Wednesday, June 23, 2010


When I was back at my place in New York in the autumn, with so many stories to tell the people I was associated with in these meetings, so much that had fallen into place, so much information, including the sort that Michelle called “visuals” – I didn’t have the entire story but I had perhaps enough, things put in place because those elements of the past now logically came together that way, but even more the images I had now, visual and otherwise, as if I had actually been back there in the past just now, actually felt blows to my groin and head, and also the softness of a young girl clinging, as in early necking that passed as dancing back then. But then something else from even earlier – actual skin on skin – the bare body from another generation but very smooth. And this explained why I knew so much about a woman's bare body, all of it, before, as far as I knew, I had actually touched one or even seen one. Now I knew why I knew. Or at least some crucial parts of it. Because of what had gone on these last weeks in the mountains. The case was no longer merely circumstantial.

And now moving into November it was back to where I had been before I drove up to Vermont in late June. I was still going to these meetings, which were as satisfying, and sometimes crazed, as they had been before the summer – which seemed to mean a new kind of continuity in life, a life that did not have be restarted every ten minutes.

I still wasn’t seeing much of people I had known before this year, but there was a little connection. Joan, the CBS producer who had been a friend since our UPI days, and whom I had last seen at her New Year’s Eve party. We had dinner me one night at the still very affordable Ye Waverly Inn near her chaotic place on Bank Street. I started to tell her about these groups of people leaping into the past and she started talking about her father, often drunk and always changing, one year a private detective spending his time in stakeouts across from seedy motels, the next year turning up in Arizona as a unformed member – “Whoever heard of a Jew doing this?”– of the U.S. Border Patrol. And an aunt had been turned out to do tricks, and, well, everyone was drinking all the time and you never knew what would be revealed. And although Joan was usually tough, like the women played by Barbara Stanwick, of whom she was a softer appearing look-alike, there were tears as she said what a wonderful thing it must be to sit in a room filled with people who are ready to at last get beyond the awful, addictive, hard-edged and in the current jargon dysfunctional lives they were meant never to escape. Like you are doing, Fred. She asked me for times and places of these meetings, but she never turned up at any of them.

And I told a friend from more recent days about my discoveries. He knew from meeting her 40 years later the skin-on-skin woman. First he said he couldn’t believe it. Then he said it was it was all okay. Saying he himself, when much younger, had molested his sister.

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