was one of those
parked in front of the French Consulate, facing
I said, “Thanks for the two books. They made a big difference.”
His eyes smiled. “The way things have been going, I didn’t think you would find time for books.”
It had been more than three weeks since he had given them to me. I said, “I’ve read them both. I’m reading them again and taking notes on the best parts.” I was telling the truth but my tone of voice must have been evasive.
He asked ironically, “What can you learn about love from books?”
I thought for a very long time, surveying the books behind him. I knew that he would wait all afternoon, if necessary, for me to reply. I said, “According to Stendhal, I don’t love either one of them.”
He smiled. “Am I to understand that you needed the apostle of The Happy Few to convince you of that?”
“It helps to be reminded of things.”
He said, sharply, “You are aware, of course, that most people would consider you vain and cold-hearted if they knew your feelings for these girls.”
“Well, they would be wrong. Most people don’t know anything about love.” His eyes were encouraging. “I love them both. But, it isn’t passion love I feel.” I hung my head.
“Describe passion love.” He often called himself “an impossibilist” because he thought it was advisable, at certain crucial times in life, to try the impossible.
I said, moving the conversation in a perpendicular direction, “Her beauty never returned. I mean I can see, objectively, that Marlo is extraordinarily beautiful and my vanity is touched deeply, but I can’t feel it. When we walk together, arm in arm, I feel the constant presence of adoring, jealous, ... curious eyes. Her beauty seems to dazzle other beautiful women even more than it does men and they seem to find me interesting too, just because I’m with her. It’s as if they think that because I’m with her, I must be worthy of them too. Does that make sense?”
“Of course. It’s a very simple principle but very few men or women know it. Don Juan discovers it sooner or later, but he doesn’t need it.” He waved his hand in the air as if he were brushing away something insignificant. “Anyway, proceed.”
“Candy has the beauty too. And on top of it, she’s wonderfully quick-witted and intelligent. I’m convinced that she could be a very good mathematician. The way she analyzes everything and categorizes things so dispassionately. If I had a sister, I think she would be like Candy. She’s horribly disorganized intellectually, of course.”
He was silent, as a psychoanalyst should be.
“She had a shaking spell yesterday. It was quite dramatic. It lasted for twenty minutes or so. By accident, I placed my hands on her head and she said it was exactly what her father, Robert Hollyfield, did to her when she lived at home. She said he exorcised devils by holding her head and praying.” I described the details of what happened.
I said, “That night, I woke from a nightmare, feeling as if I had been possessed by her devils. I went into the living room and got my father’s loaded .357 Magnum out of its hiding place and stared at it for a couple of hours. I wanted to kill Salas.”
His face registered puzzlement and apprehension. We had talked many times, at great length, about my fascination with my father’s guns.
I explained. “Salas is one of the guys who raped Marlo. He called her the other day on the telephone. Wanted to talk to her, to apologize.”
I could see that he was debating with himself. Finally, he asked, “Do you remember the nightmare?”
“Yes. Do you want me to describe it?”
He gave a little laugh as if to signify that it was a stupid question to ask a psychoanalyst.
“O.K. Well, I jumped high into the air at full speed and spiked a football with one hand, without missing a step, and was running for a very long touchdown when I noticed that not only the other team, but my own team and all the players from both benches were chasing me. The goal posts moved further and further away and all of the players turned into Salas who was a gorilla-like being with thick black hair on the back of his hands and on his face. The football turned into my father’s .357 Magnum and I remembered that there were only six bullets in it. I was faster and had more endurance than Salas and I reasoned that if I ran long enough my pursuers would all drop away except for one last Salas, and I could turn around and kill him. That’s when I woke up.”
“What do you think it means?”
gave a Freudian interpretation. “For me, the game of football symbolizes the
rules of civilization, or the Superego. Both teams running after me symbolize
the breaking of the rules of civilization, which is the
“Marlo is what everyone wants. And Salas represents the biggest and most primitive man. In Nature, he would be the one who gets her.”
I replied, “But the .357 magnum represents civilization, technology. And in football, it isn’t the biggest and strongest men who are the most important to the team, but the most finely tuned and best coordinated. They are the artists of football: the wide receivers who outsmart the cornerbacks and the quarterbacks who, like great bull fighters, mock the blind, primitive strength of the linemen and with the precision of combination chess players, shoot bullets into the space that is just below heaven and just above the abyss.”
He chuckled. “That kind of effortless, if slightly purple, poemic prose reminds me of your father when he was your age.” His eyes misted slightly. “His death almost killed your grandfather.” After a long silence he said, “I don’t know how I managed to bring Graham back to the world of the living. He was inconsolable.” He looked up at me, and his face came to life again. “Well. I do know. You brought him back.”
The silence grew around us again.
I said, “I feel as if I’ve done a very bad thing to Marlo. I’ve made her love me without loving her in return.”
He asked, “You love Candy, don’t you?”
