Blogger: Peter Dunn – “The Cynical Dreamer”
Since I can remember, The Little Prince has been my favorite book of all time. Throughout childhood it has fallen into my life continually, at the exact time I’ve needed it to. As an adult, I’ve read it a couple times a year, at the times I think I’ve needed it. Still, three decades later and I’m re-reading it, and finding new things, new quotes, new hints, and new foreshadowing of just how genius it is. My biggest quest yet in life has been finding happiness as an adult, when I was so happy as a child. The brilliance that is The Little Prince, has helped me realize I’m not alone, but also that I’m not insane for it. Adults lose so many things they had as children. They, excuse me, WE, sometimes harden, we forget things, we change as life takes it’s toll on us. We sometimes forget the sheer importance of the thing that beats in us, and keeps us moving, and literally, alive: our heart.
When I was 12 years old, I was walking home from school a bit later than usual, the sun was down, and all I had to keep me company was the clouds and the moon that lit them. This wasn’t unusual, due to the fact that I was involved in so many after school activities, or even working as a child actor, but it was a night that I particularly remember how dark and quiet it was and the beauty of it all. My daily walk home from the subway to my house (yes, it was an apt, but any born and raised New Yorker I know calls their apt their damn house, so leave me alone!!! Lol) was a two block up hill trek. Not longer than a five minute walk, but it was uphill (barely) and if I was in a bad mood, it always felt strenuous. (First world problems. Apparently I was 12 and lazy.)
On this day though, it wasn’t. I was enjoying every aspect of my walk. The crispness in the air, the five-minute walk of being alone and having the ability to be in my own thoughts, and just how beautiful the moon was and how it reminded me that the clouds never really went anywhere, and how neither were alone.
Two minutes into my walk, I came across an old man collapsed on the stairs of a brownstone. He reached out for me but couldn’t fully move.My instinct as a twelve year old said, “This is a pedophile!!!! Keep walking” (and we all now know my history with those). However, my instincts as a caring human being said, “stop”. I went over to him, and after a couple moments of communication and interaction, realized he was having a heart attack. I screamed for help but the streets were completely empty. Such is probably why I remember every detail of just how quiet and beautiful the street was that night. I helped him up, and we started making our way to his apartment building, which was about a half block away. This was before cell phones existed, or rather, before everyone had them. I didn’t have one, and he didn’t have one, so all we could do was make our way to his apartment, so that I could call 911 from his landline.
On our short walk that felt like forever, he kept saying how painful it was, and I kept telling him to just focus on his breathing. I was twelve, I had no clue what I was doing. Make him focus on something, so that he stops being scared of the pain. I told him how I’d grown up in the neighborhood but how I had never seen him before. He told me he’d been living in the neighborhood for forty years, and that him and his wife had moved in when Columbus Ave was still a slum no one wanted to live in. He then told me she had passed away a month ago, from a heart attack.
We got to his building, and I basically carried him in and into his elevator. All we had to do was make it to his apartment, and I would call 911, and everything would be ok. That’s what I told him, and that’s what I told myself.
That lovely man died in the elevator with me. It was just him and I, and yet again, the most prevalent factor of the situation, is how quiet it was. It’s one thing to see a body at a wake, it’s one thing to see a random dead body on the street, it’s an entirely different thing to not only be there when someone passes, but to have it happen in the smallest, most enclosed space, possible. The elevator was moving, yet it felt like the world had stopped. His had. Mine temporarily did. All I could feel was silence and death. All I could think was, this moment was truly only between him and I. All I could see and hear was a world so quiet that I almost felt blind and deaf. He went from so scared to so peaceful, and again all I could be reminded of, was the moon lighting the clouds, and that the clouds never went anywhere, and the moon was never actually alone.
It was in that moment, for the first time in my entire life, that I realized one could actually die from a broken heart.
Is there anything more heartbreaking, yet more beautiful? I’ve yet to find it, though my quest has taken me down so many paths since.
To Be Continued….
Peter William Dunn is a born and raised New Yorkers, who is currently a freelance writer, producer, director and sometimes actor in the city.
His professional passions include: film, music, literature, helping other artists thrive and all around storytelling
His personal passions include: puppies, babies, black and white milkshakes, and attractive men with accents (he has an extra strong track record for attracting emotionally unavailable men, but don’t tell him we told you that, and don’t yell at him for speaking in third person right now).
His current loves are his dog, Domino, a whiskey neat, and in case you didn’t know, his mother is the greatest human being on earth❤