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01.03.01 9:09 p.m.

"To me coming from you, friend is a four letter word."


NOTE: This entry was created on 3/17/01 from a letter written to Heather, Conor, and Sarah.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Not quite sure why I am quoting a carpe diem poet, but I am.
I have just gotten off the phone with Kate. Yes, I did not see her tonight. Her plane got detained yet again, she only got in at 12:30 AM.
I shall see her tomorrow before I go to work (then, I am going to lend Kate the mother-of-pearl angel pendant she gave me on our first Valentine's Day together so she has something of mine to protect and watch over her.)
I have absolutely no intention of actually going to work at the moment, you understand, though I may end up doing so when she decides she needs to dismiss my company for emotion or practicality (she leaves tomorrow evening, she has much to do). I need to see her and that was the least pressuring way to do so (the library is about ten minutes from her house, practically on the way).
Kate and I spoke of many things. Well, I spoke of many things; she spoke of few (I am the one who has questions for she who does not always give answers).
She told me over the phone (sobbing, of course, because my honesty pushes every emotional button she has), that she wants me to be her friend and I am not (I introduced this topic, she seized it). I am her ex-boyfriend when I discuss wanting to be with her and defining relationships (I shouldn't, I know, but it occupies much of my thinking and I feel the need to express these thought to the one person who can do anything about them). She is exactly right. And I am a fool for it.
Not only because I hurt her by being her ex-boyfriend, but that her ex-boyfriend is never, ever going to be with her again (oh, yeah, altruistic to a fault or until I want something). The relationship she had with ex-boyfriend Xen is dead and painful in her mind. Her best friend Xen is the one she loves to death and rarely (but does!) wishes to have a relationship. When I am her ex-boyfriend, I push her from me when trying to hold her close. When she kissed me before, I was a darling consort that she loved very much and wanted to hold and kiss forever.
I told her than I want to treat her as I do my consorts, even though I want to be in a romantic relationship with her while I do not with them (as I expect you know). Okay, so I only told her the first part since the last part is bloody obvious. She asked why I just didn't then. Which is basically because this is the girl whom I shared my life and bed with for two years and I cannot forget that, it has brought me the most wonderful memories that possess me like spirits (who'd have figured that freezing ones nose in a tent during a storm would be considered a pleasant memory?).
I can deal with that when I don't have to worry that she is going to be with someone else next week. The only reason I could be her friend to such an extent before was that she was being very sweet and nice to me, and I felt like her best friend in the world (and more). I felt very comfortable and safe.
Moreover, I felt that if she were to share her lips with anyone, it would have been me. So if she was not practicing the art of osculation or more with me, I needn't be concerned that she was elsewhere. She has specified that, while it disgusted me to kiss another girl because I knew that I loved her, the only reason that it would bother Kate to be with someone else was that she would doing it for the wrong reasons. She felt the need to explain that she very well might be with someone who is not me when she decides it feels right to be in a relationship (this irks me because: one, I am the whole reason she decided relationships were wonderful in the first place and two, it took me two years, but I made sex a beautiful experience to her. Oh, yes, and the loving her thing. Mustn't forget that. Never said I was justified, just that this is how I feel.)
After tomorrow, the lass will be an ocean away with guys using British accents. I hardly feel secure. The security allows me to be her friend. That was what I was trying and failing to explain to her. When I don't have to worry that either one of us is going to be locking lips or other body parts with a member of the opposite sex (well... either sex, maybe), I feel very secure in my friendship with her because part of the friendship includes our profound love of one another.
The only reason I was so flipped out about Kate recently is because I was hearing reports that she was being bedded by one of her friends and it made me more insecure than I had ever been in my entire life. I did not believe these reports, Kate is a chaste lass and certainly wouldn't sleep around, but they played upon my worst fears. I know it superficially seems irrational, but I don't want to lose her.
Okay, okay, so I am not actually with her. But I was in a way. Now I am not again. I have firmly pushed myself out of her good graces and may have no more than five minutes (that is all she would promise me, but she was very upset at the time) to become secure once more. Oh, what I wouldn't give for her to say, "I don't want to be with anyone for a very long time, I think, but will be sure to let you know if that changes before trying to be with anyone else," because that is not a friendly thing for her to say. It rephrase, that insinuates a relationship, the very word that is like acid at her lips. Err! How infuriating!
I am not exactly asking her to promise herself to me, simply not put the idea in my head that I could lose her to some knave while she is in London and I am powerless to stop it. Okay, I have firmly ceased to act anything like how I act with my consorts. Save that I am very honest with them and never feel a qualm about voicing how I feel about them or our respective relationships. I do feel qualms about voicing these things to Kate, because I become both in deed and in her mind, her ex-boyfriend whom she increasingly resents because he is a hurtful concept to her.
Oh, gods, why must love be this way? Oh, but I feel such love, and it isn't obsession. It's the pure stuff, not cut with the Ajax of Lust or the Baking Powder of Desperation. I would have no trouble finding someone to bed or to keep me company. I do not want that. I would be mind-numbingly happy being single and having her in my life if only I didn't have to worry that she would be going off and hurting herself with bad relationships.
Oh, but who am I to judge? Oh, yes, I am someone who dated extensively and was rather discontent with my searches. Until I found Kate. Then I was content even when she infuriated me and made me miserable. I was with her for two years, and I must confess that I probably would have asked for her hand eventually. Okay, so that isn't a huge shock and I don't think I have ever come across as exactly noncommittal. Still, that a lad who can't deal with the idea that he is 20 can consider spending the rest of his life with someone (damn, I'm old-fashioned, but I do like the ring of forever with Kate) is noteworthy.
Oh, but she says such things, and they drive my hope on, even as she dashes it on jagged rocks! For a taste of her sentiments:

"I love you, and I care about you more than I can say, but I am in no shape to be in any sort of relationship more than a friendship with anybody. What we did last time I saw you [Here she is speaking of the kissing and holding], I did because it is hard for me to say no to you and not be in a relationship with you. It meant a lot to me, but I don't want to repeat it. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm sorry. Perhaps I've misled you. I'm all mixed up. All I know is that I need to be alone. I don't want to hurt you. The second to last thing in the world that I want to do is hurt you. The last thing in the world that I want to do is to be in a relationship. But this is almost a tie. I want more than anything to be with you and for us both to be happy again. But something in me tells me that I can't do that because if I am in a relationship right now it will only mess my head up more. Do you understand?"
No, I must confess I don't quite. Perhaps more of the same letter might clarify:
"I don't want to end up in a messed up relationship with you and I don't want you to think I am going to get into a relationship with you, [...] and I don't want to hurt you by not being in a relationship with you. I am being confusing and I am sorry. The point is that I want to be with you but I can't, and I wish you could just forget about me. And the point is that I'm sorry for everything. I just want you to be happy (and I can not make you happy, even if for a while I could). And I'm sorry that this all has to happen now, and I hope I didn't spoil your new years."

From this, the optimist draws: I want to be with you, [kissing and holding] meant a lot to me, I want more than anything to be with you and for us both to be happy again, I love you, I care about you more than I can say, I'm sorry for hurting you, I don't want to hurt you.
Yes, she also warns me against thinking I am going to get into a relationship with her. And she states that she does not wish to repeat the delightful night of kissing. I should like to remind her that, at present, we are in a "messed up relationship" but it includes that word "relationship" and that is no good. Thus, it does not work.
Perhaps if I just back off, things will heal? Well, odd as it seems, backing off requires both parties to be around. She needs to KNOW I am backing off, else it is a useless (though perhaps emotionally salutary) gesture.
She will be an ocean away and I can practically guarantee will not try to make any contact aside from a post card or possibly one e-mail.
*Sigh* So, what am I to do? She will be gone after tomorrow, so I may just be asking for answers for myself. I have never felt this way before; I have never done this before. Like a Heinlein novel, I am a stranger in a strange land.
Well, it is late and I should send this so someone may read it before the cock crows three more times.

reading: a letter from Kate
listening: the tapping of the keys
to let go so I can recieve
interesting thought: Someone in Thailand doesn't know or care about me.

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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