Chronology of Events
Wednesday, May 19
Flew home today, and made a date with the stewardess named Judy for tomorrow. Sort of a way of insulating myself against falling apart with Kate.
Rang her several times at home, but no answer. Since I was wavering over making the call, that was kind of a relief.
My house seemed like it wasn't lived in for years - like someone else's place - not that of the man who'd been arrested for murder, was captured in the New Guinea jungle or drove a Mastin racer.
Then, when I sat down in my favorite chair, all of a sudden it was home again. And inches away from me the drawer containing the gun I held all night less than two months ago.
But when I tried to turn around my thoughts, and think about clearing out the house to put it on sale, I tipped over the edge.
Thursday, May 20
Still no answer at Kate's. Called her parents on the Peninsula, and no answer there either. When I rang the gallery, a woman unknown to me said that Kate was on vacation. But even when I gave my name, she treated me like no more than a customer, a stranger.
Finally reached Kate's friend Louise, and she seemed quite hostile, informing me that Kate was recuperating from an illness, but really thought it was for her family to say any more. After getting almost the same treatment with three other friends, I found myself becoming hot under the collar, but had to remind myself that all these people doubtless had an understandable grievance against me.
Started going systematically through the house, making notes on what I wanted to keep for now, and what could be discarded immediately. Before I knew it, it was time to go to Judy's. She seemed different than on the plane - a little harder, but I accepted her invitation for dinner next Thursday. My last night in town.
Friday, May 21
Went into the office, and got a lot of good-natured ribbing about my jet-set lifestyle. Ben asked me to have dinner with him tomorrow night. Marcella had everything ready for me, and sitting at my old desk for a few minutes with the files, it seemed like I'd never been away. I was even enjoying the sense of sinking my teeth into the work.
As far as the idea I could complete the assignment more quickly than anyone else, that was beyond evident, and I had the material half covered in a few hours, despite my preoccupation with Kate.
Marcella brought in a letter that just arrived from Clarice Newell, post-marked Los Angeles. She wrote that Chief Holland was tried on a manslaughter charge, but acquitted by a unanimous jury.
Edward Loomis has stepped down as president of the mill, and given the job to the Chief, an amazing move that the entire town applauded. And Clarice herself has landed a job at Universal Studios. Wonder where I'd be today if it wasn't for this very individualistic young lady.
How could I have ever guessed what had happened?
When the Pierces remained unreachable, after lunch I rang Molly at her sorority house. She was as secretive as the others, obviously having a story - telling nothing - ready for me. “What illness? What's wrong with her?” I shouted into the phone, losing control.
Molly is not the cool cucumber Kate's other friends could be, and after only a little badgering, began crying. She was speaking, but I couldn't understand a word. Then I suddenly comprehended. Kate was in a clinic. She'd had a breakdown.
And here I'd been swanning around the world.
I roared that Molly had to tell me where her sister was, and she resisted completely, then finally broke down and named the place. I don't even know if I thanked her, but hung up and raced for the car.
At the sanatorium the receptionist wouldn't let me past her desk. Then Kate's father just happened to walk in from the garden. He took one look at me, and in his face I saw that he was aware of my fate.
“Does Kate know about me too?” I asked, and he nodded, putting his arm across my shoulders, and leading me outside. He explained that Kate had fallen apart when I left, and was being treated here when Gene Mason told her psychiatrist at the end of April about the diagnosis.
Gerald Pierce set me down on a bench, and walked around the back of the building, then returned and told me that Kate wanted to see me.
She looked up as we approached, and offered her hand. Her eyes looked clear and serene, and they helped me to maintain my own composure. When I got down on the ground beside her, Gerald took her mother by the hand, and they went off some distance from us, Alice Pierce touching my cheek as she walked away.
Kate's first words were, “You found me. I don't think you were supposed to.”
I could only keep saying “Katie, Katie, Katie,” over and over, burying my head in her lap. She stroked my head, and then I felt her tears falling on the back of my neck.
Waves of pain coursed through my soul. This is what I did to the woman I loved so much.
When I finally managed to look into her face again, she said softly, “I'm glad you're here,” and held my hand as if she'd crush it. She tried to manage a smile, but it crumbled half way through.
This was the destiny I'd been running away from, the confrontation with my own emotions as well as Kate's.
Saying that she wasn't an invalid, she suggested that we could walk a bit, but despite her words, she seemed to need support.
We walked a long while without being able to speak, and then she thanked me for the presents from Bangkok. We finally looked at one another, then embraced, and just held each other for an endless time of endless tears.
Everything I'd been holding back these past weeks was released in this silent and passionate ordeal. This was the awful explosion of heartbreak and despair I'd been trying to spare her - and probably myself too - by leaving without explanation. But now I realized it had been inevitable, and probably necessary, for both of us.
Paul returns to his house San Francisco to prepare it for sale, and to do a job for his law firm.
Paul tries unsuccessfully to make contact his ex fiancee Kate Pierce through various channels.
After spending the day packing up the house, he has dinner with Judy Collins, the stewardess on his flight from Paris.
