Portrait of Jake and Esther Schwartz (details), 1971
Don’t grieve for what doesn’t come. Some things that don’t happen keep disasters from happening. - Rumi
Bill Jensen Autumn of 1972
I could not quite understand why I got an invitation to Barbara Schwartz's and Bill Jensen's wedding celebration held in the vast loft on Broome Street shared by Aladar and Larry DeCarlo. All I now remember is feeling foolish for having accepted and wondering all the way downtown why I was going.
It was already crowded when I arrived. Aladar greeted me, and Larry as always gave me a look of condescending complicity. Jake Schwartz, Barbara's father was close by, and I could see in his eyes the same question. "Why is Richard here?" We exchanged a few words about the portrait I had done of him and Barbara's mother.
I realize that out of some obliging pretense of magnanimity woven into the gleeful parade of one up-man ship, Barbara had invited the losing candidate to pay court to her investiture. I was not sad about a romance both parties were happy to end, but I didn't like being somewhere I wasn't wanted.
So I was very tense when all of a sudden I was face to face with Bill Jensen. A number of conflicting thoughts scrambled themselves as I tried to say something that I regretted immediately. Out of my mouth came the confused expression of a truth: "Congratulations, Bill. Better you than me!" You can imagine his smile dropping from his face. But what was worse than the offense of my bungled wish forever making us enemies was seeing a wave of instant recognition cross his face. I brought up unwittingly something that he could not acknowledge. My clumsiness caused him pain. I regretted that. We backed off from each other, and waves of people separated us immediately. Thank God!