Love, You Done Me Wrong by Dotty LeMieux

It’s a tragedy to leave things unsaid, but it hurts so much more when you have to reach for that connection beyond the grave. Here, Dotty LeMieux opens the windows to her memories of the Rolling Stone journalist.

Photo Courtesy Joshua Newton on Unsplash

Love, You Done Me Wrong

by Dotty LeMieux

He had this lanky Texas stance, a big mouth with a big smile, and attired as he usually was, in boots, jeans and some goofy ’40s shirt, faintly squiffed and glaring at you through those thick Coke-bottle glasses, he was a caricaturist’s delight: all eyes, mouth, angles, sweetness and ferocious intelligence.
— Dave Hickey, Grover Lewis, an Appreciation, L.A. Times, 1995

Smart Dave Hickey, to hold his tongue until after you were gone. Not me.

Me, when you asked for that blurb for Playboy (of all things!), for a tribute to your blazing journalism, when your words still streaked like shooting stars against the Western night, me, I wrote about those Coke-bottle glasses. That they disguised your genius. That they filtered the radiance of your brilliance that would otherwise blind. That I loved those Coke-bottle glasses and the gaze they hid, a two way mirror, protecting the seeing and the seen.

I only said “Coke-bottle glasses” to roast you, not as venison, but as the honored guest, as a lover highlights flaws in a partner, points them out to party goers, between passed trays of canapes and cocktails, to make others who also love you laugh, and laughing, to love you even more.

This did not make you love me even more. Instead, a note from your wife saying “Coke-bottle glasses” was a stab to your soul, a cruelty beyond redemption.

Stupid, I failed to read between the lines of your face, the sadness masked by thick lenses, love too fragile for scrutiny. Only now I see your wounds (not all of my making, I want to be very clear on that!). I understand your ignoring notes, pleas, months of midnight phone calls to your desert heart. I get it — you always hurt the one you love, the one who should know you better — there I go blaming you again. But blame must always be shared, savored by two.

But why did you have to go and die without forgiving? Had I not proved my love (not the carnal kind, never that, only the sympathy between two who loved words, the use of words, who knew the hurt of words), by traveling to outback Utah in grinding heat, that summer before the fateful Coke-bottle glasses incident, where you were gentle and generous, and your wife welcoming (long-suffering? Putting up with?). Was that not enough?

Oh, how I wish I had never met you and your bastard glasses.

Toast was a weekly email newsletter that ran from July 2018 to March 2019. All of the pieces from Toast’s run and more can be read in Solo Novo 5/6.

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