Forgotten Songs From An Ordinary Life, Chapter 9

BROKEN ROAD-1

A modest chapter here, long enough for a cup of chamomile tea. Lots of snow on the ground around the house, and the air is quite cold, too. It is, I think I’m trying to say, perfect weather to curl up with a pup and read. Or listen to some quiet music – as the snow falls…

Part II: The Broken Road 

Chapter 9

Beverly Hills, California                                              1 July 1976

Anders picked up the telephone and dialed Tilly’s number. He did not need to look up the number; it was by now as often dialed as any number he called, but there was otherwise nothing at all ordinary about this particular call. Or, for that matter, this particular day.

When Ted picked up the phone Anders felt a little wave of relief. “Ted?” he asked. “Got a minute?”

“Sure Dad, what’s up?”

“I wanted to know if you could come up this weekend.”

Ted knew his father’s voice – and his moods – well enough by now to know that something was wrong. “Uh, well, Kat and I were going down to the marina this weekend. They’re having a big fireworks display down there…”

“Okay. That’s fine. What about coming up early tomorrow evening and I’ll get you back out to SFO on Saturday morning?”

“It’s important, isn’t it?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Is Saul going to be around?”

“Yes, this concerns him – as well as you…and the Callahans.”

“Okay, Dad. My last class gets out at noon-thirty, so I can probably make the one-thirty on PSA.”

“Sounds good. I’ll pick you up at the usual place.”

“Okay, Dad, see you there.” Ted clicked the receiver and then dialed his mom’s office, and her secretary picked-up. “Hey Margie, Ted. Is Mom free?”

“Yup, I’ll put you through.”

Tilly had just wrapped up her last patient for the day but getting a call from Ted was a little out of the ordinary on a weeknight, so she was instantly on guard. “Ted? Is something wrong?”

“Not sure, Mom. Dad just called. He wants me to come up tomorrow afternoon…”

“What about Saturday with Katharine and her father?”

“Coming back Saturday morning?”

“Just one night? That is strange. You want me to give him a call?”

“No, I can handle it.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. He said Saul was going to be there, the Callahan’s too.”

“The Callahans? Really?”

“That’s what he said.”

“What flight are you taking?”

“I’m shooting for the one-thirty.”

“Okay. I’m coming too.”

Ted sighed and shook his head. “You sure you wanna do this, Mom? He might get all wound-up again, ya know?”

“I know,” Tilly said. In fact, because of all the scheduled bicentennial celebrations she was halfway expecting Anders to be in rare form. “Are you and Kat going out tonight?”

“No, she’s got an MCAT study session Saturday morning.”

“I thought you had something going on with Sam?”

“No, that’s next weekend.”

“Well, looks like you’re stuck with me for dinner, Kid. Anything sound good to you?”

“How ‘bout Gladstone’s?”

“She crab soup, right?” Tilly said, grinning at Ted’s latest obsession.

“How’d you guess?”

“You’d think that maybe I know you by now, right? Maybe just a little?”

“Maybe so, Mom. You never can tell, though…right?”

She sighed – then scowled. “You know we loved each other, right? Things just got out of control.”

“Yeah, Mom, I know.” But, he sighed to himself, control was always the operant word, wasn’t it?

+++++

Almost everyone met up at the Little Dutch House before heading down to the wharf, where they picked up Harry before walking down to Scoma’s for brunch. No one seemed talkative, and even Harry seemed caught off guard – or was he simply annoyed – by all the unasked for importance attached to this impromptu gathering. Imogen, for her part, seemed more than a little nervous, and for some reason that made Tilly put up a few more walls of protection.

Anders ordered two bottles of riesling to go with a couple of platters of chilled seafood, and after their waitress left them he cleared his throat and looked at everyone seated around the table. “I am sorry for all the drama, but I have some news.”

“Dad?” Ted said, and though still not sure what this was all about his father’s voice sounded more than somber. “Are you okay?”

“Me – okay? Why yes, of course, but wait – this has nothing to do with my health. In fact, if I may get to the point, I have decided to go home and I wanted to tell each of you personally.”

“Home?” Tilly said, more than a little interested now – but still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But Anders merely shook his head. “I am going to Israel,” he said. “To our home.”

“Israel?” Ted cried. “But Dad – why…there?”

“Because,” Anders said, “I have grown tired of having to look behind myself, of waiting for the ‘stab in the back’ – again.”

“Again?” Ted asked.

