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03.10.01 3:36 p.m.

"Winter is not yet gone,
and the apple tree appears
suddenly changed
into a cascade of fragrant stars."


 -Pablo Neruda  



I eat a ripe, hard, cold, green apple as I write this. Only she knows why.
I spoke at great length, depth, and breath with Miss Katherine last night. Perhaps it is a mistake in your eyes, maybe in mine as well, but I did and there is no use regretting doing so with those I love for they have no choice.
She worried she was responsible for my happiness. I reassured her that she need not worry; my happiness does now and shall forever depend upon me, solely. Others can certain make my life nicer, but ultimately it is my choice.
I suppose I should tell you that I asked Kate to dinner a few nights ago, as this proposal undoubtedly catalyzed most of this conversation and thus journal entry.
Anyway, she felt bad because she was at college, surrounded by people, and I (the social butterfly) sat at home, alone. I informed her that I was comfortable with my lot, expecting that there was something to learn from it and that I was making the best of it. She complimented that it was a very impressive attitude to have.
Then she decided to press the issue of why I had asked her to dinner. I was hoping that she would just accept it, but was rather cognizant that she would be asking that sooner rather than later.
At first I answered by way of flattery, explain to her that I think she is a wonderful human being and it would be rather delightful to have a nice dinner with such an lovely example of humanity. This was not a lie, of course. I try my hardest not to lie. I was merely hoping she would take this answer for that inherent truth and not probe deeper. And the thing about hopes are, they get dashed quite easily.
She persisted that it made her nervous to be asked to dinner by me, because she just wanted to be my friend, which I doubt is wholly true. You cannot spend over two year of your life with someone, stay on good terms with her, and not retain some more than friendly warmth for her. At least I do not think so, but Kate is the only one I ever managed that with.
I felt that our history and friendship would mean the date would not be awkward and uncomfortable, as the date with CG was. I was not and am not looking for romance (well, much) or a long-term relationship. I was not trying to get back together with her. Firstly, we have both changed so much, even if I were with her as a couple, it would not be a reunion but a whole new creature. But I was not even looking that far ahead. I merely wanted to go on a pleasant date that wouldn't end with me being pressured to do things I wouldn't want to do (Kate is a chaste lady as far as I know) or feeling awkward and disappointed, because she was already one of my best friends.
Seeing that she was utterly confused, I told her that, should she get unconfused at some future date and actually desire to go out to dinner with me, the offer would be open. I have no plans of entering into any sort of relationship anytime soon. I am responsible for my own happiness and I am happy by myself.
After all of this, she confessed that she was only being honest with me because she was drunk, which I do not believe. She was very lucid in her speech and thoughts. I do not doubt she had imbibed a few glasses of red wine, but I think she was just using this as an excuse to be clear with me. She needn't, of course. I respect honesty highly, even if it is painful. But she insisted that I should hate her for being so. I politely informed her that I did not.
Then she brought up this boy. We will call him Begbie, simply because we will. And she fawned on his numerous accomplishments and how he is a wonderful example of humanity. Blah, blah, blah, crushcakes. And she asked why I would damn him. I informed her that I did not like him because I was jealous that Kate fawned on him while she thought little of me. She state that is because I am old and she has a history with me. He is amazingly wonderful, because he is all new and shiny. I hate him, you know. But she said they "appreciated each other too much as human beings to risk any sort of relationship-y stuff." I hope she realizes the implications of that. Then, to twist the proverbial knife in me, she stated, "He makes me honest, completely. And I am comfortable with him. That is rare. Too rare to risk losing."
Coupled with her statement that she is dishonest with me unless drunk, this was like a punch to the gut. Oh, but she wasn't done. She felt the need to further inform me that there are other boys that I should be more worried about, but that she wasn't going to tell me about them, so I shouldn't worry. Um... see... the thing is... she SAID I should be worried. Erm.
Anyway, I kindly informed her that I loved Sarah and her all the more that they were old and I knew them. This logic did not make sense to her, evidently. New and shiny or dirt. Because "[I] have too much history for [her] to be honest with." She states that history scares her; there is too much pain in it. There is pain in the future too, but it is unknown pain. Oh, but she can't stand to tell me things that hurt me.
It is very good too know that I am not the most confused being on the planet.
I persisted that she was being far too negative, that the past held some of her happiest memories. I insisted that I was tattooed by the happiness in my past, it formed me more than the pain.
To her, happiness hurts. The last time she was happy was the first day she dyed her hair blue. The last day I was happy was... yesterday, because the snow glittered.
I was perfectly ready by this point to resurrect my Katie complex and vaguely resent her for not wanting me, when she had to ruin it by saying "Sometimes you are too right... I could almost say amazing. Please keep yourself wonderful and balanced. I do, always. Please remember 'always.'"
Like a wave rushing upon me, I remember that I asked her on that date because she was wonderful and balanced. That I am highly unfair in my image of her to protect my heart from remembering that the person I loved most in the world doesn't ever want to be with my romantically again. I told Eileen, after she told me she didn't want to be with me, that she had not changed one iota to me simply because she could not foresee a relationship with me in the future. That was truth. She was still the darling Eileen who lately calls me sweet pea. Yet I persevered to believe that Kate had changed by leaving me.
And she had, a little. But I was being ridiculously unfair to her. And I shall seek to right that, henceforth. She is a part of me and I, of her (though she draws pictures of that part of her that was me breaking off and floating away), to think poorly of her is delusional and unbalanced. I must be balanced and wonderful, for her. For myself. Both are the same, in a way, as I am pieces of all those I love.
Now to other topics, namely Irish Bird. I was speaking to Zack and Veronica on Thursday and she came up. They were discussing how she dresses eclectically, wearing whatever she pleases and receives much negative attention for it. And I came to a realization as to why she feared me. At least a theory, which may well be incorrect.
So, because of her stylistic choices, people think lowly of her. However, her uniqueness of dress drew me to her; was the reason I approached her. If you have received little more than scorn for being an individual, how do you react when I gregarious stranger takes an immediate shine owing to it? Certainly you are suspect, thinking said stranger must have a screw loose. Perhaps said stranger is some kind of creepy stalker! Well, he must be avoided! Something is very wrong with him, if he is trying to be acquainted with me! He may well be dangerous!
But he is not dangerous, just curious.
They say that college is one of the best times in a person's life. They say a lot of things and should be ignored.
The Chinese have a curse, "May you live an interesting life." I feel I (like Sleeping Beauty) was given gifts by kindly fairy witches at birth. Eloquence, humor, charm, sweetness, kindness, and intelligence. But the fairy witch who didn't get her invite cursed me with an interesting life. Too bad for her I am going to make the most of it.
I'll just avoid spinning wheels.


reading: a depressing new report about a 14 year old girl who killed herself because she was harassed for being gothic and Wiccan.
listening: Fiona Apple's Tidal
wanting:
To be wonderful. And for my car to function.
interesting thought: I have drawn this situation to me, what can I learn from it?

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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