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01.30.01 1:33 a.m.

"Every experience in life, everything with which we have come in contact in life, is a chisel which has been cutting away at our life statue, molding, modifying, shaping it. We are part of all we have met. Everything we have seen, heard, felt, or thought has had its hand in molding us, shaping us."

 -Orson Swett Marden 

NOTE: This entry was created on 3/17/01 from a letter written to Eileen.
When last I was with Eileen, she asked why I was interested in her over every other lass in my life. I gave her the "tip of the iceberg" kind of answer, because the question caught me off guard.
Today I realized, "hey! I made up a whole list of what qualities in a female would cause me to want to break my self-imposed hermitage." Okay, maybe the voice was a trifle more like "Dude, list!" But it was striving to be eloquent.
First an explanation. I made this list up slightly after the break up with Kate, because I was not looking for another relationship and wanted to remind myself of impossible criteria so I didn't just fall for the nearest XX chromosomed humanoid in my near vicinity. Certainly understandable, I imagine and hope. Anyway, here is the list, with... say... an ampersand (&) next to the ones I feel pertain to Eileen. If I am not totally sure, there is an ampersand in parentheses. If there isn't one, it doesn't necessarily mean that I do not think she is so, merely that I am completely ignorant or feel she may not be so. There are certainly things that are not on the list that attract me to her and things I would add now, but I am trying to keep the purity of the moment I made this list (thus why the parenthetical remarks are untouched, the same that originally existed to explain the category). And there are things on this list that are not necessary, I was just trying to be as idealistic as possible.

&*Heterosexual (or bisexual, bordering on heterosexual)
(&)*a free spirit
(&)*devoted (cheating on me certainly will not make for a long relationship)
&*honest (both to me and herself)
&*a teacher and student
&*not damaged beyond self-repair (I'm not looking for a project, I'm done with gluing every piece back)
*Able to spend enough time with me, spend the night, shower together
&*Loves children, but not be in a hurry to have them
&*be educated
&*have had wonderful life experiences
&*be deeply spiritual, but not necessarily devoted to a religion
*a skeptical believer
&*unconventionally beautiful
*not trapped in humanity (the minutiae of life); a spiritual being having a human experience
(&)*poetic and artistic of temperament and lifestyle
&*sexually pure (doesn't sleep around or treat sex as anything other than a beautiful conjoining of souls)
&*very respectful of me
&*understands why I love Katie, Sarah, Conor and Stevehen
(&)*like my friends and be liked by my friends
(&)*very loving
*highly sensual; a sensualist (To quote Lestat, you can't cheat a sensualist)
(&)*bad habits must be beautiful and indulged in consciously
(&)*not prejudice
(&)*loves life
&*well read; loves reading
*can argue (not fight!), but not argumentative
&*Loves American Beauty
*be able to sing (folksy, preferably), play guitar, play violin
(&)*find me as amazing as I find her; mutual adoration as well as love
*no intimacy issues (thus actually WANTS to be with me. I have quite enough people that love me to death but can't and won't be with me.)
*writes love letters (I haven't been with someone who wrote me love letters since I was a very young lad)
*romantic of spirit (like I am, a need a symmetrical relationship in this respect)
&*indescribably cute (a quality, not physical)
&*wonderful sense of humor (I find life very funny, can't be with someone who doesn't understand that)
&*local (no fair being in China if I am here)
&*having a tied destiny (no meeting and then her being shipped off to an Australian convent for the rest of her life)
&*within my age group 15-25
&*an old soul
&*respect me unquestioningly
*understand why I watch Buffy and Angel
&*Like the Simpsons
*the ability to massage would be nice.

So, she has the vast majority of the list. And, as I've said, there is a great deal that is not on the list that I feel is important, much that she does have.
It is entirely possible that someone could have every quality and I still would have no interest in them. Or they could have nothing and I would find them ravishing. Ultimately, it is an indefinable quality that seizes the heart violently and without warning of attack. However, she has the best of both. She has much of the list (and I was not being generous on there. There are categories that I wasn't sure she belonged to, so I didn't mark them in her favor). and I find her compellingly lovely, on all levels I've encountered as yet.
Yes, were I to consider this the potential beginning of a new relationship, I am stupidly and blindly rushing like a well-oiled freight train with no brakes. But this is the evolution of a prior one. She has already gained my respect and admiration with her words and thoughts, especially over the past month. And perhaps I flatter myself unduly, but I think I have won her affections in turn.
She has intrigued and amused some part, however secluded, of me for years. From the moment I saw her, truly, I felt warmth for her. This I swear upon my honor. Call it friendship - aesthetic appreciation - at first sight. Maybe it would have been more, at the time, I cannot say. She was too young and I was too much in love. She has been my co-worker, grew to a friend, converted to an consort, transformed to a confidant and confessor, metamorphosed to a romantic interest.
That brings us to now. Now, I suggest she and I get a vanilla sundae with some Reese's Pieces.

reading: the poem "Pablo Neruda" by Stephen Dobyns, from Velocities: New and Selected Poems
listening: silent echoes
wanting: Vanilla
interesting thought: I have nothing to fear, for I remember dying.

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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