…..I think of you, Paul.
Dead not even a year yet, and taken so fast I still can barely comprehend it as real.
I would be ecstatic at the sight of you, walking your tall, slender frame through my door, smiling that lop-sided smile, holding your bowl of dry crunchy bran cereal in one hand and your cup of coffee in the other.
Filled with complaints about the world, your troubled domestic relationship, your thoughts of family gone crazy.
I’d sit and nurse my cup of strong coffee and simply listen and listen and listen, every so often offering a sympathetic groan or a muttered agreement, any encouragement to help clear your morning “pond scum” , as you called it. You rarely woke up optimistic. Your “pond scum” was with us as long as we knew each other, a good 50 years and counting…..Paul, you’d would have to fight your way up from the bottom of some tortured place under emotional water every morning.
My tall, slender, emotional, handsome Paul, you were a tortured man, as well as being well graced with many happinesses, much money, good fortune and countless people who adored you. Your basic nature was a dark one, a thoughtful one, a contemplative one when peaceful, a despairing one when upset.
Your father would ground you if you brought home one single high school grade that was not an A.
When you and I were husband and wife, we’d always – and I mean always – have to dress for dinner in your parents’ house. A dinner your mother would, of course, always cook.
I could barely breathe when i was there, i was so conscious of being a Jew, an actress, a tall intruder in your life. I could never take a full breath, and i hate your rigid father and your silent compliant mother for that. There are people that need to be schooled in how to be good parents, no matter how much money and privilege they had, and your parents were people who needed schooling in how to love. How to nurture.
But, they were picture perfect in their exemplary house in Winnetka, and their perfectly manicured lawn.
Remember the movie ORDINARY PEOPLE, with Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland? After that movie, it’s how i envisioned your family, uptight, subverted emotionally and deeply deeply sad. But perfectly manicured and alway just so. The daughter of the family, your sister Lucinda, recently dead and utterly alone at 83 of a sudden heart attack, was ruined by those parents. A pretty peach of a 17-year old who never somehow got kissed and grew up into a spinsterhood that strangled and smothered her along with her 7 storage units of memories. Yes, 7 storage units filled to their brims.
Your sudden death left her with no connection to the real world.
You are both gone now.
A slice of my life utterly consumed by time and circumstance, as if you never were at all.
So, yes, i guess i would feel a strange sort of frenzied ecstasy if you suddenly walked back into my life.
But, if you did, fresh from your cremation urn and full bodied in the flesh, i’d continue to listen.
I’d always listen to you.
I always will.