Friday, August 17, 2012
All summers pass too quickly. But it is difficult to believe 40 years have passed since that summer when my world changed, my ex-wife split for Pennsylvania, as did all the women in our lives all at once, me, Pauly, Hank, Garrick, suffering the same heart ache at the same time, forced to spend time in each other’s company – sharing each other’s misery, searching for land where we might build a new life in upstate New York.
That pain never goes away, but it fades, and other memories creep in, filling in the holes left in our lives so that after so much time that summer seemed magical, because we all did things we needed to do to survive.
I still have the tape of music we recorded for Pauly’s girl, who had gone to the West Coast, and we sat around singing sad songs with the hope he could get her back, I guess believing that if he succeeded maybe the rest of us could, when we all knew down deep we could not, and that somehow we were actually singing a dirge for a dying life, and a birthing song for a new life, as we came out of the cocoon of our illusions, and grew up a little.
After 40 years, you would think that it becomes easier to grow up, or older, or to understand the process better, so that we can get on with out lives without going through the same drama.
Oddly enough, it only took ten years for my ex-wife to accept me as her friend, and for me to understand the change in me that this required, learning that sometimes I can actually be on the right side of an issue and that someone can depend on me for something other than trouble.
I don’t know how the rest of my friends fared in this regard. Hank died in 1995, having never again seen the girl who had abandoned him in 1972, a horrible conclusion, something unresolved. Garrick saw his, but never resolved it either, bitter over it for decades, before something died inside of him. As for Pauly, I don’t think anything ever fazed him, even then. I never saw him cry, the way I saw the others do.
I’m the lucky one. Life came around to greet me, after I thought I could not resolve it.
And here, 40 years later, I can look back on the summer of 72 and think of it as a learning experience.