Don't we all try to reconnect with old friends? Faded Jw friends? All those memories and years gone by......
I visited an old friend yesterday afternoon.
My last memory of her was from over 40 years ago. She had been a startling beauty like Jackie Bisset who was a model, a singer, a talented writer and possessed a wicked
sense of humor.
I entered her apartment and sat down among her souvenirs, cats and memorabilia. She was on the other side of a latticed door still applying makeup and chatting away like
that 15 year old prodigy she once was.
I had been warned that she had been felled by an affliction or two and would not look the same. However, our recent conversations were as though it had been but mere
days since our last encounter so vivid and bright was that ravishing humor and personality.
Finally, the door slowly opened.......
this little old lady bent double pushing a walker, with great difficulty hobbled forth covered with band aids and strenuously achieving each and every step forward.....
You know how you can walk out of a darkened room into the full frisson of sunlight and feel alive again? Her life had been the opposite. We did the chit chat and she poured out the cup of her memories as I sipped and choked it all down.
Her cellphone would ring now and again--always the same voice--interrupting, demanding an accounting of this very visit, insistent and irrepressible. It was her man friend--not at all happy that another male had set foot in "his" domain. She mildly assured and scolded him alternately, then, disengaged and apologized. Every man in her life for as long as she could recall......had been controlling....possessive....a nd rude.
Eventually, with our visitation at end, we vowed to stay in touch and regather some of the old gang and have a proper reunion. I headed toward the door and she tried to follow as best she could to see me out. We hugged and I peered at her tear-brimmed blue eyes and caught a glimpse of her soul drowning in pain. "So very nice to see you--let's do this again soon...."
I walked back to my car and sat behind the wheel in stunned anguish. She had told me everything I would not have guessed. Her father's sexual abuse. The drugs and alcohol. The usurious men, failed marriages and fading health. None of us can imagine the end of life from its promising beginnings. So many pitfalls and bruises await. Were I her author the story would have ended better....so much better.
I started the engine and drove to the highway. The last rays of evening twilight were dying against the horizon.
Sunday and my last illusions faded into darkness.