Suddenly, nothing matters anymore. Not a damn thing. We tried to make it make a difference, but it didn’t. And so we drift off, knowing we failed.

That’s how he left it; a note written in dust on top of a bathroom vanity in an abandoned hotel on the bridge side of Kent Island, Maryland. The remnants of Hemingway’s Restaurant remained barely visible amidst the detritus left by hurricanes and the “domestic conflict,” as Eric once called the conflagration. It wasn’t a “domestic conflict” any more than World War II was a global skirmish; it was a hellish revelation of the soul of a nation built on hypocrisy and falsehoods. The fact that it took place in every hidden corner of the country, from the wheat fields of Kansas to the back alleys of New York City and the coastal tidewaters of Louisiana exposed just how deep the festering wounds had become.

Eric’s note hit me as hard as anything ever has. It forced me to accept that, of all people, he had given up on a country he once believed in so fervently I could see it in the set of his jaw. I never agreed with him, but I admired the strength of his convictions.

His note revealed how badly broken he had become. I had no idea where he was planning to go, but I knew one thing for certain; he would leave the United States and would never return. He accepted the country was a failed state. That acceptance must have been impossibly hard to reach for a staunch patriot.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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