Paul finally calls Kate's sister Molly, and learns that Kate had a nervous breakdown when he left.
He goes to see her, and finds out that his doctor told hers about Paul's diagnosis.
Saturday, May 22
In the afternoon I went to see Kate, and spoke to Dr. Owen before entering the room. He said that my visit yesterday had been traumatizing, but represented a great breakthrough, and was therefore very positive, as Kate had never been able to shed a single tear previously. Exactly the same for both of us.
After Kate, the first thing I noticed in her room was the pastel abstract I'd bought her when we became engaged. She did seem a lot better on the outside, but still, neither of us were able to say a word about what had happened, just hold each other in mutual sorrow.
Eventually, we started talking, and she told me that she'd received all my letters - and the Chanel package this very morning, asking me a few questions.
Louise came in then, and was quite shocked to see us holding hands, asking if she should come back later, but I took the moment to get up, and say that I'd be back tomorrow.
A bunch of the partners are taking me out to dinner and drinks tonight, eager to hear about my adventures - but also my plans, so it's as good a time as any to announce that I'd decided to make my departure permanent.
Paul goes into the law firm to work on his assignment, and visits Kate, whose doctor says that she's made a breakthrough. Nevertheless, both experience another session of catharsis.
At a dinner with some law partners, Paul announces that his departure from the firm will be permanent.
Sunday, May 23
Worked on the files for an hour or two at home, and spent some time filling the packing cartons that arrived yesterday. Tried to rationalize that I'm keeping so much stuff to make it easier to divest myself from everything all at once.
Spent the afternoon with Kate, and told her that I was leaving on Wednesday to test a race car with Pete. This seemed to bring out some genuine interest in her, and I revealed the news about the proposed partnership, but not that I was selling my house and share of the practice to finance it.
We spent most of the time talking about my travels, and did our best to act normal. When she seemed to be tiring, I left, and did some packing before having dinner with Dwight Sinclair. He'd encouraged me since way back when, and been my champion in politics for so long, I dreaded having to find some kind of explanation as to why I'd withdrawn my hat from the ring.
But while concerned about my actions, all his thoughts were centered around his daughter who is living in Las Vegas. A brilliant scholar and talented ballerina, Sara seems to have taken up with people Dwight believes to be unsavory.
Paul packs the things in his house.
Monday, May 24
Received a letter from Eileen in response to the one I sent her via Mike Allen. It was postmarked from Texas, but inside she gave me a post box address in Kansas, of all places, and said that she would try and keep the date we made for Pamplona - if not necessarily in Spain. She seems to be in some kind of therapy, but as in Berlin, her words don't really reveal much.
Then came a phone call from the very Mike Allen himself, saying for the favor of giving me access to Eileen, he wanted me to pick something up from her, and deliver it to someone in Zermatt - any danger, of course, to be absorbed by me.
Went into the office this morning to complete the estate and sign the papers selling my equity in the partnership. Bob Harrison turned to me and admitted that he hadn't expected to hold on to my services much longer, clearly referring to everyone's expectation that I'd run for Attorney General next year.
The firm held a belated going away party for me - low key, but with some very warm-hearted speeches, not least of all from me. Most of them are like my brothers and sisters.
Paul formally divests himself of his interest in the law firm.
Tuesday, May 25
Visited Kate in the morning, and she seemed much improved, saying that Dr. Owen indicated she could probably go home in a week or so, and if everything went well, maybe go back to the gallery in July.
We still hadn't said a word about the diagnosis, but as I'd anticipated, her eyes spoke of it constantly.
But strangely, even in her fragile state, I was starting to feel support from Kate's presence, in the way I always used to. I knew now that I wouldn't be able to walk the uncertain road ahead without her being at least spiritually within reach.
We had a picnic on the grass, and I promised to come in before departing for Italy tomorrow.
Whereas chaos had been turned into a semblance of normality with Kate, the opposite happened with Judy. She rang ahead of the date I'd forgotten to cancel, and asked me to come urgently to her apartment.
If I been a little put off by her last week, Judy's revelations completely justified my doubt about her. She told me she'd been couriering large sums of cash to Paris for the mob, and that her last consignment had disappeared before she delivered it to her contact there. She'd already been visited and asked for an explanation.
I could give her only scant advice, but wanted to help her. A mobster showed up while I was there, and as I suggested, she told him that she wanted to talk to the head man about what happened.
Unperturbed, he threatened us both and left. I told Judy she needed to go to the Justice Department, but she begged off on making that move yet, so I got her a room at a hotel for the night, then went home and finished packing for tomorrow, taping up a carton of things for Marcella to send to the Paris apartment, and setting aside the boxes to be moved to Granny's.
beaten in Trieste / a plan put into action)
Judy Collins tells Paul that she has lost the cash she was carrying for the Mafia, and needs his help. A mobster comes in when Paul is at Judy's apartment, and suspects him of taking the funds.
Paul books Judy into a hotel, and tells her to go to the Justice Department in the morning.