Chronology of Events
en route to Athens
Saturday, October 30
Back on a flight for Greece, my psyche like a stick of salt water taffy, having been pulled in a thousand directions during the last 48 hours. But it has been an important time, and I need to put down all that happened since last night.
When I rang her, Katie asked me if we could meet, but didn't want me to come to Molly's where she'd taken refuge from “all the people,” which included her family.
So she came to my hotel. But when I invited her over to the sofa, Kate insisted that she wouldn't stay long, and remained standing by the door, apologizing for ending as we had with only a letter and phone call.
She explained that it wouldn't have been possible to retain her determination had we been together, then bent her head, and said that all such resolve had disintegrated when I'd held her today.
Kate maintained that the only life for me was as a free wanderer, but then whispered that there could be no one else as long as I was alive, and took my hands, just looking at them for a long while, her face obscured by that large black hat.
But it soon became apparent that she was weeping soundlessly. When I brought out my handkerchief to touch her tears away, she looked up - suddenly old, drawn, and drained of her beauty and freshness.
In that moment I fell in love with her all over again.
But, caught off guard, suddenly revealed, I couldn't miss the glance she'd managed to hide from me all this while, and for the second time in a few hours I saw that look of despair in a woman's eyes.
I moved to hold her, but Kate turned away, and reached for the doorknob. I actually had to put my foot against the door to keep her from going out.
Removing the intrusive hat and undoing the unappealing bun, I kissed her forehead, and then said softly into her ear that if we really were one soul that death couldn't part, then we should stop trying to separate in life.
After a very long embrace, I asked if anyone was waiting for her. She answered that the doctor had given both her mother and sister a strong sedative, and the maid was informed to tell anyone that Kate was unavailable but doing OK.
As far as plans beyond tonight, she'd arranged to be away from the gallery for the next week, and had decided to go to the house in Palm Springs.
I told her I had an even better idea, certain that the beautiful and serene atmosphere of my grandmother's house would be a help. Though I hadn't really thought beyond the night, I felt sure that Katie would find some solace in this most special refuge I know.
But once we got there, it seemed that everything we wanted to speak about only caused pain, so we were mostly silent, the late October Pacific alive with crashing waves below us. We stood watching them until it got too cold, and bit by bit, found our way back to one another.
After putting away the groceries, I found one of Kate's nightgowns in a drawer, and got her to bed. She'd been like a zombie, following me around, just standing until I moved along myself.
Then I made a pot of hot chocolate with a substantial component of brandy, and brought it in to her on the little burner. How fascinated and excited I had always been as a boy when Granny would bring me chocolate kept hot under the candle flame.
After finishing the chocolate I asked Kate if she wanted me to get in bed with her, and she gave a wan nod. I held her, and with my face buried in her ocean of beautiful hair, we both fell asleep very quickly.
Some time in the night we both woke, each aware the other wasn't asleep, and instead of speaking about her father, Kate began trying to explain the necessity to break off our relationship.
She said the time after I left for New Guinea was something she'd never be able to talk about, but the worst thing when she found herself falling apart in April was the ever-present question “why” ….
Something that grew into a dreadful obsession until she learned the reason for my sudden departure …. Then came the time wishing to be together again just once more, and when it happened, of course, it wasn't enough ….
When the wish was fulfilled again and again as we secretly resumed our relationship in a grab-the moment sort of way, she avoided considering the consequences.
That we were able to experience the joy of the Bahamas and Seychelles trip had brought her untold happiness …. knowing that I wanted to be with her …. the sense almost immediately followed by the awareness that I NEEDED to be with her …. and realization that I was about to dismantle the mechanism which had enabled me to live with the intolerable.
She could sense it even before we left Paradise Island.
I admitted that her instincts had been absolutely correct, and had she come with me to India, I would probably have returned to San Francisco with her afterwards - to stay.
Kate said that she couldn't let that happen to me, as much as she might have wanted it herself, and had sent the letter. “What else could I do?” she asked in a faint voice.
I told her the things which Nicole wouldn't give me the opportunity to say - that in what felt like the hundred years I'd lived since April, many of the original ideas that propelled me had been jettisoned.
I still hoped to try and squeeze all possible diversity into what time lay ahead, but knew now there were many ways of doing that, and no longer needed - or wanted - to lead a solitary existence all the time.
Kate turned to me then, anguish in her voice, and said how much she wished that I'd never have found out …. We'd have been married in May, and knowing real happiness, spending the months traveling together, not requiring artifice for survival.
“So do I” was all I could reply. It said everything I feel and have denied to myself up to this moment. Then I took the engagement ring from her right hand, and placed it back on her left.
Whether it works or not, we've come up with a compromise that will enable us to be together while I continue to “wander free” as Kate calls it.
For now, we'll have a week in Greece where she'll be able to grieve in peace while we try to build some kind of new life and relationship for the time ahead.
Asleep with her head against my shoulder now, I know that this is what I want. What I wanted from the moment I saw her running out the entrance of the gallery that first day.
Paul takes his bereaved fiancee with him to Greece. writing down the events of the night before that brought them together again.
