Letter To My Friend In Prison

Dear Paul,


My last email to you inviting you to a happy hour bounced. I thought you had left the firm as many friends and colleagues did in the past couple of years. I travel from time to time back to San Francisco and I have taken the habit of gathering old contacts for drinks to see everybody...I was hoping to see you.


My last gathering was in July in SOMA in a little French place with some outdoors tables. Many came and we had wine and cheese and conversations, sharing memories and stories. At some point, I thought about you, the bounced email, and asked, where is Paul?


For a minute, looking at them, I was convinced you were dead. The conversations stopped, the laughter dried out, the stories were left unfinished. You were not dead, you were in a car accident, someone died, and you found yourself in prison. It all happened in a flash, one of those flittering before and after moments.


I remembered one of our last discussions in a Dublin restaurant with the team celebrating with Guinness and an improbable Irish band. You showed me a photo of your blond family. Well travelled, happy, busy, school, homework, theatre, musicals, sports. Your girls are the same age as my kids.


I am thinking about your boys, how much they must miss you, maybe they are angry at you, their life gone hard and rugged. I think about you. All alone, just with you and walls and memories.


This must have been such a terrible shock, mind, body and soul. I am sure there have been and still are some dark times.


But knowing you a little I am sure, a few months in, you have revived your spark, anchored in all your memories, achievements, friendships. This trail of people you have loved, mentored, those who have heard your voice and read your books. I have always seen you as a great problem solver, at the core, solving customer problems how hard they might be. I can see you, today, in the walled present where your universe has shrunk and darkened, using your spark to push the walls.


A common friend told me you were teaching classes in your prison -seems like some thing you would do- I can picture you writing stories and journals and turning every stone in your mind.


Outside in the big free world, as I am sure you know, there is darkness and uncertainty following Brexit and other unexpected Trumpitudes...French elections are next and danger is looming. Strange times.


My thoughts are with you. Keep the spark.

January 2017.