The Strange Case of Richard Sommers

The Strange Case of Richard Sommers

“Do you think many people are able to express their feelings?” 

“No, no I don’t think so, it’s heartbreaking really. So many people never get a chance to tell someone how much they meant to them” 

“Is that something you’ve had much experience with in your lifetime Dr. Sommers?”

“I suppose you could say that, I think that I’m one of the lucky ones I only had to watch others break hearts.”

The video stops and our professor looks over at the class, 

“What do you think is happening in this interview? What can Dr. Sommers answers tell you about his view on concepts such as love and loss? Who he is as a person and how might his answer to this question differ from how you might answer. I expect an essay on one of these topics on my desk by friday. Class dismissed.”

I pack my stuff up and walk up to my professor

“Excuse me sir? I was wondering if you knew where we could find some information on Dr. Sommers?”

He thinks for a second 

“I would say the library would be the best shot. He’s not a very well known person but he was a researcher here at the university for a few years so I would say there’s a good chance the library might have some books on him or by him.”

“Thanks sir.”

I walk back to my stuff packing it up

“Yo Quinn, wait up!”

“Hey Henry! How are you doing?” 

“FIne, just on my way to baseball practice.”

“How’s that going? Any games coming up or is it just practice for a while?”

“We have a game coming up this friday actually.”

“Oh Cool! If I’m not busy maybe I’ll swing by!”

“You should! I’d love to see you.”

I smile, “Sounds like a plan.”

He leaves and I grab my bag, heading to the library. When I reach the library I look through the shelves searching for anything on Sommers. 

“Anything I can help you with?” 

I jump about a foot into the air and I take a deep breath, looking at the librarian who had crept up on me.

“Maybe? Do you know if there are any books on Dr. Sommers here?”

I see recognition and another emotion that I can’t quite place flash across the librarian’s face. She nods and leads me to a section filled with old leather bound books.

“If there’s anything on Sommers it’ll be here,” She turns away, then turns back to me “Look, I don’t know what you want with Sommers but he wasn’t a very good person and I would tread carefully around him.”

“Will do Ma’am.” I say uneasily

She fixes me with a hard glare then nods and walks away. I look through the books when I pull a skinny leather bound notebook from the shelf and open it. It’s filled with flowery cursive. I flip to the front page where R. Sommers is written, exactly what I was looking for. I smile triumphantly and take it up to the front desk to check it out. 

The girl working the desk looks up at me. 

“Find everything you need?”


“Perfect!” She takes the book from me carefully, opening it so as to not damage the binding. She looks at it oddly,

“Where did you find this book?”

“A shelf towards the back. The other librarian showed me it.”

“There’s no library card which means it’s not school property,” She hands me the book back with a shrug “Guess that means it’s yours now.”

I nod and take the book back. I sit down on a chair taking my notebook out to jot down any observations I might have while reading it. I opened the first page.

This book will contain sensitive material from my experiments and should not be read by those who are unable to read about . . . unsavory topics. By the end of the experiments I should, hopefully, be able to conclude how the concept of love is made to deceive us and impair us when the one we love leaves. 

I look up from the book, thinking about what he’s saying. It doesn’t seem like a horrible experiment, but I find the way he talks about it disquieting. I turn the page.

Experiment 1: The case of the Riveras. 1/20/1990

For this first case we look at Mr.Rivera whose wife passed away last week from tuberculosis. 

I first saw him at the funeral, and observed him from a distance. He had his children with him who were clutching at his hands. I see him take a small flask out of his pocket and sip it. 

1/25/1990: I see Mr.Rivera taking his children to school, he has anger in his eyes and he’s gripping his childrens hands so hard I see his knuckles turning white. I hear the townspeople gossiping quietly about him under their breath.

‘I heard that he was laid off from his job because of his drinking problems.’

‘Well I heard he’s found a new girl and that she looks exactly like his wife.’

2/10/1990: Mr. Rivera was found dead in the lake today, the townspeople say that he owed money to the wrong person and found himself swimming with the fish. 

Summary: Once Mrs.Rivera passed away we can observe that Mr.Rivera had obviously lost himself to drinking and debt. Clearly the loss of love he experienced addled his brain and forced him down a self-destructive path.

I shudder from Sommers words, he seems so matter-of-fact about it all and I try to shake it off as I turn to the next page.