Mike shares his secret with Nancy

Nancy had her own way of saying  —  ‘I was speechless’ — when people told her things that she just wasn’t quite prepared to hear.

It seems as if my mind takes notes as it experiences certain things.  Instead of reacting in the moment, I am transfixed by what I see and hear, and remain silent.

I remember feeling things and putting things together that I never expressed.

Sometimes speaking is like tying a string to a balloon, instead of just watching the balloon take its own path in the sky.

Nancy couldn’t find string to attach to the balloon that was released when Mike told her the ‘secret’ of his birth.

Mike chose a moment in time and a place on earth to tell me something about which, I think, his whole life revolved.

On a sunny day in New York City, on a crowded commercial street, West Eighth St., where Electric Lady Studios had not even been planned yet, inside a fast food franchise called ‘Orange Julius,’ which specialized in orange-blended drinks, under florescent lighting, at a formica table, Mike told me about his birth.

‘Einstein read comic books,’ Mike started out saying.

As if to explain that a person’s intelligence was not always immediately apparent.  I think Mike might have felt underestimated or undertaught as a child.  And he had a specific issue with the connection of oxygen to the brains of intelligent babies.

He said, if I ever had a baby, he would want me to spend nine months in a plastic oxygen apparatus that fed pure oxygen to the fetus.

This never became necessary.

Mike had a small scar on his neck, which I was very familiar with, but never asked about, because it seemed like one of those childhood things, like falling off a bike.

We were at an Orange Julius store on West Eighth St. in the middle of the day.

And Mike told me he was a forceps baby.

And he cried.

It meant so much to him.

It was like seeing a person’s soul in a five and dime store.

I guess the revelation didn’t have the same value for Nancy that it had for Mike!  But being a “forceps baby” was a chip on Mike’s shoulder, apparently.  And in society at large, Mike’s insecurity at the time was mirrored in the controversy surrounding the practice.

He told her other things that could even be said to have had negative value for Nancy.

Mike would often give me things that were totally out of line.

Tapes of conversations he was having at home, with his new girl.  Things I shouldn’t hear.  But what he obviously wanted to have me hear.

Even though he wasn’t physically alone — like I was — he WAS alone.

But just like all of us, he had chosen his course.

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