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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
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Arvid
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Arvid was so quiet, so sweet, so gentle, and so stubborn! We met at an after-bar party, I think. He was sharing a large flat with three other guys, but his room was literally a closet, just wide enough for a narrow cot and a small chest of drawers. As soon as we met, I all but moved in, and shortly afterward I moved in officially. My first Madison affair was now underway. I was used to co-op living arrangements, so the five of us lived in relative harmony, cooking meals, doing housework, sharing the costs. I think we ended up with four people so the closet could be a closet once again.

Arvid was a strangely silent, even remote, sort of person, most of the time. He hardly ever let his feelings show, and he was decidedly undemonstrative about affection. It was a German family from Amory, Wisconsin, despite the Scandinavian first name. His inability (or disinclination) to project much emotionally perhaps explained his shortcomings as a musician. He was a tenor, with a very clear, even voice, actually quite a beautiful voice. But basically he did not convey the music, even in lessons (for which I played, of course). When we would listen to recordings I often wondered what he was feeling and supposed he was completely cowed and felt that he could never do that sort of thing himself.

At some point he withdrew considerably from our relationship, especially the sexual relationship, and on that basis I concluded it was over between us. But when I took up with the next person, Arvid was devastated. It was as good a case of noncommunication as you might find, I'm sure. Don moved in, but Arvid did not move out, other than from my bed, I mean. It now seems to me that part was rather on the tacky side, but there's no way to roll up the carpet of the past, once it's unfurled.

Eventually he moved to San Francisco. I only recently (2004) learned that he's still among the living. Losing the thread of one's own past, not to mention the humanity of another person, seems to be one of those unavoidable quirks of a long life. One can regret it, but seldom change it.

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