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passages

Roy Lichtenstein

ROY AND I HAD these little talks whenever I got shaky about dying. No one else I knew seemed so certain about death’s vacant aftermath, and seemed so certain without bravado or dread. He had no fear of death, he said. You were just gone and out. As for any aftermath, Roy was going to leave his soul to science.

So much for what I’d already known. In this arena (and perhaps this was the only one), there were no consolations forthcoming from Roy. Why did I bother to ask? Just to hear him repeat how unfearful he was, I suppose. For the tonic effect it might have on me.

Hemingway said that one of the sad things about growing old was living on after your generation had died off. I didn’t understand that, reading it when I was still a kid. I thought you just made new friends when the old ones vanished. Roy was my older friend who never seemed older and who, in the organizing of his life, had,

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