an excerpt from ‘Fall’ by Donald Hall

The first taste of October’s cider always recovers for me a single afternoon in the autumn of 1944, a long walk with a new friend and a day I cherish. There are days in a long life that are carved without pain in the heart’s chambers, or with pain as sweet as cider’s. In September of 1944, I left home for the first time and lived among the barbarians of adolescence all day and night at a prep school in southern New Hampshire where I studied Latin in hopeless panic and wept tears of solitude and loathed the thicklipped sons of lawyers and brokers who glared at me with insolence, with frigidity, and without acknowledgement. Once I asked directions from someone who looked depressed – the only facial expression I wished to address – and when he proclaimed his ignorance we began our friendship to the death.


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