I have a feeling that you’re riding for some kind of a terrible, terrible fall.” he says. When he exhales the ring of smoke leaves his mouth and engulfs my countenance. I see the inside of my eyelids.
When I wake up I see myself going down, past events in my life that already happened. THUMP! I blink twice to make sure I’m alive. When my mind regains consciousness and my eyes sight, I see Sally Hayes coming up the stairs. I noticed she was wearing a black coat and a black beret. I pondered on her color choice, but didn’t give it too much thought. When I said her name she didn’t answer, but kept smiling. I called her name again, but still no response. ‘Maybe she didn’t hear me’, I thought.
As I reach out to give her a hug, she walks right past me. My heart sinks. I turn around and see a very dark, flannel suit and checkered vest circum against Sally’s body. I’m livid. So I walk up to George, the Ivy League jerk, and Sally and start cussing at them. They pretend they can’t hear me so I scream even louder at the two of them, but then I run out of breath. As I catch my breath George asks Sally, “Why are you wearing black? Are you going to a funeral? He laughs.
“Yes, yes I am,” she says .I told you he was a jerk. There’s nothing funny about funerals. “I’m going to Holden Caulfield’s funeral, he was a very close friend of mine,” she says. My mouth hits the floor.
“I’m not dead, I’m right here,” I say. As George consoles Sally he asks, “How did he die?”
She says, “Cowardice.” And they both walk out the revolving door.
I couldn’t believe what just happened. I’m not dead. I tried to think about what just happened, but gravity wouldn’t let me. All of a sudden I felt myself drop and fall down a dark, never-ending hole. It seemed like I had been falling for hours; books broke my fall. I look at the clock and see only five minutes had passed. When I climb out from the pile of books I was buried in, I see that I’m in the Pencey library. Though the only books I saw were The Secret Goldfish and How to be a Prostitute in Hollywood. I saw that these were the only books in there so I ran out. As I got outside, the cold breeze of air-cools my thoughts. My body started to relax so I figured I’d give old Jane a buzz.
When I got into the phone booth all I could think about was why Sally thought I was dead? How did she come up with that? All I know is the only person that can think I’m a coward is myself and nobody else. As I tried to relax I knew talking to Jane would help. When I dial the number the phone rings and rings, I got the answering machine. It said, “This is the Stradlaters’ residence. Sorry we are not here to, but we’re on our honeymoon in Hawaii. Leave a message and we will get back to you when we get back. Oh! And we send our condolences to the Caulfield family. Holden was a great person, our prayers go out to you.”
My stomach dropped. I started to feel sick, and on top of that my head started to ache; I closed my eyes. At that point in time I thought I was going to die until I opened my eyes and saw that I was in Grand Central Station. My body was tired, but my mind was fully rejuvenated. Thoughts were running through my mind that at that point my body was too weak to contemplate. So I laid on a bench in the waiting room. An hour passed and you could hear the rush of people boarding the morning trains to work. Though I didn’t open my eyes, I could still hear the pandemonium. Then, all of a sudden, the ruckus stopped. And all I heard was the clanking of ice cubes in Mr. Antolini’s highball. As my nose flared to the aroma my eyes opened. I thought to myself, was that a dream? You rude bastard, how can you sleep while he’s talking to you? I stare off in space as he talks. “Here’s what he- Are you still with me?” he says.
“Yes, sure I am,” I say. I think to myself how happy he didn’t notice I was asleep.
“Here’s what he said: ‘The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one”, he says. He then gets up and goes to his room taking his highball with him.
The quote he told me dangled in my head like ornaments on old Sally Hayes’s Christmas tree. Maybe that dream I had was a message from Allie, trying to tell me he didn’t want us to be together just yet. He wants me to still live life to my fullest potential and we would be together soon.
Well whatever the dream was it made me realize things. I guess there are lessons I still have to learn. Too bad it killed me.