Blond Haired Eddy And Me (Blue Shirt)In Hawaii
The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same
It was not my idea to dwell on the past. In fact, I was really
interested in Eddy’s present state of mind. Who was he now? What had he become? But, that was just wishful thinking because Eddy was a walking encyclopedia of facts and events that occurred when we were together. For almost two days I listened to him ramble on about the “good times we had back on the islands.” Eddy had been back to Hawaii twice since ’74, so he had lots of stories, but that made it even more amazing that he could still remember all the stuff we did
together. I was in awe of the way Eddy carried his past around with
him (physically he hadn’t changed much either). But, in all of Eddy’s
reminiscing, there was one thing noticeably missing. The spark,
which was so much a part of Eddy’s personality back in Hawaii, had
disappeared. His idealism, his excitement over being alive, his desire
to expand his mind–which back then meant physically carrying around a huge volume Shakespeare’s completed works–that zest for life seemed gone from his personality. Eddy said it best himself when in response to an argument he was having with his wife, he told her,
“What do you expect; I’m a realist.”
When I heard him say that I couldn’t help but smile because realism
was the very thing that prompted me to move back to CMU from South Dakota. CMU was the only place that I could realistically practice my own form of idealism. Eddy still lived for his next beer, his next joint, his next whatever–but never for the next moment. The bubbling joy that was so apparent in his eyes and speech back when I knew him in Hawaii had all but disappeared. That very special spark was gone. And, as I was soon to find out, it did not leave voluntarily. Eddy’s wife, Kathleen, told me that his health was not good. According to her, they had spent over $4000 in the past year on Eddy’s health. That side of him became more apparent to me when I witnessed, after an argument with his wife, Kathleen handing him four Valium, which he proceeded to down with one gulp of
beer. It’s hard to experience light when you’re always wearing dark sunglasses.
I guess I am doubly moved by Eddy’s situation because it was all too
familiar to me. I’ve been there and done that. Kathleen and Eddy
were in one argument after another, and it never let up the whole
time I was there. I wanted to leave as soon as I arrived, but I couldn’t because both of my knees were hurting real bad, so I had to stay. Fortunately, their arguments weren’t over me. Most of it was
about money. Eddy’s unemployment benefits had just run out. Being
there, for me, was like reliving old memories, memories I’ve tried
hard to forget.
Eddy and Kathleen were angry because they both felt cheated. They felt they were putting more into their relationship than they were getting out of it and that made for a lot of anger. That was “ditto” for me in my past relationship with C.S. Watching Eddy and Kathleen fight was bringing back memories, memories that I desperately needed to forget. I knew that healthy relationships required lots of energy, positive energy– not negative energy, in order to survive. The absolute worst thing about a relationship saturated in negative energy is that it scars. You never walk away from it!