From Peter’s journal, December 1990 (or somewhat later), following John’s death and his own HIV+ diagnosis

Very few moments in life do we feel the luxury of absolute franchise, openness, honesty.  But after all, once there is nowhere left to run, who has the time left for deception?  How nice to have reached the end of the line where one no longer has to bandy words with a person.  You and I have finally reached that point, old friend.  The compulsion to window dress with words is over.  How strange to think that at one time everything between us seemed to depend on words.  Through their construct, I hoped to win your heart; through them again, I hoped to keep it.  I wasn’t merely as good as my word—I was my word, so much I depended on it.  Now, finally, the words come so effortlessly we need no longer weigh them to measure their potential to please, wound, convince, expel, conjure, abjure, injure.  When I used to worry you with my silences, I was mired in a loss for words.  I could never see past my addiction for the verbal and simply reach out my hand toward you with a reassuring caress…

Well, you are no longer here to caress, but at least I can stop my calculations and let someone else judge the weight of my words.

No I do not believe in luck but I do believe in fate.  Although fortune has rarely smiled upon me fate has spun me like a top.  And I am not sure I would prefer the former to the latter.  I suppose I’ve had dreams of a life of ease, the garden of Eden where ripe fruit would fall into my lap.  Apparently ever since one of my mythological ancestors got kicked out, however, all the rest of us have been banished as well.  Christians would have us subject hereafter to the wrath of God.  I prefer to think of it as the work of the Fates.

And yet I want to be loved for my artifice, my design, my calculations, and still hope they are a bitter distillation of who I really am.  Imagine seeking the truth through so meretricious a device as language!  Well, some of us are not slated for an enlightened existence.  For every Buddha or Saint Francis legions of us remain to confound ourselves in a dim and prosaic material world.  Mistake this not for derision.  I envy the saint, the modest monk, those lucky few who have opted for the simple beauty of a life of the spirit.  Think of Phèdre: “Que ces vains ornements, que ces voiles me pèsent!”  Had she only had the foresight to shirk her worldly passions and escape to a nunnery.  But our mortal weakness for ephemeral possession bends us like gravity to this muddled earth!

Leave a comment

Filed under Memoir

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s