Spent all night in a classroom: The exam that determines the rest of my life on this planet was about to be administered.
I didn’t even get to the part where I couldn’t answer any of the questions. No, I got stuck futzing over the answer sheet.
Classic anxiety dream. I suppose related to the upcoming Rik memorial.
I know Rik loved you very dearly, Katherine wrote to me.
I snorted when I read that. Right.
But why is that so hard for me to believe?
In part, I suppose, because Rik and I had that awful interaction over Robin’s inheritance shortly before he died – but of course, his dementia had pretty much taken over at that point.
In part, I suppose, because I consider myself to be a fundamentally unlovable human being.
I’m the last person speaking at the memorial. The closing argument. The summary: Rik deserves to go to heaven or be reincarnated as a higher life form because…
They’re expecting more than 300 people to attend.
I was raised by careless, self-involved people. Their attitude toward me from a very young age was, Oh, Patty. She can take care of herself.
Rik was actually the only member of my immediate family to say: No! Patty deserves to be taken care of.
This was when I was a very young child.
As I grew older, the nature of our interactions shifted. He was only 13 years older than me. When I was a gorgeous young undergraduate at U.C., flitting off to occasional modeling assignments in New York, and he was a handsome Assistant Professor of Neurobiology, I’d take him to parties. Some of them were pretty wild parties indeed. I don’t know that I would say we were attracted to one another – that would have been too weird, even in the absence of a biological connection – but he did end up dating many of my friends. We were somethinged to one another.
It was during this time that Rik introduced me to Auden – still my favorite poet. The strange fantasies of John Collier – still one of my favorite authors. Economics – which I loved so much that I made its study my major.
“You have no idea who I really am,” he said to me once. “Absolutely no conception.”
We were getting out of a car at the time, I remember, and the remark sounded so uncomfortably like the preamble to a longer confession that I hastily ushered him into the restaurant where we were meeting other people.
Another time, he said to me, “Your fundamental problem is that you think there are only two responses to any situation: You can say Yes or you can say No. But see, there’s always a third option: You can get up and walk away.”
I need to start working on his eulogy.