When Paul had his first breakdown it started to crumble an already weakened foundation, and in time the four became three, then just two, and today our worlds are completely separate.
There was a time though when that was not so. There was a time when the circle was complete and all four musketeers were harmonizing to The Nylons or dancing the Tango in shadow behind white bed sheets. It was a time of showing poor Genevieve Star Wars for the first time at 22 years old (can you imagine? NOT seeing Star Wars? poor thing). It was those “glossy eyed adventures at maggoty Mackay” after a three-day drinking binge one summer weekend. It’s astonishing how in your Twenty-somethings wanting Kahlua for your morning coffee leads to one night, two night, three night “”ooooooOOOhhh my aching eyeballs” so quickly.
Within the hidden cave
I store my uncertainties.
My secret fears,
my heart of hearts,
and all the little things that make me whole.
For fear of what they held.
Instincts shivering in the cold wasteland
of forgotten things.
But now, they have pushed to the surface,
Are standing in the light for all to see.
They walk upon the path of illumination,
they cycle through all those long-hidden hopes and fears.
Uncertainty now holds dominion.
[all poems from 1996-98]
The last time I spoke to him was in 2002 when he called me out of the blue; I was living back in Dodge at the time. He asked me how my Mom was, I hesitated, and told him she had died the year before.
He hung up.
I don’t know where Paul is today. The last time we spoke to his sister up North (Christmas 2007), she said he had been committed, for holding a tourist hostage in a public park a few years before.
A number of years ago (2000) Genevieve and I found one of those circle of friends candle holders…the one with four primitive looking humanoid figures holding hands in a circle…one of the pieces had broken, the circle, therefore, was broken. I remember us looking at one another, and then turning away.
“The longer I am sick, the more I realize that illness is to health what dreams are to waking life – the reminder of what is forgotten, the bigger picture working toward a resolution. If I were to name the intelligence, that deep knowing which operates through the agency of our dreams and flesh, I would call it soul.”
[Kate Duff, from “The Alchemy of Illness“]