I waited for you, friend. At the bridge, at the overlook… and yet you did not return.
He has found me at this desk before. The views have been of many windows, though the desk has always remained the same. No matter which light has spilled across this surface we have, Fritz and I, made this space in the universe for ourselves. There are few if any other voices to intrude here. This desk has been the center of our own private council. It’s surface bears the indented scars of every occasion wherein Fritz has moved me to scribble hand written notes with too much vigor; the tracing nearly indelible in the dark wood, yet only seen under the correct lighting.
He was, as ever, unexpected at the hour, if not the place. I knew he referred to our last meeting in late summer, near the sylvan redoubt. I had not considered any need for my return; no inkling that my further presence there was wanted. There had been warm days to linger through November when I had considered a return, but arthritis and other ailments prevented this. In any event, Fritz has always found me whenever it has been his want.
Did you expect me to return? Whatever may be your want, it is with such urgency that lo these many months have passed since that you now come to chastise me? For not returning? What are we playing at today, Fritz? Charades?
Fritz arrives at times when it is not most conducive for the balance of my mental state. I have managed a chemical balance to hold me within the bounds of being fashionably manic. Alcohol, on the whole, does not contribute to this balance. Alcohol is like a temptress; a volatile and unpredictable catalyst which may unleash unbridled mania, only to be followed by certain catatonia. My combative tone with my friend Fritz is rooted in his fondness for brandy. It is cold now, and surely if he has come to visit there will be brandy. I can not in good conscience allow him to drink alone. Perhaps it will be Bullitt bourbon today.
What troubles you this day, Thomas?
I need the world to remain quiet, Fritz. Just for one day…
Too many voices? Within or without?
Would he perhaps leave then? The bottle, beckoning from the cabinet, remained unopened. It was already too late. I could do nothing else until his intentions were known.
Care for a drink then? I’m afraid there is only bourbon…
Bourbon would be splendid.
Ah! He meant to stay then. I removed the cork and spilled a generous pour into each of the tumblers. I held the cork before replacing it in the bottle. It was rich with the bouquet of tall corn stalks waving proudly in Kentucky summer sun; hay and burlap, wood and horse dung. These are the fruits of her rich soil. And tobacco and coal; all fruits having fallen out of favor in recent years.
I extended the glass, which he graciously accepted and promptly raised in toast.
To your health, Thomas.
I raised my glass in return and silence. It is an empty gesture to toast the health of the dead.
It seemed to me that we had reached some form of a breakthrough in our last meeting.
Oh? Are we doing Freud now?
Hah! Ho-ho…. Freud! No, my friend.
If it was a breakthrough then why did you anticipate my return to the wood?
I sensed that there was some lingering need for… how is it said now…., some final closure?
That son of a bitch! “Are you telling me or asking me”, I thought angrily, though I new the answer. He meant that I should ask myself. And I surprised myself to find that I had an answer.
I have found my closure with that place, Fritz. Were I to remain I might never live to see it, but I know the place will change. It has ever been a constant for me, but I am not a constant in the universe. Therefore the laws of the universe dictate that the place will change, the only part remaining constant being my memory of the place as it was known to me. How’s that for closure?
Rather definitive. Good! A sober assessment, my friend. So where will you go from here?
I don’t yet know, Fritz. Someplace warm I hope.