To My Oldest Friend, Whose Silence Is Like a Death
By Lloyd Schwartz
In today's paper, a story about our high school drama
teacher evicted from his Carnegie Hall rooftop apartment
made me ache to call you--the only person I know
who'd still remember his talent, his good looks, his self-
absorption. We'd laugh (at what haven't we laughed?), then
not laugh, wondering what became of him. But I can't call,
because I don't know what became of you.
--After sixty years, with no explanation, you're suddenly
not there. Gone. Phone disconnected. I was afraid
you might be dead. But you're not dead.
You've left, your landlord says. He has your new unlisted
number but insists on "respecting your privacy." I located
your oldest son, who refuses to tell me anything except that
you're alive and not ill. Your ex-wife ignores my letters.
What's happened? Are you in trouble? Something
you've done? Something I've done?
We used to tell each other everything: our automatic
reference points to childhood pranks, secret codes,
and sexual experiments. How many decades since we started
singing each other "Happy Birthday" every birthday?
(Your last uninhibited rendition is still on my voice mail.)
How often have we exchanged our mutual gratitude--the easy
unthinking kindnesses of long friendship.
This mysterious silence isn't kind. It keeps me
up at night, bewildered, at some "stage" of grief.
Would your actual death be easier to bear?
I crave your laugh, your quirky takes, your latest
comedy of errors. "When one's friends hate each other,"
Pound wrote near the end of his life, "how can there be
peace in the world?" We loved each other. Why why why
am I dead to you?
Our birthdays are looming. The older I get, the less and less
I understand this world,
and the people in it.
I'm not sure where all of Friday went, but really I feel that way about the entire week! In the morning I was finishing a review of Deep Space Nine's "Time's Orphan", an episode I had remembered better than it played mostly because I was confusing one detail with something that actually happened in the superlative Star Trek: New Voyages fan episode "World Enough and Time."
After lunch, Paul and I went to College Park for the fourth time in six days, this time to pick up Daniel, who finished his last week of work before fall classes start and wanted to come to the Renfaire this weekend. I took a walk, we had dinner with my parents, then we came home and watched The Island because it's that kind of a night.
Plus the Orioles were winning by a lot, and now the Nationals are too, and the Ravens had an undefeated pre-season! If it has to be fall, I want the sports at least to be enjoyable. Here are some pics of the wildlife from the Outer Banks -- we got back only a week ago but it already feels like much longer!