Monday, February 23, 2015


I keep wanting to e-mail Sandy Burton.  She was my favorite friend— not my closest, as she had barricades between you and what she wanted kept private about herself. But I really loved her, and as I am, to put it mildly, intrusive, I got in, and followed her everywhere she went on her remarkable journey, as she became the first woman bureau chief for Time Magazine, at the time it really was Time Magazine.  Before she left LA for her first bureau chief post, Boston, she interviewed Carlos Castenada, and he took her to his Power Spot in the mountains here, the place in the hills where, he told her, sorcerers go to renew their strength.  As a farewell present, she gave it to me.  I went there and had what could only be described as a mystical experience and so should not be described at all.
     Sandy covered our Academy Awards party for Time at the time of The Pretenders’ bestsellerdom, and I visited her almost every place she was assigned after that, all of them exotic, from Paris to Hong Kong.  In Paris I know she was in love with a married man, high in government I believe.  “The fifth time the croissants are stale because he didn’t come for breakfast," she told me, "you know his saying he’ll leave his wife is a lie.  Oh, but there’s something about that ‘head over heels.’
     She was murdered in Bali by her journalist boyfriend, though he was too old to be thought of with that word.  But he got away with it, probably with money.  It was Bali, after all.  He put on a suit and tie for her memorial in New York where he came, looking for work, as opposed to her incineration in Bali where he came in shorts and a dirty shirt.  He went to the front of the room Time had invited her colleagues to in Manhattan, got up and said “Things were so great between Sandy and I.”  And I thought, Not bad enough he killed her, he doesn’t know grammar.
     Probably he has made a comfortable life for himself with her money, which she likely left him.  When I suffer over whether or not there is an afterlife, I hope with what part of my soul is not into forgiveness that nothing good falls into his lap on this side of the divide at least.
    So it was painful to go through the Awards last night, because they weren’t that good, t still miss her, and probably there is no justice.