Paul falls hopelessly in love with Nicole Longet (Claudine Longet), and she sings Jobim's “Meditation” to him in French.
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en route to San Framcisco
Wednesday, September 22
Hours go by, and still lots more before we land in San Francisco. Trying to study the charts for the Juan Les Pins Rally on Sunday, in case Pete needs me. I am so worried about him, but keep bringing out Kate's letter, and re-reading it.
Each time, the meaning seems to change as different words leap out at me - like LOVER - and the thought of her in the arms of another man …. But then, surely only a figure of speech, and she really wants me to be free, that's all ….
When I try and concentrate on the triumph of getting Janos out of Gervag instead, my mind just goes back to the frivolousness and lack of judgment that put him in there …. the kind of caution I would normally use in unknown situations - gone! Just praying that Pete will be all right, and not another casualty of my lunacy.
To cheer myself up I read Kathy Sloan's monthly letter. She thanked me with a thousand kiss marks for making her go to college, and loves it. Already has a “beau,” but promises he'll never be more than second to me.
After they threw the book at Sheriff Trumbell - assault, bribery, corruption, misuse of office, etc. etc. he's still awaiting trial in another jurisdiction, and Kathy says she'll keep me posted.
Watched that film many times, never thinking I'd so personally relate to Bogart's line, but of all the hotel lobbies in all the world, she had to walk into mine. On the arm of a tall blond guy. And wearing MY dress.
The Balmain evening gown I bought her in Paris. My eye went straight to her right hand, where she's been wearing my engagement ring sinceI left, but there it was still.
I am incensed, heartbroken, confused, outraged, sad, and wondering whether this thing had already started when she wrote to me. Is that why she sent the letter?
Was she with him when I couldn't reach her? Did she really go to Houston? Or is the whole thing a cover up for resumption of her affair with Armand? The whole time we were together, I knew there was always a possibility that she'd go back to him.
Or was this just a business thing? Middle of the week, it could be. It wasn't unusual for Kate to be escorted to certain kinds of functions by other men during our time together.
The expression on her face was quite neutral, and she wasn't even looking at him. But the way he glanced at HER before someone called out to him. It can't be anything else …. “qualities of a lover,” she wrote.
But she's still wearing our engagement ring. That has to mean something. I'd rather she hadn't caught my eye. Better she hadn't seen me some unpleasant shade of green.
The way she waved, a beckoning Maria wave that he didn't see. My response must have looked foolish. Little more than a small gesture before I turned and slipped out of the lobby, returning to my room in a fog.
Relieved to finally hear from Pete with a report on the aftermath of Janos' rescue. His first news was that we won the race, and that was probably a lot more significant, I think, than just a track victory.
Pete said he was questioned as soon as Janos disappeared (woken in the middle of the night), and again after the race car was hijacked, but when he won the final of the Kölön Tessra, he was left to leave as a hero.
Istvan had patterned the theft of the car on a gang that had been carrying out similar car jackings, and the ploy may have worked. The papers said they were responsible for another broad-daylight sports car robbery the next day.
Since Marika left the country in another direction, we're hoping that Janos' escape was linked to her and a shadowy unit that has been spiriting people out along the route she seemed to take before both disappeared. Pete said that there had already been gossip along this line among the other drivers.
He told the authorities that I'd said I intended to see a little of the country before the race, so when I don't turn up and officially leave, my name is bound to go on the black books.
But it's a relief to know that Pete got out OK. A big relief! Carlos Rey will be able to drive In the Juan Les Pins Rally, so it looks like I'll only be a spectator.
Chronology of Events
Paul flies to San Francisco for an appointment with his doctor.
After arriving at his hotel, Paul sees his former fiancee enter with another man
Thursday, September 23
Endured the usual tedious session of tests at Dr. Mason's, and he promised to get in touch about the results, but I replied my schedule was liquid after France, and I'd ring him.
Kate and I had both left messages for one another, and she rang again just as I came back from the doctor's, saying it was horrible to have seen me, and watched me vanish before her eyes.
…. How often we have found that the most casual remark takes on such a different meaning between us now. On our vacation together, we'd found a way of getting around this with wry smiles and a kiss, but now, the unintended pain of the remark hit both of us.
After a bit of a silence, I asked her if last night was an example of what she'd meant by starting a single life again, but she replied by asking why I hadn't come over to meet George.
I decided it was better not to say it was because I might have given him a punch, and she asked me if I agreed with the conclusions in her letter.
