Alcibiades 8

My Beloved Richard…

Tranquilitas et Bonum!

Tranquility and goodness be yours old friend and companion…

Strange that I should write these things to you, now dead and unable to respond outside of my imagination. But there is a compulsion within my soul to communicate with you one last time, to give up these thoughts and notions always in my mind.

Is it merely a habit? I am empty of your perspective and must fill it with what I believe you would say. I miss you so much; I both loved and hated you too deeply to ever fully comprehend how absent from myself I would be without you here. I spent eight years living for you in your surviving for me. Now, I have so much to do with my life and my thinking: alone. Anger hides the loneliness but only for some short time until the truth of my circumstance bursts forth in sobs, unexpectedly without possibilty of diversion. Yet, the melancholy runs its course, my eyes dry again and my throat is not so constricted.

So alone with the dull echoes of my emotion. Bear with me, good friend unmoving. Let me think of you throughout this cool spring evening, strolling for a while among my memory of being with you on weekday mornings that last Fall semester. Clearing out my head, there is a pathmark left over faintly from November 2002…

…Today passes away like so much time before…

I get up before you so that I can be your wake up call. I lie abed, talking gravelly throated to you who slowly comes to consciousness. I’ll meet you in ninety minutes. Fumbling and stumbling around the house, I get dressed surrounded by these books which must always remind me of your benefaction. Drinking a Vanilla Boost and a coffee, I surf the net in search of Plato. I hit on the Perseus Project website and the Phaedo catches my interest.

…When it is time, I head your direction…

I drive over to your apartment listening to KERA 90.1. Invisible people spout insipid phrases on inane topics from the speakers behind me. Turning the radio off as I pull into the driveway, I park the car in the Sun so that the night-frost will finally evaporate from the windows. In the cold shade of the building, the wind whips up my pancho.

Punching in the access code for the lock, I enter the side door of the “prison” as you so fondly refer to it; I decide to get some exercise, so I go up the stairs. When I get to your door, I remember that it will be locked and my keys are in the car. I knock, announce myself, and wait for you to make your way over to let me in.

…And there you are, opening the door…

The morning sun behind you from the window of the living room, with a smile and a hello we hug. This is the most important change in our relationship: we hug and welcome each other to the morning. We hug and say farewell in the evening.

As you finish dressing, I wash your cereal bowl and make a note of what you may need from the store. I also notice that you are still not taking the pills prescribed by your doctor. I begin to make a comment, but decide to let it go. I have been even more nagging and critical lately since I discovered my mother has cancer. Too many worries about you and her on top of the ceaseless bureaucratic demands of school.

I help you choose the final bits of your ensemble then look for your reading glasses. They hide beneath books on German expressionism you have strowed accross your couch. A book falls on my foot: Are you reading Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus or is it there just to prop up some other material? I help you put on your watch, and then we get off to “second” breakfast. The ride in the elevator and the walk to the car are pleasant conversation on Heidegger’s and Jaspers’ views of each other. We drive, going toward the pharmacy to get some kind of new medicine, but you insist we eat first.

…So we turn around…

And to Braum’s we go. We will not pick up that medicine today. Will we tomorrow? And will you even take it after I buy it? As usual, Hannah Arendt’s affair with Heidegger comes forward for our inspection.

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