The Internet is a tricky medium. Even under cover of relative anonymity, I don’t want to say anything that might help some people identify the Crank’s beautiful girlfriend. She had a flawless professional reputation. She had patients (she was a doctor) of many political hues. I would not want them thinking any less of her because she was romantically involved with some cranky guy who keeps leaning to the left.
That said, I should tell you first of all that she really was beautiful. I’m an older guy and she was not born yesterday either, but she seemed to transcend her chronological age. She still got whistled at in the streets. We would go out with other couples, and occasionally, the unscrupulous male half of the other couple would try to sneak around my back and hit on her. She was a stunner.
She was also brilliant: Summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from an ivy college that she attended on full scholarship. Way up there in her class in one of the nation’s best medical schools, which she also attended on scholarship. A role model later on to other doctors whom she taught and supervised in her specialty. She was utterly charming, with eyes that sparkled when she smiled and a sense of humor that could reverse my darker moods in an instant.
When I first met her I was in high school and she was in what in those days people called “junior high.” When we caught up with each other nearly a half century later, it was love at second sight. Within a few months she invited me to move in with her. I would have to have been certifiably insane to say no.
There followed the seven happiest years of my life. Her friends and daughter tell me it was also the seven happiest years of her own life. What comes to mind is a verse by Edgar Allen Poe:
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes! That was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of a cloud one night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee
In my beautiful girlfriend’s case it wasn’t a wind. It was a cerebral event that put her in into a hospital where she lost her hold on life a few inches at a time until finally her family acceded to her living will and asked that the respirator be removed.
There is no justice to it. She should have lived. If either of us died, I should have died first, because men usually do die younger than their women and I was older than she. She had more emotional resources to bear my death than I have to bear hers. But there you are. Fate pays precious little attention to the people and their needs. It just does what it does.
There will be no politics from me today, my friends. Instead, let me just tell you to hold those you love close to you, hug them tightly, tell them every day that you love them, and enjoy every minute you have with them.
I’ll be back to this space when I’m feeling more like a functioning human being. For the moment, I’m simply lost in grief.