But it was Saul who spoke now. “The stab in the back was Herr Hitler’s favorite saying, Ted. That Jews in the Weimar Republic stabbed all Germans in the back by agreeing to surrender when – and how – they did.”

“So, Hitler blamed Jews for that, too?”

Saul smiled, a rueful, apologetic smile. “The word is scapegoat, Ted. Blame does not adequately describe what Herr Hitler was conjuring.”

“So,” Ted continued, “moving next door to ten million pissed off Arabs is supposed to be safe?”

“You misunderstand, Ted,” Anders interjected. “Israel is our homeland. God has ordained this.”

Harry cleared his throat – before he spoke next. “Anders, if you don’t mind me asking, just what are you planning on doing over there?”

“Teaching,” Anders said, though a little defensively.

Harry nodded. “Well, I for one will miss you.”

And for some reason this made Anders cry – just a little. “Thank you, Harald. You will always be welcome in our house.”

“Our house?” Tilda Sorensen said, her left eyebrow arching tremulously.

“Yes, Tilda. You see, I am getting married once I arrive,” Anders sighed as he shrugged unapologetically, perhaps even a little defiantly – though he was almost imperceptibly grinning…just a little.

“Dad!” Ted growled. “What the fuck!”

Tilly signaled their waitress and ordered a double martini, dirty.

Harry Callahan leaned back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling, trying his best not to get up and leave the table – but only because he’d noticed his mother’s hands had begun trembling.

Yet…in the same instant Ted’s eyes were drawn to Imogen’s hands as well, and while at first he wondered why, it took just a moment for his eyes to drift to Lloyd Callahan and then back to Imogen. When his eye caught Harry’s upturned sidelong glances he realized the truth of the moment…there was something going on between Lloyd and Imogen…and in the moment he wondered how long it had been going on…?

Then he looked at Saul and watched him turn away, and Ted wondered what secrets the old man was carrying around – until he followed Saul’s eyes to another table across the dining room.

An Old Man in an odd looking cape was sitting at the table, alone, and he was staring at Imogen. 

And to Ted it seemed as if the Old Man was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

+++++

Ted and Kat met Sam Gold down at the Marina del Rey, at the end of a finger-pier behind a fence that belonged, apparently, to a sprawling apartment complex located just above the slips. Sam was talking to the yacht’s captain and chef when Kat led Ted up the boarding ramp to the main deck.

Though Ted had been down to the boat twice before, the sheer size of Sam’s latest toy simply left him awestruck each time he saw it. Her name was The April Fools, and she had been built in Holland a couple of years before by a consortium of naval architects and ship builders known as Feadship; she was the largest yacht permanently berthed in the marina and was universally regarded as the most luxurious yacht on the West Coast. At 178 feet length overall and with a permanent crew of seven – that usually lived on board –  The April Fools was also one of the few yachts on the West Coast that kept a Bell JetRanger permanently onboard. 

LA County was putting on the fireworks display that Saturday night, on July 3rd, and the plan was for the boat to head out into the open sea just offshore and watch the fireworks before heading across the channel to Catalina Island, where the yacht would moor just off Casino Point at Avalon Harbor. There would be more fireworks on Sunday night, leaving all day Sunday free for exploring the island, and after that display wrapped the yacht would return to LA in time to get everyone off to work. Sam would, not unusually, leave by helicopter after the fireworks display on the island – but only because he was slated to take his Gulfstream II to Paris early Monday morning.

Ted walked up and shook Sam’s hand, but Sam wasn’t having any of it; he took Ted in hand and pulled him into a deep hug, then he hugged his daughter before leading them to their stateroom. Most of the guests were already on board, all of them actors on this trip, but Ted and Kat had the largest guest stateroom and that had more than a couple of the actors pissed off.

By the time the crew cast off the lines the marina was full of little sailboats puttering out the main channel, everyone vying to be close to the end of the breakwater where the fireworks display was being readied, yet everyone in the harbor stared at The April Fools as she pulled away from her pier and made for the breakwater – probably because everyone knew she would be packed with Hollywood royalty…

…which immediately caused more than a few problems…

As it seemed every little boat had to see how close they could get to the yacht, causing the skipper to lay on the collision horn more than once. Little speedboats buzzed by, bikini clad girls waving from the bows as they passed – until a half dozen LA Sheriff’s Department boats showed up and chased everyone away.

The April Fools increased speed once clear of the breakwater and went about a half mile offshore, and at that point Ted and Kat walked up to the bow and stood facing the wind, Ted holding onto the varnished teak rails as the little ship crashed into a nice deeply rolling swell – sending spray fifty feet into the air. Ted turned and looked aft to the flying bridge and waved at Sam, then he turned to Katharine and held her close.

