Remembering Harry

MITCHELL LICHTENSTEIN

Dear Harry,

So many things I’ll miss: going through our adolescence together — belated and so with awareness and gusto. Our language — weighty with references, the origins almost forgotten, alienating to others on purpose to show off our bond. Your enthusiasm — it gave value to things. Your cooking — improvisational, tangy. The stages you invariably went through writing a play — “I’ve got the title! Don’t ask. I can’t tell you.” “I’m writing it in a trance state — it’s all just coming!” “I’m afraid to re-read it — I think it’s just blabber. Don’t you want to hear the title?” “I reread it — it’s shockingly good.”

I’ll miss your confidence, your bee-line for the buffet table, your memory — I counted on it to keep track of my life, too. Turning me into a character — a three-dimensional one. Driving to Florida – you hadn’t told me you hadn’t been behind the wheel of a car since you got your license in 1972. Your singing voice.

Your need for praise — you thought. Always transparent to us, in the end it became more true — more direct, so we could answer — a direct call for love. You are irreplaceable.