Then she hit me with something so incontrovertible that I couldn't even reply, telling me that the longer we were together on our trip, the more she saw sadness - her polite euphemism - in my eyes. The very reason I give for not staying with people who know, but in reverse.
Again her argument that we'd come to a point where her potential existence as a companion would deny me the freedom I needed to live the new life I'd built. If she weren't available, then I wouldn't be held back.
“I've got to at least try,” she pleaded, indicating that we needed to give this a couple months. and I could tell from the heightened quiver in her voice that she was on the edge.
NOW, my heart goes out to her, but at that moment raging emotions caused me to retaliate and say that might be all the time I had left.
Though quickly taken back, the damage was done, and Kate compounded it by saying very tenderly that, if that were the case, it was all the more important to have many experiences in that time, rather than just repeating the one of our vacation together.
When I advised that this was something better spoken of in person, Kate said she was just leaving for New York, and when I offered to take her to the airport, she said it was better not to.
Going to New York. She knew that I was supposed to arrive in San Francisco today. How could she be going to New York? Is that it?
Went to the firm to meet the new associate from Boston who's renting my house, and signed the papers with him. Another tie broken, so it was good to have an enriching and much-needed session of good humor and encouragement from David Gaffney, who's completely recovered from the heart attack.
At the country club before he arrived I ran into Jim Carlson who said that I must join him for a Padres game before the season was over, and we shook on it.
After a round of golf, had a great evening of reminiscing with Pete's Dad, and I was in a very sentimental mood - prey to every emotion in the book, from childhood memories of my father to the excitement of watching GB win a race. It was good to see him looking so well.
Message from Gene Mason waiting when I got back, saying that he wanted to see me before I left tomorrow morning. Couldn't let that ruin an important night's sleep and rang him, but he said it was only that he wanted to hand me something before I left.
Medical appointment along with golf and dinner with the law partner of Paul's father - Pete Gaffney's dad.
San Francisco / en route to France / Juan Les Pins,
Friday, September 24
Breakfast in my suite with Dr. Mason who said that I was still solid, but added that I'd picked up two more things in my system. He didn't know much yet, but said they looked isolated, and were probably the kind of item people carry around with them all their lives without ever knowing. I tried to take this as a reassurance, but am just too down to care.
Because of this “little development,” he said that he'd like me to see a doctor living down the coast from Barcelona, if I could manage to fit that into my schedule. The man only treats the terminally ill …. and would have a special interest in the recent tests.
Then Gene said that he wanted to see me in December, “just so we can stay on top of things.” I'm not going to try and interpret that, but I can count.
Marcella drove me to the airport, and brought along a letter that had arrived in the morning mail. From my mother's family in Sicily, saying that they are looking forward to my visit. I have to squeeze this in as soon as possible.
Took a pill, and intend to sleep through this flight.
Pete met me at the airport, and immediately asked what was wrong, but let “just tired from the flight” suffice as an answer. Knowing I came from San Francisco, of course, he realizes it's Kate. We talked a lot about his Dad over a meal.
Then, as if it were an afterthought, he said, “by the way,” you'll want to get a FIA driver's license for the new season,” and handed me an application form, saying that the test could be done tomorrow after the race, while the international inspectors were on the spot. Insisting that it was just a formality, Pete said he already knew that I'd pass the examination with flying colors.
I gaped, sure that he couldn't be right, and despite the time I'd spent behind the wheel, feel certain I couldn't pass any international test. And reading through the application form, I see that a medical was also required.
The crowd here is even more international than usual, and I met a fascinating Israeli girl named Lisa Sorrow who's not here for the race, but for gliding. Promised to go up with her tomorrow, time permitting.
Paul flies to France to participate in the Juan Les Pins Rally
Juan Les Pins,
Saturday, September 25
Rose surprisingly refreshed this morning, and determined to live for what I'm doing right now. Wasn't that what she wanted me to do?
Figuring that I can't do much about the driving test, at 8 am Lisa and I went gliding, and I'm trying to throw myself into this relationship, for what its worth. A little.
Morning testing was good, and Pete has driven the course so many times that everything went smoothly. He said that the roads were lined with people, as if it were the actual race. We had lunch together, and I took in some of the afternoon qualifying, before heading for the sky again, but surprisingly, Pete didn't do as well as we'd expected. Tomorrow will be another tale!
Pete's date for dinner was a Spanish model who was working for the race sponsors, and we made it a four-some, Lisa bubbling over with talk about gliding, and entering a competition in America.
