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01.29.01 9:39 p.m.

"It is absurd to say people are good or bad. One is either charming or tedious."

 -Oscar Wilde 

NOTE: This entry was created on 3/17/01 from a letter written to Heather, Conor, Sarah, and others.
(This will be read by curious parties, some of whom are not fully up to speed with everything. So I will, in a theatrical fashion, give a cast of characters with descriptions.

XEN, 20, your humble narrator, a romantic fool
KATE, 19, Xen's ex-girlfriend whom he has been having frequent issues with establishing a relationship/friendship
EILEEN, 16.92, Xen's ex-co-worker from the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum turned object of affections through our Internet connection.)

Where to begin? I'll go chronologically, it seems most sensible. Thursday, after class, I went to Kate's dorm. She was moderately happy to see me. And we hung out until midnight, and then I went home (yup, no sleep-overs for me!). But, watching her smoke like a chimney and engage in long debates with her friend about what to get drunk on, I came to a profound realization. I am really bloody disinterested in the life she has chosen to lead. My life focuses on aesthetic appreciation, pursuit of intellectual and spiritual betterment, and cultivating close interpersonal relationships. She smokes, drinks, and plays Nintendo.
Granted, she has a certain degree of the appreciation I have. She is not a bad person; in fact, she is quite wonderful. But the life she leads would wither me in about a week. So, in parting, I told her that, while I loved her endlessly, I did not at all care for her life nor ever want to be a part of that kind of a life as anything more than a close friend. Some people would take this poorly. She hugged me tightly and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
We are not greatly dissimilar. She and I giggled along with a Marx Brother's movie, while her friends were baffled as to why it was funny. I am her intellectual outlet, I suppose. I am the one she can actually discuss things with. But I imagine she finds my life of plays and libraries as boring as I find hers of collegial debauchery. So, truly, she can be my best friend now and genuinely love her as such.
While I was with her though, a strange thing occurred. I thought of Eileen. A lot. I would look at Kate and my brain would say, "I wonder how Eileen is? We can't do anything with Katie, Xen, that would be untrue to dear Eileen." So, obviously, I did nothing inappropriate with Kate. In fact, I began writing a story about Eileen and me (which is about nine pages long.)
Yesterday, I decided that I needed to go to the malls and get my older brother a birthday present. Certainly had nothing to do with the fact that I knew Eileen was working at the museum, which is in the mall.
No, of course not.
Well, obviously, I stopped by the museum. Since I was there, and all. And whom should I find at the desk (the third time I passed by, between shopping) but Eileen! So I stopped by and we chatted for a few minutes. She was considerably more physically attractive than I remembered. Not that I am superficial... it's just nice.
My little brother, whom I decided to drag along with me (thus making me a good older brother), claims that she and I were obviously very much interested in each other.
We chatted until I spotted my ex-boss coming toward the desk. So I darted off in order to not get Eileen in trouble (I remember the lectures that no one who in not currently being paid to be at the museum is allowed behind the front desk). Eileen informed me that, after I darted off, the boss asked why "The Blond Bombshell" ran away so quickly. Eileen replied by blushing profusely and the boss just smiled and walked off.
After we left, I chattered to my brother about Eileen, whom he seemed to like.
So, today Eileen came over to watch videos I had rented. My choices (after a great deal of deliberation) were Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (comedic, but highbrow. It is based on a Tom Stoppard play, after all), The Twilight of the Golds (humorous, but dramatic), and Ed Wood (Because, come on, Johnny Depp in drag as the worst film maker ever? How could I resist that!). Overall, I think it painted a good picture of me. I stayed away from campy horror and anything with subtitles. I'll spring those on her later.
After I brought her back here (we had to be dishonest. Well, she did. Easier telling her parents that she is going shopping with her friend Karen than tell them she is going to be spending time, unsupervised, in a long haired college student's bedroom), we ended up watching maybe ten minutes of "Twilight of the Golds."
Don't worry, I didn't violate any statutory laws. But she mentioned that she had seen Rent (my favorite musicals and a somewhat formative experience) three times and knew the music by heart. So we decided that listening and singing to "Rent" was a better use of our time. Treacherous/Romantic me happened to know the script backward and forward and summoned forth a romantic duet between Roger and Mimi (in case you don't know the play, SHAME ON YOU!!! No, seriously, they are mostly very cute. Go here click on "Light My Candle" for a taste), she, of course, falling into the only female role and I, the only male. Then she picked "Another Day," but somehow our genders got flipped. It was very, very cute. Like a mating dance with better music.
The lyrics tended to match up very nicely with how we were feeling. I don't think I could have written the scene better (at least without getting harassed for copyright infringement by the estate of Jonathan Larson.)
I was falling for this lass hard. After we stopped singing to Rent (I can't really remember how this happened), we sat on my floor, just talking about... I'm not sure.
Childhood. Foam dinosaurs. Heartbeats. And I began kissing her cheek and neck. She rather liked it (in that she pulled her hair aside so I could kiss her unencumbered and gasped when I touched her). I was exceeding happy.
A little later, we had moved closer to my bed (my bedroom door is composed almost entirely of glass, affording a view of my osculation to anyone who cared to look). There, we began holding hands and talking, provoking her to say, ala Juliet, "Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hands too much..." This set us on a slight Shakespeare kick.
I expect you know that Shakespeare has a rather salutary effect on my affections. So I began kissing her neck and she moaned/gasped/sighed out one of Juliet's more romantic monologues. Did I say I was falling for her? Well, I fell completely right there. And so she is "thinking about it," since I would constitute her first real relationship and she has to recalibrate herself for this concept.
The girl is more than slightly fond of me. And her best friend swore to kill Eileen if she let me go. And my family instantly adored her. My mother said, "She is in if she has my car washed." My father said, "She seems very sweet." My older brother's brusque girlfriend actually said, "Eileen is much prettier than Kate." (Which is the closest thing to a compliment she would say).
I'm not rushing things. At least not until February 23rd (her birthday). But I am happy and hopeful and I may soon have a very nice girlfriend who recites Shakespeare when I kiss her.

reading: The lyrics to Rent
listening: "Another Day" from Rent
wanting: To kiss Leeny on the lips
interesting thought: People can be amazingly, unpredictably wonderful.

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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