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Brucie

Suddenly everything is relative. I was awakened this morning – in my own bed, not in my friend Bruce’s bed in Vancouver where I’ve been sleeping for two weeks while he’s in Italy – by Lani, who asked if I’d heard about Bruce. I shot up. Last night, she told me, he had a cerebral hemorrhage.

Many emails today. His sister Jane is leaving for Italy Thursday with her husband Charles and Marsha from the Arts Club Theatre, where Bruce worked. Jane wrote that her ticket is open-ended, she’ll stay as long as is needed to get Bruce home. The miracle is that he was with an Italian friend, Giuliano. Usually, during his very long sojourns in Italy, he’s alone, staying in some airbnb flat in a small town in the middle of nowhere, off every morning to visit another Renaissance masterpiece or two. But this week, he was staying with Giuliano who heard noise, found him, and got him to the hospital. Blessings. Giuliano sent Jane a photo – our Bruce in hospital, tubes everywhere, but smiling. Prayers.

We were together in Nice last month. I now feel guilty because I was so anxious to get to London, I cut our time together short. But nothing to be done now. Here we are on the Promenade des Anglais:

Two loners, recently we’ve been to Barcelona and Madrid, to the Amalfi Coast and Naples, Florence, Rome, and Cinque Terre together – wonderful times. All thoughts with you, beloved friend. All that matters is health, dear ones. Take care of yourselves.

Re my homecoming journey, all is well, more than well. I got to the Vancouver airport so early that with a bit of money, I was able to change my flight to an earlier one. I watched two fantastic movies I’d wanted very much to see, “I am not your negro,” James Baldwin dealing with race in America, slow-moving but extremely powerful, and the new Ken Loach film “I, Daniel Blake,” about one decent man caught in the humiliating, infuriating, Kafka-esque British social services, an unforgettable film I hope you all see. It’s a bit heavy-handed but beautifully done. Bravo to both magnificent films.

I was glad to be watching them because I was in the centre row of 3 seats next to an embattled mother with two young children. She was well-organized, hard-working, doing her best. Her children were horrendously out of control, perhaps clinically so – could they both have had ADD or autism or worse? Both relentless, noisy, screaming, demanding; the boy of about 3 sitting next to me hit me several times until I made clear that was to stop, the little girl, maybe 18 months, writhing, shrieking – it was painful. How I felt for that woman. So the films were a blessing.

Home. My house bed garden. The city in bloom, though it’s not warm yet, at least at night. But green green green. U of T started this afternoon, a fabulous class, tomorrow Ryerson, Thursday my home group. Settling back into routine. Only one problem – the overhanging shadow of my friend in Italy and his recovery. May he soon be in his OWN bed, which I made up for him before I left. Come home, Brucie. We miss you. We love you.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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