“How was San Francisco?” she asked. “As bad as you expected?”

“Maybe. I’m not really sure. Dad’s moving to Israel, and he says he’s getting married once he gets there.”

“What? Your dad?”

“Yup.”

“Do you know to who?”

Ted shook his head. “No, but he wants us to come over at Thanksgiving for the ceremony. Mom too.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Katharine sighed, laughing a little. “I bet that was good for a laugh.”

“I didn’t see anyone laughing, Kat. Not even Harry.”

“Oh – the cop? Was he there, too?”

“Yeah. Kind of unnerving too, if you know what I mean. He’s still carrying that hand-cannon in a shoulder holster.”

“I can’t tell whether I like him or not, you know?”

Ted nodded. “Harry is an acquired taste, Kat. How many times have we been to dinner with him?”

“Twice, I think. Always at that crab shack down by the pier.”

“Ah, yes. Beer, with seafood optional.”

“He can really pack it down, you know?”

“That’s our Harry. He ain’t happy without his Oly.”

“Oly?”

“Olympia Beer. Seattle’s finest, I guess, or something like that, anyway.”

The boat’s bow crashed into another large rolling wave and another wall of water flew out from the ship in a long, graceful arc – and just then another couple came up to the bow. Ted recognized the actor but for some reason couldn’t remember his name – but he nevertheles held out his right hand as the actor approached.

“Dustin Henry,” the actor said as he took Ted’s hand in his. “And you’re Ted, right?”

“I am. Nice evening, isn’t it?”

Dustin looked around. “Yeah. I guess. Look, Sam just told me you’re going to be co-executive producer on Falling Water, but that you’ll be making a lot of the casting decisions.”

Ted just smiled – if only because this was the first he’d heard of it – but he also knew how Sam worked these things. “What can I do for you, Dustin?”

“I want the lead. You haven’t committed to Redford yet, have you?”

Ted simply shrugged. “Nothing is written in stone yet, Dustin, if that’s what you mean.”

“Goddamn!” Henry cried. “It’s like fucking ice up here! How can you stand it?”

Ted simply shrugged – though he grinned just a little.

“Look,” Dustin pleaded, “could we talk this weekend? I have some ideas I’d like to go over with you…”

Again Ted just smiled and shrugged, not really sure what Sam was up to yet. “Why don’t we just enjoy the fireworks tonight, okay?” he added, concluding the exchange. He watched Henry deflate than walk back to the main saloon, but he noticed Sam was still up on the fly bridge watching him intently – but this time Same waved at him and Ted nodded in return. He knew not to ask what Sam was up to, and that Sam would tell him when he was good and ready – but then he turned to Kat and looked at her. She kept her eyes dead ahead and he instantly surmised she was in on it – whatever ‘it’ was.

“How’d the study session go?” he asked her – watching her reaction as he changed gears.

“Good. I had no idea there’d be an essay on moral reasoning, and it’s an important part of the test, too.”

“No kidding? Moral reasoning…for physicians? Now that’s a stretch…”

“Yup, that was a real surprise,” she sighed.

“You want to tell me what’s up with your dad?”

“No, not really.”

“I kinda figured, Kat.”

“I’m getting cold.”

“Yeah, me too. Getting rough out, isn’t it…?”

She turned and smiled at him, but that was all she’d give away that night.

But when everyone gathered on the aft deck to watch the fireworks Dustin stood next to him, engaging in pleasant chit-chat through the display, and then he and his wife sat next to Ted and Kat when everyone gathered for a late supper.

“That was really something,” Dustin said in his thick Brooklyn accent. “Almost as good as New York’s.”

“Hard to compete with all the tall ships in the harbor,” Sam Gold said. “That gave me goosebumps, seeing those ships against the two towers last night, but I thought the guys did a nice job here.”

“Yeah. Nice,” Henry said, and Ted leaned back and watched the interplay between Sam and this actor. But again he got the impression Sam was watching him, sizing him up – by how well he handled the situation…then…

“I’m headed to Paris on Monday,” Sam added. “Doing some location work with the crew. Ted? You think you could take some time off from your work and join me?”

Ted didn’t act surprised, not in the least – he just leaned back in his chair and looked at Sam: “No sweat,” he sighed, though he grinned – just a little.

“You didn’t happen to bring your passport, did you?” Sam asked.

“Of course,” Ted replied.

