Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Love and Shadows

A friend came over for the evening recently. My wife remarked that he looked a little more relaxed, a little less stressed, for the first time in a long time. I had to agree. Could it have something to do with the fact his long-time love had died not that long ago?

Yeah, I think that might be it because she had been sick for a long time, and he had been her caregiver. They had lived together -- more or less, on their own particular terms. They lived adjacently. Their lives intermingled. He once said their relationship was deep and satisfying but puzzling to some. Her friends didn't much like him. His friends didn't much like her.

She was in her way well-known and after she died she got written about, at some length, with some quotes from one or two people who -- at least based on the internal evidence of the piece -- hadn't been around her in a while. Maybe they had, but the story did not establish the point.

Our friend wasn't mentioned, though he and she had been together for 20 years in the mode previously described. His omission made me think about the nature of the obituary and the instant biography. Maybe our friend withdrew from participation in this first little history, choosing for all sorts of reasons to reserve the details of their intimacy, perhaps even the fact of that intimacy. Perhaps, the hole in the story about his lost love was there because of a delicacy on his part. Or perhaps her friends really did NOT like him and were now choosing to erase after the fact what they could not alter in life.

So this particular first draft of history seems to have been wrong, or at least incomplete. I don't know why. Someday I'll ask our friend, but only after his sadness has receded a good deal more.

I don't know if this particular moment of "not being" matters to him. And who cares what matters to history? But still here in this blog is a nice little clue for any future biographers of her -- or of him. Both are writers, and you never know which way reputation is going to tilt way down the road.

Not that it will matter. We aren't talking about Jesus and Mary Magdalene here, not to my knowledge. But as I said my friend and his friend were a very private couple.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who are these people, exactly?