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03.12.01 9:33 p.m.

"I was young and foolish then
I feel old and foolish now."


 -They Might Be Giants  



I have been trapped in my house for days, owing to a lack of a car or a friend who wishes to see me when I do not have a car (See, parents, transportation is integral to your spawns' socialization). One would imagine that being trapped in ones house would make for a boring journal entry. That is where one is wrong.
By the way, what is wrong with my car now is nearly the same thing that was wrong with it the last time it died. This proves conclusively that there is a mechanics conspiracy. (What do you mean it doesn't?!)
Well, in the absence of a social life over the past few days, I have thought. Okay, so I was dazed because of sleeping pills pretty much all of yesterday. That doesn't take one iota away from the quality of my thoughts. If anything, the vague pseudo-hallucinations boosted my thought process to highly abstract. (Kids, don't do drugs. Drugs are bad and so terribly, terribly wrong. And not at all sexy. Even sleeping pills. So, in closing, don't do drugs. Thank you.)
Well, thought and dreams. The dreams are very important. Oh, this will all be revealed in time. So read on.
Over these past several days, I have realized that there is a lot of detritus in my life. And I need to clear that out before anyone else can find me amazing. I have ceased to amaze myself.
I went the baby steps route, cleaning my room and deleting files on my computer that have long since outgrown their usefulness (see, I was a teenage boy not too long ago... And I no longer am).
I am beginning to feel more effortless in who I am. Granted, it feels at times like I have the worldview of a ten-year-old. I have felt very playful and silly. Yesterday, I petted my cat Kizmet and sang him a ten minute song about how he was the best Kizmet I had ever met. He seemed quite secure in this knowledge. I felt very truly happy.
But I was not trying. Something was altered that night in Red Hook and I feel released.
Today I wandered around Wal-Mart with my younger brother Bryan. I half-jokingly suggested that we should seek out the literal girl of my dreams (more on this below). It was the first time I had been anywhere outside my house since my car died. I found everything about Wal-Mart magical. I ended up giddily walking around aisles, telling Bryan Zen parables from memory.
I was enchanted by myself for the first time in ages.
Now to potentially less constructive news. I have been thinking about the Kate issue a lot. How she told me, after the events of January that she wanted nothing more than to be happily in a relationship with me, but that she couldn't be in a relationship right now. How she loved me more than she could ever express and never, ever wanted to hurt me. Such things, which I took for truth as they were truth at the time.
Now she behaves as though dating me was highly painful and not a process she ever wishes to repeat. Okay, at times it was less than pleasant, but that is how relationships are. It was also really amazing and transcendental on both sides. But she ignores that. Pain marks her, pleasure she can ignore.
Sorry, my intention here is not a Kate bashing session. Really. I think the world of her or she couldn't hurt me near as much as she does some times.
Tonight she confessed that, while she initially stated that it was fun to date, period, (based upon her experience of having a very long relationship with me and a NotARelationship with Sky when she was 15) she now clarifies that it is fun when you actually think you can build something with that person. Gee, that sounds like someone who suddenly wants a relationship of some sort, pretty much the purported anathema of the New Katie (like the New Coke. Nowhere near as well liked as Old Coke, which they quickly brought back, you'll note). Oh, little chickadees don't get your hopes up. She was very clear that I am in no way appealing to her and that she wouldn't date me. Wench.
Okay, sorry, that was very clearly Katie bashing. I'm trying to get catharsis, let me purge.
Well, I really feel, and this is nothing new, that I will get the runaround from Kate. And she will eventually realize that new and shiny is meaningless if there is nothing for her underneath. Have I mentioned that I fucking hate "eventually?"
It's been nearly five months since she and I broke up. Five months after Jen left me, I was four months into a relationship with Kate, she was helping to heal me and we had already professed love to one another.
Now, I am alone. But I am okay with being alone when she isn't fawning on other men. Or lying to me about them. No, she doesn't owe me explanations. I am perfectly well aware of that. But I feel she is lying about who she is to me. I can't accept that. Protecting me from the real her, because she thinks it will hurt me.
Part of me will always think I belong with her. I gave myself more to her than I had ever even thought to do with anyone else. I was hers totally. There were times when I was furious or disappointed with her. But she never ceased to have total control over my heart, especially when I tried to act as though she didn't.
I tell my friends that, if I could only find someone truly remarkable to love, I could let Katie go. I don't wholly know if that is true, but it frankly worked to get over Jen.
Katie was so far above Jen in connection with me. I thought because Jen and I were best friends throughout high school, we had such a profound connection. But Jen never had the soul I craved. Even when I was telling her that I loved her, I would tell her that I would get her a soul. And, not to be too poetic, but it was my soul she took. She was an artist, but her art was always very empty to me. Flat line and flat colors on flat paper (the best kind of paper, really). When she was with me, I would sometimes see the inklings of a strong soul glimmering in her irises. But it was my soul I was seeing, trying to work from within her. She is a shell to those around her, taking in parts of them as her own until they were outside her proximity.