“Dustin? You bring your passport?”

“Yessir, sure did.”

“Well, Ted and I will let you know in the morning. Kat? Think you could entertain our guests for a while? Ted and I need to have a sit-down before I hit the sack.”

“Sure, Daddy,” she cooed.

“Alright then, if you’ll excuse us? Ted?”

Ted followed Sam forward to the midship stairway and they made their way down and aft to Sam’s stateroom, then to a little sitting area on the port side.

“You really bring your passport?” was the first thing he asked.

“I did, sir. Yes.”

“Mind if I ask why?”

“I always carry it when I fly.”

“Oh, that’s right. You went up to the city yesterday. How’d that go?”

“Okay, sir. My dad has decided to move to Israel, and he’s getting married again.”

Sam looked at him, his demeanor unchanged. “You okay?”

“I’m still getting used to the idea, sir.”

Sam nodded his leonine head, then he pointed to a chair as he took a seat and picked up a phone. “Lee, bring my cigars, and two glasses of Drambuie, rocks please.”

Ted sat and waited.

“How old are you now, Ted? Twenty-one?”

“Yessir.”

“Your teachers tell me good things about the work you’re turning in. Good ideas, sound thinking. You ready to get your hands dirty on a little project?” Sam said as he took his glass of Drambuie from Lee, his personal waiter/valet who was never far from his side.

“Of course,” Ted said, taking a second glass from Lee.

“You ever thought of acting?” Sam said as he fiddled with a cigar.

“Me, sir? Acting? Not on your life…”

Sam chuckled as he shook his head. “You’ve got the looks and you handle pressure well. You might do pretty good if the mood ever strikes…”

“It won’t, sir.”

“Well, let’s clear the air a little, okay?”

“Sir?”

“Look, I know you think I helped you into film school but it was all you. Once you were accepted, well, I asked a couple friends of mine there to keep man eye on you, to keep me posted on your progress – and they’ve had nothing but good things to say about your work so far.”

Ted looked at Sam and nodded, still not sure where this was headed but more than curious now.

Sam was enjoying this, the kid’s calm demeanor impressive as hell. Most of the ass kissers he dealt with would have been on their knees by now, but not Ted. This kid had ‘it’ and the idea filled Sam with a sense of wonder. Katharine had bumped into this kid, there’d been no prearranged agendas in play, no one running a con on him. No, Ted was the real deal and he’d just fallen into his lap. The kid needed a mentor, true enough, but Sam had known even then that he’d need an heir to the throne one day. Because time was running out and he’d begun to realize he couldn’t afford to waste another day. But first he needed to put the kid under some real pressure, see if he had the balls to take the reins – if and when…

“How are you and Katharine doing?” Sam asked.

“Fine, sir.”

“She tells me you want to set a date. Is that about the size of it?”

“Yessir.”

“Ted?”

“Sir?”

“How  many times do I have to tell you…my name is not sir. Got it? Not between you and me – understand?”

Ted nodded. “Okay.”

“If there’s something on your mind I need you to be comfortable enough talking with me to come to me with any problem you can’t figure out on your own. Don’t procrastinate, don’t let things fester. So no keeping things from me. Got it? No bullshit, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Now, tell me what’s going on between you two?”

“I think she still wants to put off getting married until she gets out of med school…”

“And you’re still against that?”

“I am, sir – uh, Sam.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well, med school is just the beginning of the process. There are internships and residencies to consider, and then who knows what after that and before you know it ten years or more is gone. Then what?”

“And those ten years? What’s so important about getting married that it can’t wait?”

“Kids for one, Sam. And then what else can happen in all that time. Maybe she meets someone else and decides I’m not the one…”

“That kind of shit can happen regardless of the time and place, Ted, and you can’t live your life in fear of shit like that. If your love is the real deal that kind of stuff isn’t usually a factor. On the other hand, having kids is a big deal, a solid commitment. You think the two of you are ready to take that on?”

“Not right now, no sir. But maybe in a few years, maybe after living together a couple of years, well, I think we’d know by then.”

“What? Living together? Or married?”

“I’d marry her tomorrow, Sam. You know that.”

Sam smiled and nodded. “Yes, that was clear the first time you showed up on my doorstep. You were smitten, always had it bad.”

“I still do, sir. She’s the one. I can hardly breathe when we’re apart.”

“Sure you’re just not horny?”

Ted coughed at that. “Sir?”

“I assume you’ve nailed her…more than once, right?”

“Sir?” Ted said, his face turning bright crimson.

