Found him

After nearly two years out there searching, Andy sent us the following text (posted just as he sent it):

(Andy's ntes)

Paul was peacefl quiet when I fnd him.


Long talks aobut his time since. Moreonghttht later.

Had job Washing dishes. Long way aawy

Little room of his onw, looked like the one he
used to have back above the old clinic.

Ecept filld with books. Walls of oboks.

He said he'd bn deprstt for so long.

Guilty. Sometimes he'd remember his family

but he wouldn't be able to remember his life with us.

Sometimes he's the tohsr way aroudn.

Put hsi self on hold doing dishes all day.
Reading every other waking moemnt. just anyting.

I loookd at books. Gardining and psychogly
encyclopedia and children's stories. anything.

Told he'd been gulty. Found some kindd of peace
after finding a book I don't know hwat.

Said he ddn't know hwere he went that day
of the office attack. That's all he'd say.


I finally asked him about fi he had bee n kidntppat.
He said he haddn't been kdinapped, but he looked at me funny.

I said Chelsea, a girl has said he had been kidnappedd.

He sat there a long time, smiling,
but not quite there or something.

After I called hisname reall soft he slowly

turnd and lookd at me and focused on me

like a light went on again.

He said, a girl said I was kidnapped?
How would she know about any thing like that?
And he smiled, but it was kind of almost a scared smile


he called me by my name for the first time.

I'm going home next week.

NOw it was my turng toa sit ther dmubounded.f

I thought he meant back with me to the city, but I din't realy
think that's what he was asying. I said, Paul,
the cetner is gone, there's not commmunity anymore.
I knew that wasn't wht he meant as aI said it.

He was smiling like a warm fire on a cold night.
I'm going hom.e I found my family. I rememberd
enough to be able to contact thme. I know hwo I am.

And he told mehis real name. And where he was from.

I started shaking like I'd never done when driking.

I didn't cry or nhything. I just felt like it was
the end of my life.

I told him that was good, I was hoapp for yim.

He said they were talking about doctors for him.

To help him remmeber .

How is your family, i asked him, ammslt called him paul.

Was your dad okay?


The way I said it, he couldn't miss it.

I was worried.
He just lookd at me with is mouth open a moment.

Thne he said,yeah, his dad is fine, everybody's fine.
He talked about talking with his mo m and nis sister
on the phone and I listened quietly but inside I felt
like I would never be able to breathe ever again.

WHen he stooppd, and looked at me, I saw Paul in there.
His eyes,his smile, that happiness playing wiht hkids.

Paul, I acutlaly sayid paul and he smiled likd my old friend.

They must hav missd you, I said. Been a long, lon g time.

He talked aobut how excided they all were to be
getting back together, searched through a desk
and showed me his plane ticket, smiling.

He sat back down, contented like I remembere dhim.

Doe s anyone know waht happed to you, I asked him.

Was it the car accident?


Anggain I coldulnd' breathe.

And it looked like he couldn't breathe.

He shook shihead and looked like little
gears where going ing behindhis eyess.
inside his head
and he said
three times

yes,he finally sed, there had been a car crash.

we both just sat there.

and adsstat there a while.


how did you i never told said
back then didn't remember know
he said something like that

he said, did I tlel you about that?
I didn't think I
I didn't remember about aht acident

I dint' remmebr until later and never saw you again.
he said as a fact like he knew it without a doubt

Smiling at me. Friendly.
But with a kind of smoke, fire, I never'd sen in Pual.
Like I better answer the qustion
Whatever the wustion wwas.

My old street instincts kicked in
I jus tsat there playing dumb, smilng
an he asked whow did you know about our car wreck?

THe girl I said. The one that got yoyur diary.

I as trying to be real careful. I din't know
what ws real. How good Pauls' mind was.
Juststarting to gget bk togther wth his familyt.
I din't want ot mess anything up forn anyon.

He shook his head slowly, back, forth,
I didnt' ever keep a diary.
He smiled and gave his head a quick shake.

It wasn't written down, I said. It was a recordgn.

His smile just stayed there
his face didn't change
nothing changed
because he just quito moving.


He folded his hands wttohout looking wawy form me
thenhe looked down at the floowr onw wayand snoather
and he looked up at me andsaid

I had this dream. A nightmare.
It wasn't until I really began to remember
who I am and ptting things together whenI read books
that I knw I had had had had
like tha t he stopped
problems,he said
knowing what's real and waht's not.
For a long time I thought you and the community
were dead. I thought lter I had dreamed you up too
and I wentmad an had some long nightmare.
But i'ss okay and Im'mgoing home. now. My family.
I'm not insane.

He smiled nice. He meant it.

I thought the whole universe was going toget
blownup and it was all my fault.
That's pretty bad off, isn't it.
There's a counseleor has helped me a lot.

I just took a big breath and said,

You stopped thw war.
They stopped the solar flare, and the war, and
the community was safe. Everybody wassafe. Everybody.

I remmeberd how many times I had heard the Tellings

You saved everybody.

He looked so pale.

No. he said. It's not real. What are you talking about?

And that's when Ittold him. I rattled of fthe telling
almost like I was that crazy girl oging on and on
like it was happening to me and Paul staring at me
like I awas one of the bird people come to eharth.

When I was done he smiled.
It was very funny as a smile because
it wasn't the right time to smile.
Or way to smile.
Even if it was his friendly smiling smile.
He said.
Real quietly.
I'm glad.

Andhe took a breath and said

Everybody's safe.

to himself.

like I wasn't there.


We sat a little bit, him just kinda staring.
adnd I cleared my througat
and he looked at me and asiad
he had to get packing for his trip

It was like nice to see you andy
but I gootta go.
So I said, Yeah, I gotta go.
And he said real sincerely how much
he was glad I had come by.
Meant a lot to him that I'd cared so much to look him up.

Like that.

And I lweft his palace and I headed for the nearst bar.
And I'm txting this inot my celfphong an my thubbs hrut.

And I don't know what I'll do now.
But I thinkg I 've had all the booze I want to have
anyomre now. This stuff's not saf.

Aftr I sobr up, gt clend up, I"m
gonna see if I can find my kid.