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04.04.01 12:29 a.m.

In Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
     
whistles far and wee
     
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
spring
     
when the world is puddle-wonderful
     
the queer
old balloonman whistles
     
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
     
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
     
it's    
spring    
and    
the     
     
  goat-footed
     
balloonMan whistles
far    
and    
wee    


 -e e cummings, chanson innocente  



Several days ago, I have an odd dream. I suppose you think it is silly that I tell you my dreams, but you must understand that dreams are significant to me. Either they represent my unconscious mind trying to tell me something or they are foreshadowing events to come. Do not scoff, I see no reason why my brain couldn't make educated speculations on events to come.
Anyway, the dream. In the dream, I was in a hotel room with Jen. Apparently, given the context of the dream, we were very much in love. She was trying (successfully) to coerce me into bedding her. Understand here that I never have sex in my dreams. Either I wake up or say no. Really, no sex dreams for Xen. Kissy-cuddly dream on rare occasions (usually when provoked by reality), no boinking.
But Dream Jen was doing a masterful job of convincing me. I insisted that we shouldn't, but I was melting. Please, I stress, DREAM Jen. Not real Jen. It was in context, she was a symbol. I'm pretty sure she represented Kate. Given past entries, I'd expect you find that valid.
Well, Dream Jen went to get something or answer the phone and that is where here part of the dream ends. When I remember next is talking to Stevehen. While he was walking normally, I was on my knees waddling after him. He was admonishing me not to have sex, but he was acting as though he were actually the person trying to entice me into bed. In an abstract way, you understand. Not an actual sexual way. But I was genuflecting, literally and figuratively. Even in my dreams, I lay the symbolism on thick.

I realize you really do not know who Jen is, other than extrapolating that she was my lover at some point. I will thus give you a brief explanation of her and me. The first year I worked at the Haunted Mansion, I brought along Jen. At this time, she was a mere friend who I had a crush on. I had frankly had a crush on her, off and on, since I was in eighth grade. Nothing too consuming, I didn't scribble her name on my notebooks. Well, during the Haunted Mansion, I ended up going out with Coley again into a very passionless relationship and she hooked up with the really immature and annoying guy. One day, on a bus ride up to DCC so we both could be in Scholastic Match-Up (a game show for smart kids), the air electrified when we looked at each other. Suddenly, we realized how badly we wanted the other. We tried to stay good, we tried to stay faithful. It didn't work.
We ended up kissing quite a bit. Once we actually made out as she broke up with her boyfriend over the phone. I tried to be faithful to Coley again and she tried kissing our friend Nick. But we liked each other too much, and fell to kissing once more. I spoke with Nick about this and he suggested that "[I] keep using Jen like [he was] doing." So I punched him in the arm for being a complete dick and a failure to his sex. Then I realized that I really, really, REALLY liked Jen if I was willing to hit my best friend (at the time) for impugning her honor.
I confessed what was going on to Coley, and she didn't much care. If someone told me they had kissed someone else while I was dating them, I would have flipped out. She didn't care. Erm. Before I saw Coley again, I saw Jen. Jen gave me a huge hicky and proclaimed me marked and hers. I was marked long before that, and I agreed. I broke up with Coley that night. She didn't care. (Understand here that I did not break up with Coley just because of Jen. That was certainly a part of it, but a far larger part was that she just didn't seem to care about me.)
Jen and I began dating a little before Thanksgiving of 1997. We were a really good couple, we worked well together. We both had odd senses of humor and adored the other. At the Winter Formal, during a slow dance, I confessed that I loved her. She kissed me and put her head on my shoulder. But she didn't admit loving me until five months later. Nonetheless, I really was in love with her. This is after thinking hard about it for years, combing through the ruins and pain. I was very much in love with Jen. It wasn't something that was going to last (of course, I did not know that then) but it was very real love. It helps that she was an amazing kisser though...
We were not without our problems. If you do not know about Valentine's Day (it is more a Kate story) let me know and I will write about it some other time.
With Jen, I learned a lot about myself, though at a pupal (sic) stage. I gave her more of my self than I had ever given anyone before. I wanted her to see the beauty of the world through my eyes (that at that point, my eyes were nowhere near as aesthetically and divinely connected as they are now), I wanted to give her my soul.
Instead, we gave each other our virginity one day in late May. We had tried once, a few days before we actually succeeded. I cried for days, so sad at what I had done, thinking I was no longer a virgin. In one of her more amazing feats, she held me and assured me no virginity was lost. I loved her so much for, in my eyes, giving me my virginity back. I think I swore to myself to wait longer, until I was ready. Which of course didn't happen.
I didn't cry, I actually was amazed with it, despite the Godzilla movie marathon playing in the background, until she stopped in the middle and had a ten minute conversation with her grandmother on the phone. She was pleasantly surprised I wanted to continue and we did. It was beautiful. I remember staring at how bright and beautiful the stars were above us afterward. How beautiful and special she was, that she was my first and (at the time) only. I couldn't imagine anything but her at that moment.
At the end of June, I went away to Summer Scholars (a two week, live-in seminar). We kept in touch though e-mail and the occasional phone call, everything seemed peachy. However, three days after I returned, she broke up with me. I did not take this well, especially as I had given her my innocence. In my adolescent brain, I really believed Jen and I were always going to be together.
However, the lethal blow came when Nick bragged to me over AIM one night that he was dating her, that he had seduced her while I was away. I think he expected me to be proud, like this was some sort of game and I should take this one-ups-manship in stride. Jen was not a game to me; she was the love of my life (at that point. You all understand that Katie so blew this concept away, right? Katie was much, much, much better for me, but we all have a firm grasp on her story). I cyber-screamed at him, at his protestation that I had no recourse by his Seinfeldian logic (he genuinely tried to use the logic of Seinfeld to justify his being a total cad and betraying me as deeply as he could), that my recourse was that I had given her my virginity and loved her. He proceeded to call her a whore, slut, bitch, etc. and proclaimed that he loathed her "for lying to him." He said he was going to tell her off. He never did. I expect that he lied to her and ignored that he had ever said these things. I, on the other hand, called her up the next morning, told her that I had spoken to Nick, and stated that I wanted all of my stuff back, that I did not want to know her anymore.
From here, I pretty much spiraled into a six month depression. But you know life from this point already. Katie healed me with the power of her love, she was far more amazing, she made me infinitely happier, blah, blah, blah amazementcakes. And I forgave Jen and Nick. I would like to be her friend now, though I know it is too late for that.

