Monday, February 04, 2013


     Ar what turned out to be almost the last day of his life, Happy, my Yorkshire Terrier, perhaps the cleverest dog in the history of his breed-- (he had been on Oprah and would have lived forever, but she didn't show the book) -- went with me to visit Oscar Wilde. 
We had a sandwich sitting on his gravestone at Pere LaChaise. Everything in Paris was closed that day.  It was some kind of national celebration, I'm not sure which one.  Maybe July 14th, as big as it gets in Paris.  There was nothing open but the cemetery.
      So we had lunch with Oscar Wilde. That night, around the corner from my hotel, a little boy about two + was playing in the street and Happy played with him.  A very pretty, dark woman came and put a glass of champagne on my table, and said: "That is for being so kind to my son, Dorian."
    "Dorian?" said I.
    "Yes," she said. "After Dorian Gray."
     Well, those who know me, who are apparently not a multitude judging from the silence on my phone, know that I do not believe in coincidence.  All these things seem to me orchestrated, little gifts sent by the universe to connect us.  So I invited them to come visit me the next day at my hotel, the Prince de Gaulles.  Happy played with the little boy, chasing him and being chased around the hotel room, up and down the corridors.  And he was young again, a puppy, the lively little boy he'd been when he first came to live with us.  
     And after they were gone,  I went out with him to dinner, and he collapsed, stiff-legged, on the sidewalk.  I called the vet, the one we had in Paris, and he said it was a heart attack, and I should bring him in the next morning and they'd put him to sleep.  
     I called Robert and we wept together on the phone.  Then I lay Happy down on the bed beside me, and petted him, and asked him to help me.   I didn't want to put him to sleep. About four in the morning I turned on the light, and he was gone. 
     The next day I took him in his little travel bag, a purse I carried that I smuggled him in, to museums, the occasional movie, whole countries before they checked and x-rayed.  He was cremated, and I took his ashes and sprinkled a little of him on the great artists that lay in Pere La Chaise, a little but not a lot on Gertrude Stein, some on Heloise and Abelard, and put his collar on Jim Morrison's headstone.
     Strangely, I have received a card today from Dominique, the mother of Dorian, who was, in Robert's words, "the little boy who killed Happy."  Dorian has grown now, and has his own band.  I heard a little of what he played the last time I was in Paris, and it sounded really dreadful, but then I am older, and what they do now is foreign not only to my ears but all my sensibilities. So maybe he is gifted, I can't really say.
     But he has grown up looking really dark, his eyes in the photo on the card, shifting even in a still.  I hope he will be all right.  I hope Happy is.  
     And meanwhile, as I struggle with what I hope will be my return to my greatest love in the Arts, theatre, I found this quote, the same day I got the postcard from Dorian's mom.  A sign? 

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being. 
    Oscar Wilde