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03.29.01 12:03 a.m.

"God, you bastard. How could you do that to her? How could you make something so soft and innocent and beautiful and then destroy it? How could you do that? How could you make her suffer like that?"


 -James O'Barr 


I have been depressed for the past several days. No, not sad. Not upset. Depressed.
Last night I chose to inform Kate of what I am going through, principally as it was concerned with her. With us. Obviously it was not best to have done so when I was experiencing acute depression, no matter how much I felt she was the cause. Yet I did because I was perpetually on the brink of bursting into tears and my mind wanted nothing more than to talk to Kate so she could tell me it was all okay.
Kate is a conditioned response. This is why I want only to hold her and kiss her when I am around her. The sight of her, the scent of her... it used to mean I was with the woman I love and the response hasn't altered yet. Like Pavlov's dogs, I salivate. But more so, for years, whenever I had a bruise of the ego or a scrape of the heart, it was her to whom I ran. Until very recently (so it seems, at least), she had the proper salve for my soul. She took away the pain.
She no longer can, nor does she want to, especially when I think she is the source. That is only fair.
For much of today, I was going to try to cease my friendship with Kate because I frankly cannot endure her for much of the time. It hurts me so goddamn much. If she can cut off a happy romance after over two years to protect herself from pain and to more greatly be herself, is it so wrong of me to do the same with a very painful friendship? She even says she isn't particularly sure I am even a very close friend of hers. She doesn't have or want a best friend and even if she did, it wouldn't be me. What she wants is someone she can "cuddle" with but still feel completely alone.
She expounded on how unattractive I am to her because of this. She does objectify me, seeing me as a symbol for "ex-boyfriend," "history," "Old Kate," "commitment."
She hasn't chosen to see me as I actually am for more than five minutes (when we were not intimate). Without a doubt, I ceased to be Xen to her, I was symbolic.
Increasingly, she is adopting the role Jen once occupied in my mind. This certainly makes me sad. No, not depressed. Sunlight and fruit have killed the depression. Back to the point. Kate is throwing nonexistent men in my face and telling me how unappealing I am to her, a sometimes clingy ex-boyfriend. I want to scream out, "That is not how you felt Friday!" But I don't. I am sure she knows and resents that she did not fully act her words.
I want to cut her out of my life and forget how much I love(d) her. To not think whose bed she is sharing this week. I do believe she is as chaste as she says, myself excluded. She was sexually repressed for most of her life, however, and finally healed that in September. Now she is surrounded by "hook-up" oriented people in an environment where anonymous, random, one-night stands are the item du jour and she doesn't seem to know who she fully is.
I do worry for her, knowing what she went through. Obviously, the woman I loved most in my life being hurt and - gods forgive me - being so shallow. So she wants to be alone, she should damned well be alone, not having empty interactions with faceless boys... so says the boy she only dated in hopes she could have a fling and toss him to the curb.
She is not really the issue and, were she, it has been well covered in this journal. I am very, very hurt by her, which is why I am writing this. So the pain colors this, please note and take into account.
I do not know the status of my friendship with Kate. I would like to say I could remain her friend, that I want to. At a certain point, I have to be selfish. Remove the pejorative sense and look at the work again. She is not there for me. She does not want to be and she should not be. Would that all my love for her be transferred into friendship. Even a loving friendship would be more than she wants. She wants to be alone. Neither of us has what we want from the other.
"You can only bleed for so much. Either you have a dollar for the bum on the street or you have a dollar for the bus to your girlfriend's house."
I am blanched, I can't bleed for her much longer and still survive. I do not want her to occupy the "bitch ex-girlfriend" role in my life, which Sky created and Jen occupied for years. Kate deserves to be my friend because I do remember who she was and how it pertains to who she is now. I know her better than most people in her life. I think she needs that, whether she knows it or not right now.
Do I need that? Do I need her? I'm going to have to sleep on it. If I can sleep.


reading: Weather and Climate text
listening: Elza
wanting: this to be easier.
interesting thought: I could die at any moment. So could you. What will happen to those around you? moment of zen: when the snowflakes looked as though they powder sugared the landscape a few days ago.

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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