Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Requiescat in Pace

By Cornelia

The last time I talked to Larry was maybe a month ago, and I wished for the entire hour that I could hang up on him, except I knew that one of his sons had tried to commit suicide the day before, so that the reason he was being so nasty on the phone was probably his way of venting, even if it felt like just more of his typical baseless anti-semitic neo-con misogyny spew, at the time.

He had a voice like cough syrup running slow over gravel, and a great deep ballsy laugh, but it's hard to listen to somebody ranting on and on about how "Those Harry Potter books are all agenda--she just wants to turn children away from God and toward evil," or "If I had a gun, I'd shoot those Democrats you picked out there to run California--Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer and that other one, because they're all just [insert plural of bad C-word for the lady parts here]."

I mean, I have things to do, you know? I have to get up in the morning and make lunches for school and keep Lila from rubbing dishsoap and yogurt in her hair and what have you, so it's not like I relish getting yammered at after ten at night by someone drunk as shit who's really my husband's friend anyway. And then there were the parts where he'd have to brag about himself--how great he was at scientific measurement, like parts per billion of some chemistry stuff I could not care a whit about if someone threatened to light me on fire over it; and how great he was at farming at his new girlfriend's place up in Maine, and blah blah blah blah. Ridiculous, really. Who cared? Why make so much bluster over all this stuff, especially to me?

This was not a guy whose company I'd enjoyed a lot, over the years, in many instances, though he could turn sentimental and charming, and was fiercely loyal to our family as a whole, especially my Intrepid Spouse, even if he thought me responsible for the downfall of Western Civ, as one of "those idiot pinko types."

Plus which, he always seemed to grab my ass, in passing, even back when I was pregnant, and you could tell he was the kind of guy who thought he was doing me a favor by it. I hate that.

In fact, the first time we ever went to his house in New Jersey, back when he was still living with his wife, it was for an informal company Xmas party , and when I went upstairs to get my coat off his and his wife's bed so Intrepid and I could drive home to Manhattan at the end of the evening, he followed me up, pushed me down into the pile of coats, and started humping my leg. I think I kneed him in the balls at the time, but I was pretty drunk so I might have just bit him--don't exactly remember, except that I escaped with my coat.

So, it was like that, with me and Larry, and yet he was such a good friend to Intrepid I kind of had to love him for it, just grit my teeth and ignore all this other stuff, because through work he was first a mentor and then a peer and then Jim was his boss, over the years, and Larry was nothing but proud of him throughout... called him "Egg-Mon" and slapped him on the back and told him he was the greatest, when Jim needed to hear it most. And he adored our girls--got down on his knees and made funny faces when they were tiny, and told us they were lovely and wonderful every chance he got, and told them, too, even though Lila probably didn't understand it too well.

He'd come over and cook for us--great passionate elaborate Italian meals, or hand-rolled sushi he slaved over for hours. He wanted to take care of us, all the time. Even me.

Saturday morning he was shot to death in Maine, right in the chest with a .22 rifle by his new girlfriend. Supposedly in self-defense, though I don't believe that. As hammered and coked-out as he ever got, Larry was never in a fight, which is saying something. We probably won't ever know what happened, really, just the version the New Jersey cops gave when they came to his estranged wife's door, early Sunday morning.

He was fifty years old.

I hope he's found peace.

Goddamn... I'm going to miss the old bastard, after all.


  1. I'm very sorry to hear about all of this. Please do pass my condolences to Jim.

    --Bob Young

  2. You are wonderful, Bob, and thank you!

  3. Cornelia,

    Your capacity to love is matched only by your capacity to tell a story.

    I hope he's found peace, too.

    My condolences, as well.

  4. Oh, Our Cornelia, I am so sorry about Larry - what a dreadful, dreadful way to go. But I've got to tell you, this is one heck of a great piece of writing, a real story - and I venture to guess you've told it as Larry would have had it told.

  5. Dona eis requiem.

    Kyrie eleison.

    Libera nos a malo.

    Erue, Domine, animam ejus.

    Tom, T.O.

  6. I'm so sorry, Cornelia. Our relationships are never simple or straightforward, are they?

    And as others have said, what a lovely piece of writing. Thank you.

  7. I agree with all the good stuff. You continue to amaze me, Miss C. So sorry about Larry...

  8. I'm sorry for your loss, Cornelia...sometimes those who are hardest to love have a great capacity for love...sounds like Larry was one of those people.


  9. I am so sorry, Cornelia. So terribly sorry.

  10. Whatever else, the man was a force of nature, and he'll leave a void in his wake.

    I'm so sorry for his kids and his wife and his ex out here, who are all fine people. In his best moments he was a loyal man with a big heart, and that's the most any of us can hope to be.

  11. That's a fine goodbye to an old friend. Larry would be proud of you, you old pinko.

  12. i cannot imagine being able to care about such a person. I can't imagine tolerating him for what were obviously some major good points (espeically points for telling Lila things. I so often assume that the Larrys of this world would happily expose the Lilas of this world up on mountaintops, and the reminder is useful. Your ability to care about him and miss him stuns me. It doesn't SURPRISE ME, but it's stunning. I can't imagine having the heart you do.
    all love

  13. Damn.

    Reality has a special sort of suck unmatched in fiction.

  14. Louise, takes one to know one. In the best way.

    Andi, thank you.

    And Brett--EXACTLY!

    Fucked up week.