Stephen and I met several times at the University library (he wasn’t officially allowed inside the building any longer so I acted as his ‘sponsor’). We spent hours pouring over obscure texts – mathematics, physics, philosophy and religion. Stephen was a committed atheist, but claimed no snobbery when it came to exploring lines of thought.
I found our time together veered between intellectually fascinating and emotionally frustrating. Stephen would flip between being thoroughly engaged in conversation to being completely distant – almost as if he was no longer present. There were several occasions when I wasn’t even sure if he was aware of his surroundings – he would drift off into a trance like state, staring into space for hours and any attempt to interrupt his thoughts would be met with utter silence. Then, in a heartbeat, he would be back in the room, excitedly explaining a new thought or concept to me, like a child on Christmas day.
As I sit here now and look back on the events leading up to the accident, it is clear that Stephen’s erratic behaviour must have had an enormous effect on Conrad. Conrad the Adonis – the most perfectly beautiful, charming, witty man I have ever met. Stephen’s brilliance, however, cast a wide shadow and I know that Conrad felt trapped beneath it.
Ah, Vasi has arrived and is smiling. I suspect good news.