Daily Archive for Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

andrew topping

andrew, i don’t know what you were. to me you were amazing, a voice on the other end of the phone who could speak with erudition on damn near any subject having to do with war and history and thought and language, erudition without traction on the ground, gears not open for interlocking with another in a listening working relationship, and so you die alone with one friend, harry, who believed in your idea and liked you and bought you medicines and spoke with you daily, who emailed me when he had not been able to reach you since february 23 and called me this morning to pass on the report of your death from the marblehead police, and me, whom you could call on occasion at maybe two week intervals who would talk with you when you called or call you back but hardly ever initiate, and ingrid, who lived with you and fought with you and fled. beyond we three i know in connection with you only of occasional lawyers in professional relations and few of those. you were fascinating to listen to, though you sometimes tallked too long and always insisted on signs of attention and assent by intermittently questioning “yes?”, pausing for acknowledgment. you conceived yourself as a soldier and security strategist. you worked from an understanding of deep nastiness in the world. you fended off questions about yourself with security speak, leaving you defended in a tight bubble, amazing like a jewel, and now snuffed out. i regret i never recorded your voice. i was tempted many times. i regret i do not have a preserved example of your erudition and the fire of your speech. good bye andrew. you seemed so able to forestall death by your mental and physical heroics that the event of your death came as a surprise. i am sad to lose you. i had come to count on you as someone to whom i was a friend. i have too few such connections. now i grieve that you are gone.