I though it unprofessional and beneath him to ask a question to which he already knew the answer. I was irritated and could think of nothing to say. For a moment, I wondered if he really had forgotten what I had told him. I said, aggressively, “Well, it will sound crazy but...” His laughing eyes stopped me in mid-sentence.
said, laughing, “We Jungians still believe in craziness. We call it free association.
Along with dreams, as Freud said, free association is the
I allowed the adjective “Phylogenetic” to pass without protest. (We had argued long and vigorously about the significance Freud placed on the Phylogenetic Unconscious.) “Good. Then just to keep things going, I will say something crazy.” I paused and closed my eyes, moving my head as if I were looking around in my Unconscious for an odd looking idea. “I’m in love with Marlo’s mother.” I opened my eyes to see his reaction.
One of his eyebrows arched. “That is crazy.” He chuckled again.
I added, “I’ve been in love before.” I looked down at my fingers and began counting, “five, ... six times in my life, from a distance, when I was still in school.”
“Are you serious?”
“Of course not.” I looked into his eyes steadily. “I told you I was going to say something crazy.”
He said, “If you love her, you love her.”
I said, “There is something in Jeannette’s character that brings out in me a deep, involuntary admiration. I find myself looking forward to our meeting this afternoon, imagining the pleasure I will have talking with her ... even though she treated me badly the other day.”
“Precisely. And that is the beginning of love.”
“It isn’t the beginning of love. There has to be hope for a real beginning. How can there be hope with a woman old enough to be my mother?”
“What time is your meeting?”
He seemed amazed and even a little scandalized. “Did she arrange it?” His rakish smile seemed encouraging.
“Yes.” I became irritated. “But not for any amorous purposes.” I paused and looked into his eyes. “You seem to be enjoying an enormous joke, at my expense.”
The smile on his face disappeared. His voice lost all force and he said, “It’s not very professional of me.” Then, slowly, his voice gathered strength as he defended himself. “But I find that in old age I’m not respectful of the stuffy conventions and Personae of middle age, and I have the greatest sympathy for children and young people like yourself, just starting out in life. And this turn of events ... well. ” With a nod of his head, he encouraged me to continue.
I said, emphatically, “Believe me, she has no idea that I admire her. Anyway, she’s 39 years old.”
“Be careful.” He reminded me, “You were badly deceived about your feelings for Kay.” He was referring to my disastrous, obsessive love affair with a schizophrenic woman, a few months before I met Anne.
“Yes. And thank God. It was that experience that showed me, once and for all, the difference between sensual love and passion love, as Stendhal calls them.”
“How can you be sure that you really admire ... what is her name?” I was dumbfounded that he was pretending not to remember Jeannette’s name.
I frowned and he pretended not to notice. “Jeannette,” I said, sarcastically.
“Jeannette.” He pronounced her name with care and looked up at the ceiling. He was laughing again, silently. It was obvious that he had only wanted to hear me pronounce her name again. I shook my head, wondering how he had gained a reputation for being one of the world’s greatest Jungian Analysts.
“What are you laughing at?” I asked, rather too sharply I’m afraid.
“Nothing. I’m just being unprofessional again.”
I said, naively. “It’s all right. We all have our bad days. Don’t worry about it.”
He continued, as if I hadn’t said anything, “I’m trying to be an objective, Jungian Analyst, but I’m failing completely. I just now realized two things, almost simultaneously. The first is that it isn’t possible to be objective with you, nor is it desirable because you are like a grandson to me, especially now that Graham is dead. And second ... well I was carried back to an argument I had with Carl Jung, in his house near the Suder See, one summer in 1936. We were drinking tea in his garden. Something in the tone of your voice, the way you moved your hand, I’m not sure what it was, made me realize, for the first time, that Jung was right and I was wrong about some minor, abstract point of theory.”
He said, “Continue. Forgive me.”
I was silent for awhile, trying to find the lost thread of my thought. He waited patiently. I said, “With Candy, and with Marlo too, it is a kind of, negative love. The more I’m with them, the more I like them, but my love seems to be inversely proportional to my liking. I mean as the liking grows, the loving recedes.”
He cleared his throat.
I said, acknowledging the disapproving look in his face, “I know. I’m logic chopping again.”
“Yes. But it is remarkable and dangerous that you know so much about love.”
I was flattered but also perplexed. “Dangerous?”
“Yes. Real love causes scorn, cynicism and the exchange of knowing glances in those who have never experienced it. The lover elicits their jealousy and above all, wounded pride dissimulating itself as worldly wisdom. Honest, unpretentious love makes their sexual adventures appear small and pathetic in their own eyes. If the lover is powerless and cannot protect himself from them, they will punish him severely for daring to love. Yes, to love is infinitely rewarding but it is dangerous too.”
I thought his discourse was pedantic and at right angles to what I had said, but his countenance was magnificent and Biblical, and I was impressed. He got up and walked to the other side of the large study. He sat down on a high stool, facing me, and his expression was serious. We were about twenty feet apart. “Your love for Jeannette is the most extraordinary development of all Brad.”
“Dr. Orenstein,” I said, exasperated.
