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06.17.00 2:12 a.m.

"Neither believe nor reject anything because any other person's rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven."

 -Thomas Jefferson 

NOTE: This entry was created on 3/17/01 from a letter written to Sarah.
I am... fine, I suppose. I came out of the Katie vacation to Canada a better person, I believe. I aged in a very positive way.
Usually when I am away from my house for a little while, I go through a change and it feels wonderful and I want it to last forever. But it so rarely takes as it should.
After Summer Scholars 97, I felt wonderful. Then I realized that I was home and everything would have to change back. But now I am strong enough, internally, that this change will stay. It is like, on this trip, I went from old Xen (who, granted, was a swell fellow) to Xen, who is 20 and on the verge of a wonderful life. He is charming and caring. And his humor helps him through life. He is not a teenager, but he lovingly smiles upon those that he sees. It's quite nice, however subtle.
Kate's mom was asking me about Paganism, and I was answering the best I could. I am a pretty irreligious Pagan (which, I understand, is a very ironic statement), even though I am a rather respected person in the local Pagan community. Which doesn't mean very much, I just try to get people to interact. Anyway, this is digression. To the point, I answered and tried to explain that, although I do not agree or believe as certain groups do, I align myself with them because I feel a kinship and many of the beliefs and ideals echo deeply personal and internal truths I have always accepted.
Then her mother, who is a very dogmatic though somewhat understanding Catholic, started trying to witness to me and all but called Paganism a non-religion. And I just looked at her and smiled and said, to the affect, "The truths I believe were tested by my soul and I do not need you, a book, or the whole world to confirm them for me."
She was awed. I don't know how often I awe people, but evidently it made Kate's mother rather love me. I just left their company not five hours ago, and Kate already informed my that her mother misses me. How odd.
Kate and I are slightly at odds at the moment. Same old story, truly. I desire to be with Kate mind, soul, and BODY. Increasingly sex, and simply sexual situations, frightens her. I take this very personally, as she was very free with her affections at the beginning of this romance and now she practically weeps when I kiss her too deeply. I do not know what is going on in her head, and she will not let me in.
Understand, it is not that she will not "put out." I could hardly care for such things. It is that her waxing fear of physical intimacy is putting undo strain on our relationship. One day, I gave her manual pleasure. That night, she woke crying from a nightmare that I was doing that. This is unhealthy to the extreme. It is hurting me enormously that I cannot hold my darling girlfriend of two years and kiss her without her shrinking into a ball.
I am a physical person. I was given five (maybe more) senses for a reason, I'll be damned if I will not use them to learn every inch of that which I see beauty in.
We were together for two weeks... the most intimate she willingly became with me was kissing on a bench on the beach. I mean a series of pecks, much as prepubescents honor each other with; not the deep, knowing kisses true lovers yield to.
She has cropped her lovely hair very short. And to add to her seemingly self imposed sexlessness, she dressed like a boy. This is not to say that she simply wears men's clothing. Any lass can do this and the femininity glows through the masculine trappings, perhaps more so. She dresses as though she is a 12 year old boy. For the entire vacation, she wore the same pair of men's zipper pants. Not washed once. I truly, unconsciously began to regard her as an androgyne, leaning more toward the Y chromosome.
As I think you know me well enough, you know that I honor the feminine supreme. The gentle curves. The high lilting voices. The roseate lips. They affect me!
I am sad to say this, but on this excursion of a fortnight (how often can one work "fortnight" into a letter?) more than one lass caught my eye. Not in any romantic, or even sexual way. But for more aesthetic reasons. The long, floral, blonde hair. The smooth, yielding skin. The way one nameless stranger closes her eyelids when the wind blows, the way another smiles when I ask her how much a hat is. These small things reached into my core far more deeply then they should have. It was if all that was feminine was seducing me, and I had to reconcile my misspent passions on my eunuch lover.
To say they I became distressed is to say the ocean is a little damp. So, I suppose, Kate and I are not doing our best.
I told her that she needs to give me that which I truly desire: a fiercely beautiful, gentle spirited, emotionally complex, sexually desirable, mature, playful, humorous, brilliant, heretically skeptical, amazing woman. In short, the person Kate is. Unfortunately, I am getting a scared girl who fears every loving gesture.
At the root of it, I think I fall in love with things that remind me of who Kate truly is under to weight of all these grossly unneeded barriers. I used to remark, and occasionally still do, that most of the things that have ever brought me to someone I love I have found in her.

reading: Filth by Irvine Welsh
listening: Vrbana Bridge, Jill Sobule >wanting: The Katherine I feel in my mind.
interesting thought: I am a verb.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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