I wrote a labored post without the Control C and given my state of mind, impossible to duplicate. Do not even remember what I named it.
This will be much shorter.
I have as I hope we all do, a circle of friends. Those who know others whom we love. It's not many but it feels like plenty. One friend I adore is named Jean Decock. He spends 1/2 year in Paris and 1/2 year on W 66th Street, which is a building I see directly out my windows. From both places he travels a lot.
Before I went to Maui on Nov 15, since this apt is newish, and temporary, we hung together daily. Of course, we had traveled far and wide since he too is a wanderer. But being two shakes apart in NYC was special.
He almost came to Maui with me but even if I gave away some of my precious points, it would not have been enough. So we made plans for me to not go to FL but to pick him up here today, Sat., the 16th.
Like me, Jean had a lot of internet and technology problems. We both depended on youngsters---notoriously not the most dependable group.
I met Jean something like 12 years ago, give or take. He is striking--white pony tail, white beard, kind and beautiful face, bohemian and left wing ; writer for Cahiers de Cinema, critic at Cannes, revered and loved to the max. Adorable is the word. Always in black.
How did we meet? Dana Keith, my closest friend by far in South Beach was Jean's student at some Film dept at some university in CA three decades ago. The two of them were best of best friends. On this occasion, Dana was needed out of town, rare that. Jean came to South Beach to baby sit Dana's beloved dog, a Jack Terrier named Jackson.
I said I'd be glad to hang out with him. Dana warned me that he was shy or picky.
Jean and I met at a small cafe (A La Folie) on Espanola Way and there we stayed 12 hours at a stretch for most of those 14 days and nights. We loved each other, and had almost the same need for self-disclosure, for sympathetic listening.
Over the years we traveled to San Miguel,Mexico; to Israel; often lived together in South Beach, met in Paris, last summer to Finland. But I think what bonded us most were the daily emails. I counted yesterday and in the last 12 months there were 300 back and forth.
I did not want to prejudice anyone by mentioning that Jean turned 82 last March. But to see him was to be attracted. He was not a kid but an intellectual who knew every writer in Paris, including Sartre.
Example par excellence is our visit to the Ritz, for a kick. The Ritz in Paris. Mohammad Fahid was sitting on a chair as we walked in. He asked as many did, "You're a couple?" and we said, "No, close friends" and then Mr. Fahid (surrounded by a bunch of Bin Ladens--who he detested; life IS theatre of the absurd) asked Jean to sit. We later couldn't figure out if he was gay.
So, I left Maui early, which is a pretty great story I started with in the last hour because Jean wanted us to fly together to South Beach.
I flew from OGG (Maui) to LAX, to YYZ (or whatever is Toronto) and never managed to sleep at all. So I'm in bed maybe out for ten minutes, after 16 hours in the air and another 10 at airports, when my phone --which I use rarely rang, rang and rang loud & then a few more times. I awoke in that just fell finally to sleep, panic. Dana on the phone.
I adore Dana, he's the best. But even to him I was off. I said gruffly, "Did something happen to Miranda?" No. "Did the fundraiser not work? Is it about money?"
"No. Wendy you have to wake up because Miranda is fine but somthing really terrible has happened. " Dana waited just the right of time for me to get ready.
"Jean died four days ago but was only found last night." OMYGOD.
I flew back the next day and by some miracle a sweet friend was here so we talked about Jean for hours.
Then she went home and I called his four nyc friends. I suggested a small dinner together. Then I called his Executor one Roli who sounded far too cheerful. That was the day before yesterday? I think yes. My doctor who was his doctor too, had called. Had emailed me because the police had come to him and he knew how close we were. I luckily missed that. But now I went to the doctor but no one was entirely sure on what date Jean had been there, a recent Monday but not Dec 12.
Yesterday I walked the 1/2 block to Amsterdam and 66th and went to interview the door people, which was one desk person named John. John was sleezy and creeped me out by saying I'd be arrested if Roli didn't put me on the list, the list of those who could enter Jean's apt after the autopsy.
Then, though the weather is great right now in NYC, I came home and lit a candle for Jean.
But I had more calls to make and due to ATT that means leaning out this 30th floor window in order to be heard.
And that means staring at and into Jean's apt.
By 9 PM I was falling into a bad, very bad way. I am telling you why I suppose but I don't always respond to death with such a depression.
None of his friends would be here past this weekend. I was in charge of cremation and getting his address book for Dana, who would come up in January. All those nice people (friends) and sleezies (desk guy; executor) felt like too much for me. What was too much for me was my eerie proximity. (Writing this is like walking through sticky mud and with two broken (never fixed) fingers. )
I went to the one room that isn't facing Jean's apt and I started reading a wonderful book I've been reading since my flight from Maui (it's 1000 pages)--and suddenly I felt more awful than I remember feeling in forever.
I got up and called my wisest friend John, with whom I lived in Maui and many other places. He defines wise. He said, get outta there. Others can do the apt, the creamation. Dana can do it by phone. Go.
My first two friend-deaths were the year when each was 37; I was 35. My mom died when I was 37; my dad when I was 39 or 40. Many friends have died since. Oddly, not one evoked this feeling of emptiness, of longing for his return, saudade is that, in Portugese, a desperate nostalgia. Not that I can think straight but I have to move and get things done.
A Haitian woman I met in the lobby yesterday said, "You are strong."
I would really like to know what that means. Strong how? I feel like death myself, like a plate with death on it. What is strong? That I don't throw myself out the window? I don't know folks, but this, this is a rougher ride than imagined. Moving on again. Love you Jean, so sorry I wasn't here.
PS: I am not talking but typing with two TWO broken fingures. If anyone reads this both Jean Decock and Dana Keith have FB pages and photos.