Letters From Andy: 5


I'm really sorry it's been so long since my last letter. I feel like I used to write to you all the time. Back when I was at CMU, I think I wrote a letter to you every weekend, because it was the only way to process the constant train of formative moments that were being forced upon me. Now I'm lucky to write you twice a year. I'm just constantly so busy with everything. Busy with Clair, busy with the baby, with teaching, with my thesis. It's just so much of everything all of the time, and I have no space to clear my head. It feels really awful to say, but planning the funeral has given me the first chance to gather my thoughts in forever.

I would really appreciate it if you could make it. I know you're helping Cynthia with her own family stuff in Japan, and I know that travel to the U.S. is a little iffy at the moment, but it would mean the world to me. Obviously if you can't you can't, but it's been so long. I just want an excuse to see you again.

Your parents called and told me they're both coming. I think they're just as shocked to have lost two of their friends. And so suddenly, too. The coroner told me that my mom and dad were holding hands in the crosswalk when they got hit, so at least they died together. Or maybe that's just something he tells the bereaved so they don't think too hard about what a car does to a person.

To be honest, I'm not as fucked up as I thought I would be. Given everything that's been going on in the years since I published my post-grad research, you'd think I would be hanging by a thread right now. But it's become easier to take these things in stride, especially with Clair. It's like I have the mental strength of a dozen people when she's with me. I could plan funerals for another ten parents before my wits would start to fry.

You hear that the FDA just approved the telomere-preserving drug? I think the brand name is JuVen. Ironically, the last conversation I had with them was about that. My dad was completely against it, he swore he would never take any anti-aging treatments, but my mom was so in favor. She was always the more progressive of the two. Wouldn't have mattered though, even JuVen can't stop a drunk driver.

I think this pause in my life has been necessary. I've been doing research and taking classes at a frantic speed for — God, I guess since I published that paper with Penco in grad school. So ten years. I don't think I've given myself a moment to rest in a decade. I used to be obsessed with the past, and I always used my music to transport myself back in time. I was listening to the radio last week, and they were playing something off of Faces. Did I ever put you on that album? I was bumping a lot of Mac Miller my freshman and sophomore year. It was jarring, I completely forgot how often I used to lean on my nostalgia music. I think ever since my first paper failed to pan out the way I hoped, I've been trying to make some big breakthrough. It gave me no time to think about the past, and I instead became perpetually anxious about the future. I'm not sure which is worse, to be honest.

After the funeral, I'm going to leave Pittsburgh. Without my parents, there's really nothing tying me to this city anymore. I had been holding off on that job offer from Stanford, but I think that me and Clair are ready to make the move now. It's probably better that we do it before little Roy gets too old, anyways.

I hope things are going well for you. We have to properly catch up sooner or later.