“Ted? Get your act together. And I mean now.”

“Uh…”

“Look, Ted. Basic premise here, so listen up. When someone tries to fuck with your head like this they’re looking for an angle, a weakness they can exploit. Get you off balance, on guard, then while you’re flustered and weak…that’s when the big shit goes down. You’re an easy mark then, in that moment, and that’s when people take advantage of you. Got it?”

“Sam? What’s this all about?”

“A new flick. Working title is Falling Water. It’s kind of a World War Two romance thing but the script we’ve got is remarkable. I’m going to Paris to see if we can get Deneuve signed, and I want you there. But here’s the problem; because you’re young, people are going to try and fuck with you, fuck with your head…”

“Understood, but I need to know your objectives, sir.”

“My objective? Ted, my objective is to turn you loose and see if you can sign her.”

Ted nodded his head slowly. “Okay. I can do that.”

Sam’s eyes narrowed at that. “You know anything about Miss Deneuve?”

“Yessir. A little.”

“Well, that’s why Jack’s here. Talk to him. God knows he’s still infatuated with her, and he knows everything there is to know about her. How’s your French?”

“Decent enough. At least I think I can hold my own.”

“Well okay, we’ll see. Her English is, well, let’s just say she tries.”

“Okay. Is Kat coming with us?”

“Kat? No, why would she? This is work, Ted, not a vacation.”

“Understood.”

“Now, this stuff with your father…is it going to fuck with your head?”

Ted shook his head. “No sir, not at all.”

“Okay. Now, tell me, do you see Dustin playing a romantic lead opposite Deneuve?”

“Is it a comedy or a drama, sir.”

“Call me sir one more time, Ted, and I’m going to pitch your ass overboard.”

“Look, Sam, there are just a few people in the world I respect enough to call sir, and you’re one of ‘em. Cut me some slack, would you?”

Sam nodded. “Let’s call it a drama – with a little fun thrown in to lighten the mood. The male lead has got to be self deprecating and unconsciously funny.”

“Is he a soldier or a pilot?”

“Flyer. Now, what does that tell you?”

“It tells me I need to read the script.”

“In your stateroom there’s an envelope. Let me know what you think by six a.m. tomorrow. You don’t smoke, do you?”

“No sir. Never have.”

“Pot?”

“No sir.”

“Well, you’ve got some reading to do. See you at breakfast, and Ted…I’m sorry if I’m ruining your night.”

Ted nodded. If anyone could understand what Sam was up to it had to be Kat…yet when he made it forward to their stateroom he found the envelope propped on his pillow – and Katharine already fast asleep.

+++++

He’d never been on any kind of private airplane before so getting his initiation in a Gulfstream II was a bit of a trial by fire. Eight sumptuously reclining leather seats and with one stewardess to take care of them, Ted settled into the seat over the right wing and took the proposed shooting budget from Sam and quickly skimmed through the document, making notes as he read, so by the time he finished he hardly noticed that the jet was airborne and now headed northeast over Utah. He handed his notes and observations to Sam who quickly read through them before smiling and looking over at the kid.

“You know, Ted, I’ve got accountants, supposedly CPAs, and I’ve got lawyers by the score working for me, and not one of them has pointed out these problems to me. I saw them immediately, and apparently so did you, but I’m wondering why all these highly paid professionals are missing obvious problems like these. What do you think?”

Ted shrugged noncommittally, then he turned to Sam and spoke: “Hard to say, but lawyers profit by litigating, right, so is it possible that they feel like they can safely ignore these more complex, behind the scenes problems in the early stages of the process, because, well, who knows, maybe they’re hoping these problems will lead to more complex litigation down the road…”

“Once a project is well underway and I’d have more incentive to fight…”

“And so they get more billable hours. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

“It’s also illegal and unethical,” Sam sighed.

“So? Show me a lawyer who pays attention to those kinds of niceties and I’ll show you a starving lawyer.”

“Where’d you pick that line up…van Brunkle’s class?”

“Yeah, I guess. That’s just motion picture financing 101.”

“That’s also called cynicism, Ted.”

“Which doesn’t make it any less true, does it, sir?”

Sam turned away for a moment, measuring his next words carefully: “Sometimes cynicism is called for, but in the end I’d say rarely so. You have to surround yourself with people you can trust, Ted. If you can’t, well, all I can tell you is you won’t last long in this business.”

Ted held up his notes and looked at Sam. “So, what’s with these people?”

