Sunday, October 20, 2013

Obit: Bryant Wollman (1947-2008)

I want to say that I had a queer connection to Bryant, but that is hardly witty. But our relationship was odd, to say the least.

A talk with an old beloved classmate recently revealed that Bryant, as a kid, had had a fantasy of raping me. Now that is simultaneously odd and not odd at all. He tried: upstairs from his maverick father's medical office in Coney Island and in a fancy hotel room procured by his worried dad. We were very young. We were very virginal. He did not succeed, but I guess we were sequestered long enough to please his dad, who drove us home in the wee hours of the morning. (Actually we had been fighting about having/not having sex.)

Bryant was very sad during the time I knew him. His mother had died when he had been very young; his father remarried to attain help for raising the children, or perhaps out of love. Bryant disliked his stepmother and perpetually mourned for his own mother. (When he went off to college, he gave me a beautiful picture of her, presumably for safe-keeping,) Meanwhile. during Bryant's pre-college days. his father had taken a mistress.

Now this is a little odd because his father was not only a physician on Mermaid
Avenue but also a marriage counselor, a hypnotist, and a counselor for folks who were going to have transgender operations. Besides Bryant, the good doctor was one of the saddest people I have ever met. No matter: the four of us double dated, and I enjoyed the experience of being taken to fancy expensive places.

It all fell apart when we four were sitting in a theater in wonderful box seats, and Bryant started (and continued) knitting.  None of us knew what to do, but his father soon sent him off to BU, where he was to study pre-med. I went on to meet men who were certain of their sexuality, and Bryant dropped out of school and disappeared.

Somewhere along the passageway of time, I heard that Bryant had become a mailman in Half Moon Bay, California, where it seems he found a comfortable niche if not contentment.

Unfortunately he died from heart trouble. His heart had been broken so many times - by me too - that that was a logical course of death for him. Today I  am thinking that I love him - or his memory. I certainly loved the times we all spent together.

So.... Bryant, I am a little late to say my final goodbyes to you and your dad.  I hope you had a good enough life. I hope you brought others the happiness you often brought me. I really think you did.

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