My new project is to illustrate and notate my old “Rehearsing Repetitions on the Rappahannock.” This is a book I adore, and which no one else really cares for too much–like “The Departed Friend,” which was about my feelings of loss when Jeff Moller stopped being my buddy. I did eventually send a copy to his last known address, but he returned it unopened, just like the Weird Al Yankovich tickets I had sent a few years earlier. It is difficult not to reach the conclusion that it is oneself who is the toxin in such relationships. But I believe that I am not, even so.
I think I am a giving, and even generous, friend. And I see the beauty in beings who are in need, and extend myself, perhaps uninvited, into their world. It is this quality of “uninvited,” I believe, that eventually wears thin. When the subject of my interest and affections grows strong with genuine self-worth (perhaps partly, I egotistically state, from contact with my unflagging approbation of their being), they look back with disapproval at who they so recently were, and exile or dismiss that past. I, as an associate of that past (and an approving and loving associate at that), must be exiled as well. To continue in friendship with me is to acknowledge a continuity between their own old bad self and their current stronger, healthier self.
“Whatever gets you through the night,” is a song that comes to mind. If what gets you there is base betrayal of loyal friendship, well, that is preferable to death–or the death of one’s self-concept (self-conceit?) in any case. Or so, at least, I believe, wanting to forgive rather than forget my old friends and those dear to me who have “moved on.” Even as I sit here, fingers lightly aligned on their home keys, rancorous and angry.