Impossible letter, indeed.
A few days ago (a mere 70 hours) I sent a short email to the daughter of longtime close friends, asking for her address so I can print out and mail a letter to her. I told her I thought the letter might be useful to her. I wanted to mail it, rather than send it electronically, to give her a few moments of privacy with it before forwarding an electronic version of it to the family board of refutation. (Here is a slightly redacted version of that letter.)
Her father had told me over and over, before withdrawing his friendship forever, that no matter what I said about our conflict, he wasn’t going to change his mind about anything. He’d told me that he’s walked away from friendships for less than what I’d done to him (whatever that may have been — he never elaborated). He told me I’d never seen him really angry, and that, trust him, I didn’t want to. As for anger, it was unfair, and totally wrong, to call his wife’s rage at me “rage”, it was just ordinary anger and she had apologized for allowing herself to be so provoked by my threatening aggressiveness. He reserved the right to get indignant, over and over, as we ‘worked out’ our differences (I was hurt — no you weren’t!). He spun every hurtful encounter, no matter how destructive to our friendship, into “progress”. When I presented him with stark facts, he went silent, for a month, then called to see if I had learned my fucking lesson. He concluded I hadn’t and that’s that.
I told my physical therapist that the adult daughter’s solution to having grown up in this kind of home was to openly declare her parents gods. At every New York performance she would take a moment to salute her parents, her idols, and announce that her mother is a goddess.
“That’s creepy,” the therapist said, stretching my leg. I nodded.
“Creepy, but smart,” she said, and I chuckled at how astute that was.
Big surprise that my final offer to tell the young woman what I thought would be helpful to her — not to blame herself because her parents had forced her into musical regimentation at a critical time in the young prodigy’s development out of ignorance, they didn’t know musical geniuses like Paul Simon couldn’t read music — fell again on deaf ears. I thought I could help, relieve the kid of the burden of blaming herself for everything painful between her and her difficult parents, but apparently I can only hurt, now that I’ve brutally, gratuitously tortured and decapitated both of her godlike parents.
So the thing she learned from her upbringing in a house of absolute right and absolute wrong is the thing she does by reflex. I get it. As long as she remains sober, she’s ahead of the game, I suppose. Like Eric Clapton.