He went on, unperturbed. “I was prepared to urge you to leave Marlo and let Salas have her if she didn’t ask you to protect her from him. But I suppose now, if Jeannette asks you to protect Marlo, you will, won’t you?” He looked up at the clock. It was .
“Does Jeannette suspect that you love her?”
I stood up. I heard myself say, as if another person were speaking and I was simply mouthing the words, “No! Because I don’t!”
“She’s 39 years old Brad,” he said, sternly. He got down from the stool, slowly and went into an adjoining room.
My stomach churned with emotion while I stood there alone in the sea of books. After a few minutes, he returned with a picture. He handed it to me.
was a picture of Jeannette and Bob Hollyfield and
my mother and father standing together in front of a 1947
“Of course you know about your mother’s professional relationship with Candy’s father, Bob Hollyfield?”
“Yes. And I know that before my father died Rhonda and my father and Bob Hollyfield were friends. But I swear I didn’t know anything about Candy or her mother. I don’t remember ever meeting either one of them. I stopped going to Hollyfield’s Los Angeles Pavilion after I was about 8 years old when my Grandfather moved in with my mother and me.” I added, “I suppose we should free associate to see if I can bring up the memory.”
He shook his head from side to side.
I looked at the picture again. “God. Hollyfield really does look like my father, doesn’t he? Is it another example of Synchronicity?”
“No.” He said sharply and added dryly, “I think you remember the definition of Synchronicity.” I reddened. It was all too clear that, subconsciously, I was simply mocking his belief in a concept I thought ridiculous. He continued. “Your grandfather thought it best not to tell you everything.” He fixed me in the middle of a compassionate glance. “But I think he would agree that now is the time for you to know.”
A wave of emotion passed through my body. “For me to know what?”
“Your father had an affair with Jeannette.”
My mouth fell open and the books swayed, overhead.
He said, “The affair occurred during the year before your father disappeared. And something else.”
“Jeannette thought your father was murdered.”
“His body was never found and a murder weapon was never found either, but...”
I sat down again. “Why did she think he was murdered?”
your grandfather and his close friend, Hal Lipset,
“It’s in my safe. In my opinion, nothing points to murder. But after you sift through the evidence, you’ll agree that it points to the plausible conclusion that he could have been murdered. Graham and Hal and I believe he drowned accidentally after going for a night swim.”
“When can I see the evidence?”
“You can take it home with you today.”
We sat in silence for a long time.
He said, “I’m sorry. But I think you will agree that I did the right thing, telling you.”
Only a few minutes remained until the end of the hour. He said, “I want you to call me immediately if anything changes.”
“Thanks.” I got up from the chair and we shook hands. We walked to the door.
I said, “Before I leave, let me sketch the logic of my future action.”
He blinked. “All right.”
“First. If Salas comes after Marlo and she doesn’t want him, I will try to protect her, not from bravery or love, but out of a sense of honor. Second, I can’t beat the Mexican Mafia. Third, I won’t have to. Fourth, if she goes to him it will be impossible to stop him, Mexican Mafia or not. Fifth, if Jeannette wants me to protect Marlo anyway she will ask me to lie to Marlo. Sixth....”
“I’m not a mathematician Brad. Fill in the blanks.”
“Sorry. You’re not my grandfather.”
He cleared his throat.
“Well, I think it boils down to three things. First, if Marlo agrees to go out with Salas no one can stop her. Second, if she asks me to protect her, it will be easy because the whole football team will stand by me because they know he raped her. And the Mexican Mafia will laugh at him for being obsessed with one beautiful woman at the expense of all the others he could have, and they will provide him with a carload of prostitutes to make him feel better, but they won’t help him any other way. And third, if Jeannette asks me to protect Marlo and Marlo doesn’t want me to, it will be futile for me to try.
“You’re getting carried away with your rhetoric and logic. Marlo will accept that kind of limited love and believe in it, even though she may doubt it at a deeper, unconscious level.”
I squared myself off in front of him, ready to argue, but he added, matter-of-factly, as if he were about to clinch the argument and there would be no possible response, “It is, after all, the reason you don’t love her.” He looked apprehensive as if he had gambled with a truth that might only be a partial truth and might offend me.
I couldn’t find anything to say.
He asked, “Why are you so certain that Marlo loves you?”
I paused. “I guess because she said she did. Maybe it was the look in her eyes; maybe it was her words. When I asked her to marry me in a melodramatic access of emotion one afternoon, she said no and she was serious. I think that was when I knew that she loved me.” Suddenly, the word love seemed like an intruding, unwelcome guest and I felt like banishing it from my vocabulary. “Maybe we’re just throwing the word love around like a magic incantation: if I tell Marlo I love her then she won’t go to Salas. Like magic.”
“Now you’re going too far in the other direction. You do love Marlo but it isn’t the kind of love that you think you want. If you speak from the heart she will believe you. The heart doesn’t lie.”
“Maybe it doesn’t. But it will do the next best thing: it will give her a thread to weave her illusions with.”
looked at the clock. It was five minutes after two. We shook hands and I left .