Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Never After

There were several reasons behind this blog, not the least of which is an effort to gain catharsis about some things that recently welled up out of my past and clamped down squarely on my posterior. It started around a year ago, when I learned, quite tangentially, that Hopkins had gone into a diabetic coma.

Despite the fact that we have been more or less completely estranged for twenty years, I felt my heart drop into my shoes. I spent my time waiting for his sister to post something to Facebook or send me a message about how he was doing. My sister is a brittle Type I diabetic, so been there, done that, sent the postcards. When he was in the clear, no one was more relieved...but I tempered my relief with the knowledge that I shouldn't feign too much interest in his recovery.

Two things have jumped out at me in the last few days about the 'last conversation' on the night that he graduated: first, that in my desire not to sound trite, my admonition that everything about his life to that point was worth remembering if for a single reason- it had made him who he was- sounded more like I was ignorant or dismissive of the broader context. It would've been simpler if I'd gone for cliche' and said that whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. You'd have to know something about both of our lives in those days to grasp the full gravity of it. I knew wherefrom I spoke. I don't say things like that lightly.

Second, my gracenote; I have a flair for the melodramatic and an affinity for the Classics. My parting words as I stepped out of the Mouse, I kid you not, were from Plutarch's Morals: "Come back bearing your shield or on it." It was the instruction of Spartan mothers to their sons as they went forth for the glory of Greece and of Sparta. I embraced that stoicism because he had left me no choice.

God, I was such an ass.

It's just as well that I haven't really seen him in this long. I'm the one with the nostalgia problem. Maybe I'm part of the shadow world of childhood that he'd just as soon forget, and it's best that I not know-perhaps my attempts at being the shock value and comic relief fell a lot flatter than I care to realize. Part of me wants to know, yet another part realizes that my memories are fragile. They hinge so much on my inherent belief that he could do damn near anything, and I don't want to lose that.

So many questions, and so few answers...

1 comment:

improvislaw said...

You are not an ass, just a beautifully poetic and tangible being that lightens and inspires my life at every turn. "When the mind’s eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently; but when it turns to the twilight world of change and decay, it can only form opinions, its vision is confused and its beliefs shifting, and it seems to lack intelligence."

-Plato, Republic