Nobody expected my best friend Lindy’s crack-up to last her lifetime, plucked and placed behind double locked doors in various California mental hospitals. Nothing I do changes what happened to her. Her six other sisters didn’t wind up that way. Lindy never learned to function, outside of grabbing a dinner tray, going through a meal line, and returning for dessert.
“What happened?” Her parents asked me, as if I should know why Lindy snapped. We attended the same schools in the same town, rode parallel tracks. Simon and Garfunkel sang about “The Sound of Silence.” We spent countless nights together as pre-teenagers, smoking cigarettes, watching Sausalito streetlights sparkle across Richardson Bay from Tiburon Blvd. “Hello Darkness, my old friend.” Lindy included me in her family when I really needed to belong.
Who’s crazy? Lindy’s breakdown coincided with my father’s suicide. I thought I was nuts. What does keeping family secrets have to do with loyalty? If situations were reversed, I would not want Lindy to write my life off. She isn’t dead, yet. I come back to her because I love her.
Writing about our friendship included my family’s saga since everything happened at the same time. I kept quiet, afraid that I’d ruin my family reputations. I respect their memories, but it’s time to drop ghosts.