A Girl Named Sorrow (part 1)
Paul goes gliding with Lisa Sorrow in Juan Les Pins.
Juan Les Pins
Sunday, September 26
Lisa and I went gliding in the morning, and she's determined for me to join her in Arizona next month. She wants to enter a contest in the States, and study with a man who's supposed to be a fantastic teacher. Am I not?
We had a terrific vantage point for watching the race, and Pete's second place kept our good record going. The competition was keen, and for once he wasn't too unhappy not to get the winner's trophy.
Then came my big moment. The driving test. Pete was right. It was a piece of cake, only a formality. After the basic driving test, the track doctor listened to my heart and blood pressure, then signed my application. That was it. No swearing him to a secrecy pact.
I'm a racing driver!
After dinner I told Lisa that my plans were very uncertain, but that I'd try and meet her in Arizona, if I could. No promises. But I gave her Marcella's number, and said that she'd know.
A nice girl, but Pete thinks she's a spy. I died laughing at this, but he gave me The Look. I don't know why he singled her out from all the beautiful women swarming around us this weekend.
GB's car crashes out of Juan Les Pins Rally
Monday - Wednesday, September 27 - 29
Flew to Barcelona, and got a train for San Patrazio to turn in Gene Mason's preliminary test report to Dr. Lamas, and make an appointment to see him. The town enchanted me soon as I walked out of the railway station, and I started eyeing hotels, each and every one of which beckoned.
Only a block from the station, the clinic was easy to find, and as I approached, couldn't help noticing a young woman in a red poncho coming out the door. She already had her back to me as I drew near, her head slightly bent as she walked away.
I remember my heart immediately going out to this little creature, even without seeing her face, thinking how awful it must be for someone so young. Like Julie Foster.
The receptionist informed me that Dr. Lamas had people coming to him from all over Europe and even farther afield, and she wasn't able to squeeze me in for a brief talk until Thursday. I left the folder with her, and she said Dr. Mason had rung and posted more documents.
There was an outdoor café just a little down the street, and the red poncho stood out among the tables. I was drawn there like a magnet. As it turned out, the only free place was at her table, so, walking up behind her, and then moving a little sideways, I asked if I might share it.
When she turned, and looked up at me, I experienced the most luminous moment of my life. It wasn't just the softness and radiance of her smile, but the radiance that filled my heart.
Trying to write this with a steady hand, but the words want to fill the page ahead of my pen.
Only moments in her company, and I was already feeling I had met the long-lost other half of me., the missing part that made me feel whole for the first time in my life.
I wasn't the only one. Perhaps it was the news she'd received from the doctor, but her dreamy, bedazzled countenance seemed totally directed at me.
When I told her I'd just arrived, and was going to look for a hotel, she immediately suggested her place above a cantina, and we just got up then and walked over there, rather in a trance, but after only minutes, certain of one another.
That night, the rapture that was ours made death seem impossible.
But how could I ever be able to put down in words what these two days with Nicole have been like. That she too is dying gives a heartbreaking poignancy to every minute we spend together. And to the ironic title of her book.
The hours with her would be precious were a lifetime stretching out before me, but telescoped into whatever is left to us, there is no substance in the world that could compare with their value.
Every touch born of desperation, the depths of tenderness and heights of passion are something I've never known. And each feeling, touch and thought returned by Nicole with equal intensity.
Paul flies to Barcelona, and travels down the coast, and becomes enchanted with the seaside town to make an appointment with a doctor who treats only terminal illnesses.
He sees a girl leaving the practice before he enters, and after handing in some test results, goes to an outdoor cafe where he again sees the girl whom he believes to also be dying.
It is love at first sight between them, and they stay together in rooms above a cantina.
Paul believes that he has met the grand passion of his life in Nicole Longet, French author of the novel "The Sadness of a Happy Time."
Thursday, September 30
I am confused and unsure, overjoyed and trying to put my head back in order. Originally, I'd expected my appointment with Dr. Lamas to be routine, but once I met Nicole, it couldn't possibly be.
Somehow the least interesting thing he had to say was that I'd picked up two new dormant things, one associated with East Africa and the other with Indochina.
The effect of multiple elements in a terminal patient was his research specialty in addition to treating individuals, he informed me, but all I wanted to do is ask about Nicole, and finally blurted out the question a about her condition.
He gave me a bewildered look, and I said I knew that this was a matter of patient confidentiality, but I wanted to marry her. Dr. Lamas looked at me as puzzled as before, then finally asked me what ever gave me the impression that Mademoiselle Longet might be his patient.
