An Open Letter to Art Garfunkel From His Ex-Girlfriend, Cecilia
Note: My friend Cecilia asked me to post this on her behalf.
I always called you Arthur. Remember? We dated for 11 wonderful months (at least I thought they were wonderful) starting in June of 1968. I had red hair and you called me “Tater” because I was about half your size and loved Tater Tots even though you referred to them as “frozen poison.”
I thought we were in love, until May 17th, 1969, when you sat down with me on that brown corduroy sofa you inherited from your cousin Pete and mumbled something about maybe it’d be healthy for us to take a break from each other for a while. I was blindsided, stunned. Then I’d see photos of you in the tabloids with model types. Years later, I saw photos of you dating Penny Marshall. That hurt even worse.
I never heard from you again, Arthur, and when I repeatedly tried getting in touch, my calls and letters were never returned. Ironically, Paul did pretty much the same thing to you the following year. Perhaps it was karma; one good spurn deserves another. And perhaps Paul had turned you against me. I think he had a grudge against me ever since he overheard me telling you that you were the more talented and better looking one of the duo, with much cooler hair.
As hurt and confused as I was, Arthur, I eventually moved on, if you can call non-stop sobbing and never again having had another romantic relationship “moving on.” Of course, every time one of the songs came on the radio, especially the ones where you were singing, or “Old Friends,” it twisted the knife in deeper.
Anyhow, you’re probably wondering why you’re hearing from me after all these years. For what it’s worth, it wasn’t my idea, Arthur. Maybe you’re find this hard to believe, but it was actually my fifth psychiatrist, Dr. Sanford Pinsker, who suggested that for closure I express my feelings to you in a letter. And maybe he’s right because I’ve kept them bottled up for so long. And maybe deep down inside, a part of you is happy to hear from your little Tater? Just a little bit?
I think maybe I wouldn’t have perceived how you treated me as so painful and devastating if you hadn’t told me that the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” even though Paul wrote it, was about our relationship and how you felt about me. Oh, really, Arthur? When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all. Over the years, I’ve cried oceans of tears. Oceans, Arthur. And I don’t recall your having extended a handkerchief, a tissue, or even a lousy Kleenex even once. And I was weary and feeling small, too.
When you’re down and out,
When you’re on the street,
When evening falls so hard,
I will comfort you.
Oh, will you, Arthur? Will you indeed? Because I was down and out. Due to my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, my court stenographer days were numbered and before long, I was on the street. No job. Cash gone. A junkie stole my coat. So, yes, Arthur, evening did indeed fall so hard. And what kind of “comfort” did I get from you? The sounds of silence is what I got. It was goodbye Arthur and hello darkness my old friend.
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will lay me down.
Ha! More like a stealth bomber over troubled water because you became invisible and left a lot of devastation in your path. And you were going to provide all that comfort “when friends just can’t be found”? Ironic, no? Because you were the friend that couldn’t be found, Arthur. You were the friend who couldn’t be found!
But that just wasn’t enough for you. Oh, no. You had to pour salt in the wound by including a song about me on the “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album. I’m sure you remember a little ditty called “Cecilia,” no? I sure do. Because every time I hear it, I experience you accusing me of:
- breaking your heart (Ha! That’s rich!)
- shaking your confidence daily (All I did was compliment you, remember?)
- cheating on you with another man as soon as you got up from the bed to wash your face (That happened just once and I apologized profusely, as did your brother Jerome)
And you’re “begging [me] please to come home”? Yeah, right.
So, the big unanswered question is ‘Why.’ That’s what’s been gnawing at me all these years, Arthur. You’re a sweet and gentle man. We seemed to be so in love. So, why would you treat me so coldly, denying me even closure? Was it Paul? Did he poison you against me? Could you ask him?
Ah, who am I kidding? Am I realistically expecting a response from you at this point? You’re what — 73 years old now? Shall we give it another try? I’m just a sprightly 68. Kidding. I know you’re married. And I hope you’ve found peace. And I do cherish the time we spent together and wish you well, you curly-haired bastard with the voice of an angel.