Sunday, October 31
There were few people at the Parthenon this morning, and in the very middle, I held Kate as she broke down over the memory of coming here as a small child with her parents, the things her father had explained about the place, and how the kernel was planted that became the rest of Kate's life in art.
Monday, November 1
We ran into Brad just as we walked into the hotel, and Kate had no reaction like Eileen's, but went straight to bed after we arrived, and even slept through dinner.
Went for a walk in the afternoon, and tried to piece together everything that has happened since going to see Gene Mason in September.
While my thought processes felt clogged on the plane, the beautiful air that lulled Kate into such a sound sleep has opened windows in my mind. My principal task right now is to tend to her needs, and help Katie over this tragic time.
Had a light snack while Brad ate his dinner in the hotel restaurant, and ordered a cold meal that Katie and I could share when she wakes up. But I am already starting to nibble at it.
Tuesday, November 2
We spent the whole day indoors by the fire talking - mostly about Kate's father - her years of memories, her feelings that Alice's affair had brought on his heart condition - along with Molly always being a trial to him since childhood.
The conversation naturally came around to my own father's passing when I was 17, and the empty space that was never filled. At first, a little by Pete who was only two years older, but seemed like a grown-up brother - to me like such a sophisticate at the time ….
Well, he still does …. From the city, so knowledgeable about everything, and on the Stanford varsity football team. Then my mentor became the very man whose class Pete recommended to me. But there was never again anyone like Dad, and I still miss him in so many ways.
Afterwards I took Kate out to a dark, romantic taverna for dinner, and my stoic, never weepy Katie shed tears on and off through the whole meal. I felt so close to her, closer than ever.
Wednesday , November 3
Kate seemed much stronger today, but felt that she didn't have the equilibrium for skiing at the moment, or the inclination either, so we went for a sleigh ride, and that was perfect - for both of us.
Walking for a while in the snow after lunch, we went into a taverna, drinking more than either of us were used to.
I felt the most overwhelming compulsion to tell Kate about Nicole, and was only able to fight it off out of consideration for the delicate state of her emotions following her father's passing.
Ran into Brad when we came back, and he announced that he was leaving early tomorrow, so we all had dinner together. As always, he was stimulating company, full of interesting tidbits on Balkan history, and kept us fascinated until late.
Thursday, November 4
We went out on some easy slopes this morning, and the air and exercise seemed to stabilize Katie even more, so after lunch we repeated the procedure.
I asked her if she wanted to continue keeping our relationship a secret, and she answered, “as long as possible,” because it's like living in a private world for two, the fact that virtually no one knows about us, but I insisted that she wear the ring on her engagement finger when we were together.
Friday, November 5
Every day Kate's freshness is returning to her. We spent all morning and afternoon skiing. Such a shame that we have to fly back tomorrow, but Katie feels that she's neglected her family, and I'm holding a summons from Ben Du Pre, and must get the meeting over with.
We've promised ourselves to try and get another week of snow together before …. the end of the season - and at a time when she is in better form, and able to take some enjoyment from the sports.
Yet I know, from next month onwards, I will be living in a twilight zone where there are no automatic tomorrows or later ons. At least nine months, he said ….
If Kate were not bereaved, I'd have called this a beautiful day. Perhaps it was, more than I think. Instead of alone with her grief in Palm Springs, she has been surrounded by all the love I feel for her.
en route to San Francisco
Saturday, November 6
As I was paying our bill at the desk this morning, a phone call came in from the US Embassy in Athens, asking me to report there urgently.
Worried that we might miss our flight, but the matter didn't take very long. It seems that Brad Capo was arrested in ALBANIA for spying. The CIA guy at the embassy says that he's not an American agent, and gave me a letter passed on by the Swiss authorities during the night.
It was a request from Brad, asking me to act as his counsel on capital charges. They're making all arrangements through the Swiss. I implied that I would, but really hadn't made up my mind, and wanted to know what Kate thought.
We discussed it driving to the airport, and she agreed that it seemed the right thing to do, especially if the Embassy encouraged it, adding that, if nothing else, it would represent a unique experience being able to enter this mysterious country.
Still, she wondered whether I saw danger in the enterprise. “You like danger,” she said, a little wickedly, and I knew that I couldn't defend myself on that one.
7 - 14 November 1965 ("The Dark Beyond the Door" /
"Flight from Tirana" )
They spend a day in Athens
Kate meets Brad
Paul and Kate spend the day talking about her father
They go for a sleigh ride, and Paul has a compulsion to tell Kate about his affair with Nicole Longet - but doesn't.
They dine with Brad Capo, who is leaving in the morning
Paul and Kate try some skiing
Paul and Kate decide to have another week of skiing before the season is over - perhaps in Switzerland - and he hopes that he'll live to do this
Flight From Tirana (part 2)
A car takes them from the ski lodge to Athens, and there Paul meets with officials at the US Embassy who inform him that Brad Capo has been arrested in Albania as a spy, and has asked Paul to act as his counsel. While arrangements are being made, Paul and Kate fly back to San Francisco