The first thing I want to say, is how wonderful it is to talk to you again.It’s been a long time, hasn't it?
Of course you must be marveling--how can I share this with you. It’s really no marvel, it just goes back to that spring morning--after I had abandoned any hope of recovery--the magic bullet, the miracle cure--those miserable, worn out hopes that had sustained me through the long, tedious years of decline--and after I finally let myself say it, I want to die--that morning, when David, my oldest son came in to my room to say goodbye.
Not goodbye, father, may you find peace and liberation from your years of suffering. No, it was goodbye, I’m going to California with a woman who is running out on her husband, a woman I slept with once, but who is seeking out her lover, a stoner living in a run down bungalow on the beach in Summerland. Or some such cockamamie bullshit.
He didn’t explain it so clearly then; it was later that he shared the whole story with me--but what he said was enough for me to get the gist. I replied, but my voice was so weak he could not hear me. So he leaned his ear down, so close to my lips that I could have kissed him; I felt his long curly hair and that horrible beard brush my face. Then, in the faintest whisper, I spoke my last words to him.You’re crazy, just like me.
In fact, they may have been the last I spoke to anyone, because not long after, a fever took me, and I began slipping into a coma. Dr. Britt finished examining me, and called my wife into my room.
Lisabetta, he said, your husband's condition is grave. He will be gone very soon, perhaps tonight. I could admit him to the hospital and they could drain his lungs and perhaps revive him (Oh god, please not again! For god’s sake let me go...), but this will only happen again.
Thank god she let me go. If I had suffered, she had suffered twice as much--this young, voluptuous woman who gave me enemas, this woman with the wideset brown eyes, who irrigated my bladder drain twice a day--thank god she let me go. This woman who turned away my neighbors, my old high school buddies--who thought they could get away with it--this woman who buried her wishes for my death deep inside herself--thank god she let me go.
Enough already.Let’s talk about happy things.My son, he seems to have settled down.He even calls his mother once in a while.He’s making a little money--although he didn’t do so well last year.But he could have made so much more of himself.The opportunities he pissed away.What I could have done with them!So many times I wanted to get up out of my bed and beat him.I mean beat him.Hurt him, like he hurt me.
If only he’d have found a nice girl, a Jewish girl.Those tramps he used to go with, one after the other.Living together--uuuhhh!What kind of a way to live is that?And that one he married, what did he see in her?She was just as sick as he was.She was built, I’ll hand you that--every bit as nice as Lizzie, from what I could see.
There were some good ones; that country girl, from Virginia or somewhere.Now she was nice--even if she was flat as an ironing board.But the nice ones--those were the ones he treated like shit; he’d cheat on them (I guess it’s cheating--they were only shacked up) and then leave them, like a dirty little shit.
And that friend of his, that sissie boy.I told him he was a sissie--I could tell the first day he brought him home.They were friends all through junior high, all through high school.But my god, how angry he got, when I’d warn him about what could happen.
So much anger he had!I’ll never understand.But that’s all past.Maybe it’s his new woman.Finally someone that’s good for him--even if she is a shiksa.
I tell you, I was right--he was crazy.Even now, a little.No wonder we get along.It’s so nice when he tells me about his life.And the things he remembers, from way back, before I got sick.Teaching him to swim, the books I bought him.How he loved books!What he could have done with them.
No wonder I felt so comfortable, right away, when he leaned over me to listen, when I opened my lips to speak and my soul flew up out of my mouth and into his ear, I felt at home, like being with an old friend.