When I answered that I'd seen her coming out of his practice on Monday, he began to shake his head, and said that he'd met her by chance in the square, and had asked if she might autograph his copy of The Sadness of a Happy Time.
“That's all?” I asked suspiciously, but he remained firm with his answer. So I turned around and asked, if it were Nicole wondering about me, might he not make a similar denial? I got only a shrug and a repeat of what he called the simple truth.
Wanted to walk out of there in a state of elation. She would live! But would she? And how does that change our relationship?
Nicole had driven to see another writer who had recommended this resort to her, so I went for a long walk on the beach to try and think this out, but remain muddled. What's important is that I love her with an intense passion. What we have together now is all that matters.
At his appointment, the doctor tells Paul that Nicole is not a patient, and that she only came to his office to sign a copy of her novel for him.
Friday , October 1
I could never have dreamt that all this could be mine. My hope for the future had been only to live for what a single day could give me or for individual acts that could make things better for the people who crossed my path.
But this much goodness is more than I could ever deserve. Today I overheard Nicole speaking to the landlady below, and signing a book for her, then mentioning the nice doctor she'd met in the square, who also asked her to autograph his copy. She IS all right!
Saturday, October 2
After a beautiful day together with an afternoon of joy complete, we decided to stay here another week and just paid the landlady when none other than Mike Allen walked into the cantina - right past me - despite my greeting.
Moments later he was injured in a shooting incident, and I rang the CIA man at the Barcelona Consulate for him.
Between afternoon and this evening, it's like a cold breeze has blown into our warm little paradise. Nicole seemed so different when we went for dinner.
Maybe it was only upset over the violence that came so close to us, but that sense of the world intruding is palpable. It's even making me think about what I'm doing here, and whether I can afford the relationship that has happened with Nicole.
Her entry into my life was like a lightning bolt that left me unable to think straight - and not wanting to.
Paul and Nicole enjoy happy days together, and he is finally convinced that she is not dying.
They decide to spend another week at the cantina apartment, but that evening, there is a shooting out in the street before it, and Paul's "friend" in the CIA is wounded.
Sunday, October 3
Went to see Mike in the hospital before Nicole woke, but he too was still asleep. The nurse said that he'd be released later in the day. Bright moment followed with a call from Pete saying that he'd come in second in Vienna, a race we'd targeted for the prize money. Despite having to replace the car, we're still in the black.
On the beach this morning, Nicole confronted me with the most ridiculous idea - that I was a spy. I don't even know why she figured Mike for an agent, but she has this bee in her bonnet, and nothing I could say would change her mind.
She said I should go see Mike, so I did - pondering the idea that Nicole did not believe me. It seemed just enough to let my foot touch the ground long enough to consider my situation.
What have I been thinking? Well, obviously, not at all. This love is something I can't really afford, and I made arrangements to leave with Mike for Barcelona.
After packing I waited for Nicole to return from some shopping, and told her that I had to leave, but when I could, if I could, I would find her again. In her foolish belief that I'm an agent, this sufficed for her, but my own pain and feeling of hollowness is boundless.
We took a late train for Barcelona, and I was glad that Mike allowed it to be in silence.
Monday, October 4
We got an early morning plane to Alicante, and a chopper to a quiet and semi-deserted island that Mike uses for R&R, but after a couple hours, I began to find his company oppressive.
Immoral, sanctimonious and pompous at the best of times, but when it comes to my illness, melodramatic, creepy and condescending in his supposed knowledge of my psyche. By the afternoon, I couldn't take any more of him, and ordered the helicopter for a flight back to Alicante.
Mike unctuously purported to understand the reason for my departure, but it seemed hardly worth my while to contradict him. Was lucky enough to get a connection for Rome, but sitting here alone in one of the most romantic cities in the world, right or wrong, I have to face what I've done, and go on with life - without Nicole - without the other half of me.
5 - 17 October 1965 ("Sequestro" parts 1 & 2 /
"The Sadness of a Happy Time" part 2 )
On the basis of the incident the previous night, and the strange lifestyle he leads, Nicole tells Paul that she's convinced that he is a spy.
Paul goes to see Mike Allen in the hospital, and says that he would like to leave San Patrazio, because he has fallen in love.
He then goes back to the cantina and bids an emotional farewell to Nicole.
Quickly tiring of Mike Allen's company, Paul leaves the island of Spain where they have gone, and heads for Sicily.