Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Abortion

Dear Oliver,

It's been many years since we've talked yet I sense your presence every day. Your absence has been keenly felt as I ramble through life disconnected. You once told me you were "really just a big, fat nothing". I'll never forget that moment. It was like I was punched in the stomach and I felt a complete fool. All I know is I don't feel like being funny anymore. The joy is gone.

I still believe in us as an act - or at least what could have been. It's a fracture in my heart time cannot mend, an eternal woe. I stumble along in small clubs, drifting in the echoes of my dreams. You insisted we were deluding ourselves, that everyone thinks they have a great act and will be stars but the odds say differently. You told me you didn't see yourself as anything special. I don't know. Maybe apart neither of us is anything special. I can certainly say the magic I once felt is painfully gone.

I admit I had stars in my eyes. I too was scared. I thought our names would live forever. It seems so real! Looking back, perhaps I really was playing the fool but I still don't want to accept that. You say the pathetic mediocrity of my solo career proves we did the right thing by breaking up the act before we made fools of ourselves before all the world. But an even bigger fear has begun to consume me from the bottom of the pit of my stomach.

What if, in someplace where all truth is known, what truly makes us fools is the fact we didn't try? What if angels are weeping at the loss of what would have been greatness for the ages? Maybe that's the reason we walk around overwhelmed with a feeling of failure. Maybe the failure was in  aborting the act, not because we believed in the act. I feel we have condemned ourselves to the very fate we were trying to avoid!

You keep popping into my head on occasion when I think a funny thought I know you'd love. I want to share it but you're not there. And no one else speaks our language. So the thought dies, unheard and un-laughed. What would people think if they knew of this loss? My punctured soul drips in sorrow, draining all the funny out of me. Nothing terrifies me more.

I have to live in the supposed world that you were right and the act was wrong. What else can I tell myself? If only I could stop these questions from swirling around in my head! Sometimes I suppress funny thoughts to keep from believing I have talent, to show my life has not been a waste. I live my life now as seen through the eyes of others. My own eyes can't bear to face we've committed a crime against humanity.

I've also found I can't hold a relationship anymore. I keep wanting to tell her I'm not worth her time, I'm only a fraud. I'm so desperate to prove aborting the act was an act of integrity that it has pervaded my entire life. I do not see a way out of this spiral. An ignorant fool told me to "just find someone else for the show" but it doesn't work with someone else! "Oh, so he's like the greatest comedian of all time? He's the only good one? Then how come he didn't become a star on his own?" I am truly in hell and cannot stop thinking about what once was.

I'm sorry, Oliver, but I will always know your name and always know your funny. Maybe your funny and my funny don't mean much apart. You said if we were really talented and deserved the success we dreamed of then we'd have successful solo acts that would prove that and we could rejoin. But it's not who we are apart that matters, but who we are together. What I do know is this weight in my heart is bringing me down. I just want to quit and hide for the rest of my life. I don't want anyone to know I can be funny. I can't stop believing that the only reason we failed is because we didn't try. Maybe in a way that really does make us the frauds we feared to be.

Your friend,

Stan Laurel

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