One of my couples, Zack and Veronica, broke up over this past weekend. They seemed like one of those couples that are going to last. They had been friends forever and they always seemed so right for each other. Now they are broken up. He told me it was mutual. I don't doubt him, but he gave me little more information and I did not feel comfortable asking for more. All in good time. I did offer him the requisite post-break-up ice cream sundae at Friendly's, which he took a rain check on.
I decided, the moment he told me that they had broken up for good, that I would talk to Veronica and let her know that I am still her friend, no matter what her relationship is with Zack. After the Kate break-up, I felt like so many people turned their backs on me when I had once considered them friends. I hate the mentality of people to want to choose who is their friend after a break-up. You are friends with who you are friends with. If you grew to care about someone, why ignore them and their struggles just because they no longer share a bed with your best friend? So I will go to her and offer her my friendship so she knows she is not alone at this time of need. I just wish I knew where I could find her.
Zack told me yesterday that he cannot just date. He needs to find someone just as good as Veronica, if not better, or he will never be happy. He will always wish he was back with Veronica and that is unfair to all involved.
Gee, who does he sound like?

Ah, but that's not all. Nosirreebob! Keilaina and her boyfriend Ian parted ways as well. I will not say I thought they would stay together forever. They certainly seemed to believe this, but others were actually making wagers on how long it would take for them to break-up. However, she is a dear friend of mine and I cannot bear to see her in this sort of pain. She tells me that they were just too close and the parting was mutual and amicable. I don't fully get it.

I had an immensely pleasant conversation with Kate the other night. I finally caved in and called her, because I missed her so damned much. We chatted frantically, excitedly, contentedly until 2:30 in the morning. Yeah, so, very pleasant conversation. Erm...

The morning after, as should be no surprise, I awoke desiring the darling, demoniac girl. It is really painful to feel that good when one awakens when one can do nothing further than dream.
I do not want to associate Kate with pain. She is the source of most of my happiest memories and I love her more than I can deal with most of the time. When she is the Kate I recognize, sweet and funny, elegant and silly, I do associate her with the pleasantries she brought into my life. And I don't want to associate her with the pain I cause myself on her behalf.
Frequently, people ask if I am with her yet. As though she just has to come around and I am slacking by not wooing her into my open arms fast enough. This hurts me, as I do not regard reconciliation as a definite. If something happens, so be it. If not, then I am not exactly unprepared.
She tells me that she does not wish to see me for a while. I am too much for her to deal with once more. Perhaps she is too much for me as well.

Dulcinea gave me permission to use her real name in the journal. It is Idonia (Idonia sounds like Aldonza who was the barmaid that Don Quixote called Dulcinea. Just in case you wonder how I pick pseudonyms). Stevehen saw me speaking with her a few days ago. He made sounds that I should be interested in her; that he wanted this union to be. I don't know, she is growing on me a bit. Anyway, she has yet to fulfill her courier duty and deliver the note. Tomorrow this shall be done, by her reckoning. I'll keep you posted.

So I am in this play. I have a tiny role, which would normally make me resentful. But I am sincerely digging doing my tiny part and working on the set and lighting. On Saturday, I am going to set up the lighting for the first time. I have been fantasizing about what I will make it (though I am hardly doing it alone and doubt I get much creative input). Merely that I fantasize about lighting should signal I am losing it.

Actually, I am a trifle worried I am losing it. Recently, I have taken to mildly hallucinating. I was looking at a tile floor the other day, and the tiles began to levitate and shoot blue lines at one another. I politely asked them not to and they ceased to do so. I was fully aware it was a hallucination, not real. I do not do any drugs nor am I under much stress and have been reassured that is normal by some friends who do trip. I will try not to be terrible concerned.
This morning, I awoke to find spring, like a searchlight, streaming through all of my windows. As I was just getting up to pee, this was a bit much. Sunlight rarely obeys me when I tell it to tone down, so I didn't bother.
Spring!

Yesterday, after Zack told me his philosophy on dating, he pointed toward a tower jutting from the arts & science building, querying what was up there. I was sick, but by no means had lost my sense of adventure, and suggested (in that he wanted to do the self same thing and just wanted me to say it before he did) we investigate. Six floors up, long past where the rest of the building ended. Little more than a staircase and grating. We reached the top. You know what we found? Metal grating, many dead flies, a plastic chair, a mat, and two windows. This part of the building seemed completely functionless, and he guessed that they just had extra materials and felt like building. We left a note for the next intrepid explorers to venture up, of course.

Friday, I am seeing Conor. Who is Conor you ask? It is late, ask again tomorrow.


reading: the sign welcoming me to the Richard M. Nixon art center.
listening: Sonic Youth (only one song, though)
listening: to be more aware of my own foreshadowing.
interesting thought: Every end is a beginning of sorts.
moment of zen: the slight smell of burning wood that never ceases to remind me of Halloweens and summer bonfires past.

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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