“New kids, just out of the film school. They’ll be working for you on this project, so it’ll be your job to figure out how – and why – they’re screwing things up…all while you’re supervising the writers and production designers and all the other little pieces of the puzzle…”

“And while keeping in touch with the studio, I assume?”

“Yes, that too. Let’s call it a trial by fire.”

“Okay.”

“Think you can handle it, Ted?”

“Yessir. Not a problem.”

Years later, Sam remembered the almost flat affect in Ted’s voice, even more so the look of pure determination in the kid’s eyes – like even as they spoke he was working out in his mind how to go about solving all the inevitable little problems that routinely plagued all poorly run projects. Yet Sam recalled his first project even as he remembered that all Ted had to work with was book learning, not experience.

“Okay, now about all this BS with my daughter and a wedding date. You both graduate next May, and the release date for Falling Water is June 25th, just a month later. She reports for orientation at most med schools in late July, so that leaves about a month. You want to push that hard?”

Ted turned and looked out the window over the jet’s wing and he sighed, then he nodded. “When push comes to shove, sir, getting married is the most important thing – at least it is to me.”

“What’s the most important thing to Katharine, Ted?”

Ted shook his head as he turned to look at Sam. “Going to med school.”

“And what does that tell you?”

“She has her priorities, and I have mine.”

“And your number one priority is getting married?”

“Yessir.”

“Why is that, Ted?”

“My parents, the way they broke apart.”

“There’s no one on this plane that can hear a goddamn thing, Ted. And there’s no need for secrets between you and me, not anymore. What happened with them, Ted? Why the urgency?”

“I’m not really sure I know the answer to that one, Sam, but it feels like my dad has been running from the Germans since 1939…”

“Germans? Really?”

Ted nodded. “But then came the anti-semitism in the city. Once he figured out that there were the same kind of people here in the States he started to come undone…”

“So that’s what led to his…”

“Yessir.”

“And therefore – the whole Israel thing. Well, that makes sense.”

“Does it? I mean, does it really? Israel is like this little island surrounded by shark infested waters, so will he really be that much safer over there?”

“I doubt it, son. Do you ever go to temple?”

“Not really. Not since my bar mitzvah.”

Sam nodded. “You might reconsider that decision, Ted. Katharine has been kind of tolerant about the two of you not going, but there’s a limit to her tolerance.”

“Sir?”

“Temple has played a large role in her life, especially after her mother passed. Don’t ask her to give up that part of her life, Ted. You won’t like the outcome.”

“Yessir.”

“Your father and Israel? He’s getting married there, I hear?”

“I think so, sir.”

“Any date set yet?”

“I think he’s going to try and make if over Thanksgiving break, sir.”

“Makes sense. I assume you’ll go?”

“I’d like us all to go, sir.”

“Me? I’ve never even met your father, Ted. That might not be the best…”

“Sam, I haven’t had a father in a long time, not really. That’s what divorce means, practically speaking, because I hardly know the man now.”

“He’s your father, Ted.”

“And so are you. Anders is a shadow now, sir. Someone I used to know, and more than likely someone I’ll rarely ever see after he leaves.”

“It’s a horrible thing when a father turns away from his family.”

Ted looked down, nodded his head slowly.

“But I suppose you’re correct. All of this is behind your desire to get married now. You feel the need to repudiate your father, to prove him wrong. Yet Ted, wasn’t it your mother who pushed for the divorce – after your father’s breakdown?”

“Yessir, it was.”

“And yet you don’t feel any hostility towards her, do you? Isn’t that odd?”

“She did everything for me, sir.”

“And yet you think your father didn’t? Given the circumstances, isn’t what he gave up all that he had to give?”

Ted looked out the window again, and at his reflection in the glass.

“I’m not trying to push you around, Ted, but sometimes cynicism blinds you to certain obvious truths, but more importantly cynicism keeps you from learning from your mistakes. In a way, cynicism is like a wall you build, brick by brick, between your soul and the wisdom we seek. And maybe cynicism keeps you from seeing your life as it really is.”

Ted turned and looked at Sam. “Did you lose family over there, sir? In the camps?”

“Of course I did, Ted. I lost six million brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. I lost every soul, just as you did, and your father, as well. That is the horror from which your father runs, Ted, and it is that which we acknowledge every Sabbath. So perhaps you’ll join us next week? Perhaps you’ll start to push aside the bricks in your wall?”

© 2021-22 adrian leverkühn | abw | adrianleverkühnwrites.com all rights reserved, and as usual this is just a little bit of fiction, pure and simple.

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