Please do not get me wrong, though Jen hurt me immensely, I care about her. She was not wrong in her end, merely wrong in her means and I do forgive her.
After Jen left me for Nick, I wailed and screamed. For exactly 32 seconds. Then I was perfectly composed. It was that eerie quiet that occurs before lightning strikes across the street from you and all of the hair on your body stands on end. The kind of quiet that screams its lungs out at you. One of the greatest and most pleasurable pains I ever felt was that moment when my soul slammed back into my body with the force of several traumas and six months of neglect.
My, this is getting very intricate. You'd want exposition eventually, here is your drip of it.
It took me literally years to truly forgive Jen for doing what she did. But I do forgive her. She was stumbling and painful, but she was trying to do what she thought best. She was learning to be human, as we all are.
Jen could never have made me happy in the long term. Kate insists she is the same way. That I am too romantic (though she calls it cheesy) and altogether too grounded to ever succeed with her. She wants this life of constant travel and adventure, or so she claims. And I do wish to travel, but I like knowing where my home is.
I think I could be very happy with Kate, still. Would it have been long term? Maybe. Well, two years is rather long term for a twenty-year-old. But please remember, I am secretly much older and hiding in a twenty year old shell.
One of her friends with an unfortunately ironic name asked me, after the break-up, if I thought I would marry Kate. I think I would have, in a few years. That is a pretty frightening realization at my age. Well, at my age and in this time period. Fifty years ago, most people were hearing wedding bells before my age. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, even if that is not what the poet intended.
Ah, but I had a point. If I could find someone to rival if not surpass the connection I share(d) with Kate, I said I could let her go (whatever that means). This person does not exist in my social sphere that I can see and I think I am open to it.
To the dreams. Last night, or perhaps this morning to the literal minded of the crowd, I had a dream about Katie. I can't remember the details of it. Only that I awoke and lay in my bed, consumed with adoration of her. This was not the usually vacuum that reminds me that I may never again have the ecstasy of her lips against mine (Tom Robbins states that ecstasy is when you know exactly who you are and don't care), let alone the indescribable sensation of awaking in her arms. No, rather it was this warm, wool blanket that she is a superb human being and loves us (when half asleep, I refer to myself in the third person. We don't know why) on some level. I snuggled against it and cooed over how much I was in love with her despite it all. This was in no way negative and if she appeared in my room at that point, I would have welcomed her into my bed for a nice, long rest. She didn't appear in my room, thus wasn't welcomed against me, thus I fell back to sleep.
This new dream I recall in drips and drabs. There were gelflings, I think I was a gelfling, perhaps. (As a side-note, I once had a dream years ago that Kate and I were both gelflings and gelflings were exclusively male in sex. So Katie had herself surgically transformed into a female to be with me. It is an odd dream, but the only other time I dreamed of being a gelfling). A boardroom was involved as well and it was sulfur-toned dusk everywhere. But none of this was very clear. Then the dream transitioned or switched, I cannot recall. What I do recall is being in a small cabin on a spring day with my... um... I'm going with friend, though I wronged her (another story, another time), Matrona and a tall, pale, thin, blonde girl I will call Sirus (before anyone gets alarmed, she is named this because the closest comparison I have with her in the real world is an acquaintance named Siri. So, no, I was not dreaming of Siri. Also, no, it wasn't Syren. Sirus looked different enough that I am certain she was not either of them.) Sirus doesn't exist, as far as I can tell. But I wish she did.
In this dream, Matrona and Sirus were doing some sort of spell. I distinctly remember Sirus happily playing with smooth, flat, oddly shaped stones on the floor when I came in (came in? From where?) and Sirus implored me to join her in something like a love spell. We broke a straw heart in two and I turned mine into the numeral 1 and she turned hers into the numeral 2. I clearly remember her smiling widely and looking beseechingly into my eyes. And I was pushed awake.
I awoke from this dream feeling the same blanket of warmth I felt for Kate but not for her at all, until it was ripped off in realizing Sirus was very likely nothing more than a creation of my unconscious mind.
I am not getting hung up on dream girls. Frankly I have quite enough problems with the real ones. But this suggests that Kate can be matched, if only with the power of my mind. At least I think that is what it suggests.
I'll sleep on it...


reading: Another Roadside Attraction, Tom Robbins
listening: an episode of Daria playing in the background
wanting: To believe that someone I have met only in a dream is real
interesting thought: it is marvelously simply to foreshadow ones own life.

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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