Letters from Andy: 7
You always argued with me about taking the JuVen treatments, and look at where we are. I know they say it doesn't directly prevent heart disease, but maybe if you had more energy and kept your mind sharper you would have kept playing tennis, and then your heart would've stayed in better shape. I don't know. Obviously it doesn't matter now. I'm not even sure who I'm writing letters to at this point, I guess it's just a course of habit. Maybe if I keep writing it'll help me cope with the grief.
Usually you'd be the one to help me through a rough patch like this, so maybe if I keep pretending you're reading these I can imagine what advice you'd give me. I used to do that a lot, did you know? I never really told you about that. Whenever we went through periods where we didn't talk as much, or if you didn't answer my letters, I'd just imagine a conversation between the two of us. Sometimes the advice from the imaginary Cecilia was almost as good as the real thing. I wonder how similar she was to the real you. Now I guess she's the only one left.
Coming back to New York for your funeral has me really thinking about the direction of my life. I think I should go back to school and get a second Ph.D. I've been looking around, and I really want to study at Rockefeller University. Time is a gift, and even though I'm turning 65 next month my mind still probably has several good decades left. I'm in the first generation of humans to be able to use a brain for this long, so I'd better see how much knowledge I can cram in there. There's a Ceci-shaped hole in my life now, so maybe I can fill it with textbooks.
Do you remember what I told you when I first went to college? I talked about how I was anxious about optimizing everything because you told me to "make the most" of my life. I've fallen back into that thought pattern for the first time in a really really long while. I kind of forgot how awful it is to feel this way. The JuVen is making it worse because now I feel like I'm on borrowed time. I thought I had graduated past that kind of anxiety after college, but my mind can be a little funny I guess.
The kids are doing good. Alex is traveling in from Europe for your funeral because she's been touring with her group. She sends me videos every once in a while, and it never fails to amaze me that half my DNA is in a person who can solo like that. Me and Clair never made that happen. Roy moved out of Clair's place about six months ago, because he finally got an internship. I think I was worried about him for no reason. Looking back, his only issue was that it took him a little bit longer than usual to get his footing in the world. But he's figuring it out now.
Clair herself actually called me not too long ago, just to catch up. It's such an odd dynamic to have with a person, but we're both adult enough to have a conversation with each other. She remarried and has been working as a lab technician at UT Austin. Strictly speaking, I guess I haven't "moved on" since I haven't been seeing anyone since we split. But I wouldn't go back even if I could, so I'm about as over her as one can be. I'm glad she's doing well. Genuinely.
After that phone call, I randomly remembered something you told me during the Thanksgiving break of my freshman year. I think it was a joke about how I could kiss a girl and she wouldn't know if I was interested or not. I remembered how that joke was about Clair, a full year before I ever asked her out. Then I thought about how you, Clair, and all our old friends from high school aren't in my life anymore. But I still remember the joke fondly. It's nice to have had something that makes me smile, I guess. That seems meaningful, even if you're all gone now.
I say "I guess" a lot, you ever notice? You'd think eventually I wouldn't have to guess. I've been around pretty long at this point, and for a good stretch, I thought I had figured things out. But nope. I still don't know. You always seemed to know, but you're gone now. Maybe it's time I finally grow up.