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12.30.00 2:25 a.m.

"Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement."


Created on 3/20/01 from a letter written to Kate.
A few nights ago, I went with Zack to Cold Spring. There was no real purpose for the excursion. Wisdom was the reason I gave.
First we went to the old church. It was far too cold to fathom actually staying there for any period of time, so we summarily left. We decided that wisdom could best be gleaned by obtaining fortune cookies. There is a Chinese food place right on Main Street. So we ate a bit of Chinese food and got four cookies. Three of them were very common, thus rather useless for our purposes. The last contained the phrase "The mouse only looks down on the cat when it has a means of escape in sight." Wise.
Around this time, we began playing a game wherein you name a movie and the other person must come up with a movie that begins with the last letter of their movie. Many films end with "E" and "N." This too may be wisdom, or perhaps little more than observation.
After this, we returned to Zack's home (it was getting late, he said, despite only being 9) and talked for a little bit. Then he decided that renting movies was an adventure. I begged to differ, but he convinced me we would try to capture others and bring them home with us. That sounded a trifle adventurous...
So Zack and I went to Blockbuster to rent movies and possibly abduct patrons. We ended up not abducting anyone (which was just as well, my back seat is completely crowded with Asian Literature) but we rented a horror movie called Cronos that won the Cannes Film Festival and a movie called Die, Monster, Die! (which was rented on title alone, we had no idea what it was about). We chose to want the latter film first, hoping for gobs of cheesiness. This was not delivered. There was no monster at all, just radiation making people crazy. Worse, it was a quality film starring Boris Karloff, who was a horror movie staple in the early 1900 films (he was the original Frankenstein's monster and Wolfman). Not worth the gift certificate he used to get it. Cronos was interesting, a techno retelling of the vampire legend. One of the stars of the film played One in The City of Lost Children. It was not a great film, however. We figured it only won the Cannes Film Festival because several of the characters spoke different languages (English among them). We watched it dubbed and it was weird to see some characters mouthing English and others not (even while conversing with one another). Ah, but you don't really want to hear my reviews of movies, now do you?
The next night, I went to Kendall's to hang out. Jesse was already there and mentioned her thirty-year-old boyfriend would be coming too. When he arrived, he was dirty, his shirt was torn, and he reeked of gasoline. I nodded in comprehension and shook his hand. He seemed pleasant, not my type of guy though.
Kendall and I exchanged gifts. I got her a Todd McFarlane figured, the Crone from Sleepy Hollow. It was kind of a last minute gift, I didn't really know what to get her. However, the gift she had for me, she had been holding for a year. It was this rag doll dressed up as a Goth. I adore the gift, I named him Mr. Gothiecans.
So after a bit, Jesse said she was hungry and the rest of us acquiesced. I wasn't hungry, but I would certainly go along to a diner or the like. They decided that, since they were on the way toward Fishkill (Friendly's was on the menu) they would stop off at Adam's apartment. He had company, so we piled out of the car to discuss a change in the plans. It turned out that I went to high school for a few years with the lad who was visiting Adam. His name is Greg. We had never been close, but I certainly knew who he was. In addition, there were two women who turned out to be Greg's sister and mother from Sweden. I'm still not sure if Greg is Swedish, I don't think so. I didn't know quite how to ask. Tomorrow (as of the time of this discussion) his relatives were leaving, so they wanted some real American food. Not a diner, evidently. I suppose they have them in abundance in Sweden. So we decided to go a fancy restaurant called Riverview. Very small, very romantic. Not distinctly American food. I had the best fried calamari and Chinese mayonnaise I have ever had in my life. It was funny, out of our party of eight, the four people nicely dressed (Kendall, the sister, the mother, and myself) sat on one side of the table and the sloppily or casually people sat on the other side.
Okay, maybe not that funny. The relatives ordered very French and Italian food, which seemed to defeat the purpose to me but I wasn't about to remind them. I was having a wonderful conversation with Kendall about various Broadway plays and reviews currently being put on, as I dipped my calamari and slowly sipped from my glass. Our eyes locked and I asked when we got so old. She felt the same way, but had no idea when.
It seemed like a week ago I was in high school. Just a few days ago, I slept in Kate's dorm for the first time. But I distinctly feel adult now. It's pushing into me, slowly altering me. I have yet to fully integrate this into my core, but it is melting toward it.
After the meal, we wandered around a bit, walking from the riverfront (which we abandoned quickly owing to boredom and cold) to a bar that was featuring live music (here we left the relatives, who evidently would rather hear bad jazz than enjoy the company of twenty year olds).
After a spell, we came upon Jesse's boyfriend's apartment (possibly hers as well. Her cat Luna was there. I didn't wish to probe). It was decorated in Star Wars memorabilia and naked figurines. However, Kendall and I took to playing with the two cats Smokey and Luna and their three-legged dog fell in love with me. It seemed so terribly sad, I think I loved him in return.
Finally, we decided to simply go back to Kendall's home, the purpose of which was to watch movies (I offered the pickings from the night before to the group, they declined them). We ended up watching Adam and Greg play various fighting games. This bored me, so I called Conor up and told him to come down.
As soon as I hung up, I decided that I might as well just drive up and pick him up. Odd thing was, when I got there, his door was wide open and no one was inside. I slowly went down Main Street, but I didn't see him. A few minutes after I came back, he appeared. Mysterious boy, he is.
Kendall, he and I ended up talking in depth about various things. It felt so good to have such intelligent conversation (with people other than Sarah and Kate, I mean. No insult to my violet love intended.)
At one point, I was playing with my Moki Balls and I ended up showing them to the assembled people. All of them felt the energy. I plied Adam for a scientific explanations, but he was baffled. I shall have to take them to the geology department at college. I'm sure I have the degree of personality to ask them to examine my balls. (Sorry, that was a low joke, I should aspire for better but it could not be resisted).
Ah, but what touched me beyond belief was that Kendall was asking Conor for his e-mail address (no, that isn't the touching part) and he stated that he rarely uses e-mail, and uses IM even less. In fact, he stated, in the past eight month he has only spoken to one person over AIM, but that it was the most amazing and incredibly boy he had ever met. I looked at him and realized he was speaking of me. The fact that someone I find so amazing and incredible finds me just as amazing and incredible floored me. It certainly empowered the love I feel for him. Have you ever found someone so stunning as a person only to find out they think just as much of you?
The three of us continued to talk well into the night, even when interrupted by Adam and Greg's return (they left for a while to check on the relatives.) It was one of the better nights I had in a while (since the last time I saw Kate, actually). I was very thankful for it.
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."

reading: the threads of Fate
listening: my computer purr
wanting: To be amazing to Kate as she is to me
interesting thought: My inner fire hasn't gone out yet.

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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