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04.06.01 2:13 p.m.

Tonight I'm tangled in my blanket of clouds
Dreaming aloud
Things just won't do without you, matter of fact
I'm on your back, I'm on your back, I'm on your back

If you walk out on me, I'm walking after you
If you walk out on me, I'm walking after you

If you'd accept surrender, I'll give up some more
Weren't you adored
I cannot be without you, matter of fact
I'm on your back, I'm on your back, I'm on your back...

 -Foo Fighters 

Yesterday, I ended up lounging on the front lawn of Dutchess with a shirtless Todd, Idania in strawberry pants, a very black (thus overheated) Zoey, and Ian (the ex of Kei). Zoey's friend Astrid (I'd give her a pseudonym, but that would ruin the story!) was with us briefly. I commented to Zoey that anyone named Astrid must either be Swedish or very interesting. He informed me that she was indeed not Swedish, thus I extrapolated she must be interesting. Well, it helped that she was wearing fishnet stockings and sandals. We didn't get a chance to much converse, as she went to get food and returned only a minute before I returned to work.
I really didn't want to go to work, of course. It was gorgeous outside and I could have skipped the rest of my day and lay in the grass until dusk. However, I have responsibilities and need money if I am to continue to have a comfortable lifestyle. I am so in love with the season. It swims through my veins and makes me want to be kissed. Little bits of everyone illuminate to beauty. Not enough, however.
As I mentioned, I hung out with Idania. Certainly a very interesting woman, though not someone I would normally be so fond of (in a friendship way). She used the words "free love" in a sentence, after all. I am very glad to have gotten to know her better however. She is definitely someone I enjoy being around.
However, she did not give Artemis my info. After Idania jumped on top of me in the parking lot by way of greeting, she informed me that she felt awkward doing so, that I should just do it myself next time I see Artemis. However, I do not often see her, thus why I was so happy to have an "in." Well, I did, accidentally, find Artemis yesterday. After darting up the stairs in an attempt to actually be on time for my child psychology class for once, I opened the door to the fifth floor to find her standing there. Unflinchingly, I greeted her and she seemed happy to see me. I remarked, as it is pretty much the only think I know I share with her at the moment, that I had gotten my glasses. She stated I looked very good with my glasses. She looked very nice with my glasses as well. We walked and chatted gregariously for about thirty feet, until she informed me that we had almost passed her class and said she hoped to see me soon. I felt very James Dean cool about the whole thing.

CG (you remember her, don't you?) had been out of class for about a week. When she returned, I realized that I had missed having her next to me in class and told her as much. Yesterday, I asked if she wanted to hang out this weekend, as she seemed a little down. She explained that she has been dealing with family issues of late and probably would spend most of the weekend at home. I think I issued some comforting gesture and told her that she should then give me a call some time in the future and I would try to make her feel better. I really would like her to be a closer friend, she seems like a very pleasant and sweet person.

The night before last, I was feeling lonely and a bit vulnerable. More the former than the latter, however. I ended up chatting with a friend-acquaintance of mine, Jenn (two "n's" not one. not the Jen I dated in high school). Somehow the conversation turned to how she and I think much of the other, but we have never hung out outside of school. We ended up flirting a little. Mostly I flirted actually, though she said she didn't mind at all, as I was not some creepy cyber-jerk, I was Xen. I think she actually enjoyed it. However, it wasn't as though I was actually expressing interest in her. She is very cute, but I cannot foresee any way or reason for us to ever be more than friends.
I do not know why I flirted with her of all people. I could blame it on my illness (I have been sick for the past few days and when ill, I am illogical and generally more flirtatious. I think it is a protective mechanism) but I do not think the illness was to blame. I was pretty near over it when I spoke to her. Perhaps I knew that she would be neither receptive nor displeased? I'm not sure how much thought this warrants. I will leave it for the moment.

On Wednesday, I chose to go to my usually soporific psych class rather than a concert in Kingston where my favorite female musician (other than Sarah and Elza, of course) Jill Sobule was playing. I have adored Jill Sobule for years, usually confronting confused stares and the question "Jill who?" from anyone else. Her songs mean more to me than almost anyone else's. I have cried listening to her, enveloped in the music. I have never seen her in person. Yet I skipped her concert to dutifully go to a class I frequently zone out through. I think I need more grass-lounging and less work.

However, I did learn that the brain is most completely active when one is writing. Under an MRI, you can see the entire brain glowing. Perhaps this is why I am so fond of writing?

Last night, after I got out of work (making up for too much grass-lounging that day), I visited Venessa. She is certainly one of my best friends, though she was gone for several months. However, she has returned permanently. We spoke of many things. A lot about Kate, because it is a topic of which she is curious. Venessa doesn't read the journal, not yet. She doesn't know. Her basic feeling on the Kate subject is that she is trying to make herself a victim. That she wants to push away people who care about her; that she wants to be used, abused, and thrown away by people who don't care about her. Her upbringing makes her want to perpetuate and repeat abusive behaviors that I, in my budding psychological training, will not allow her. That she cannot bear to be thought well of. That she wants to be apathetic and destroyed. That I should stay away from Kate, because she is playing games with me, pulling and pushing. Using me as a chess piece in the game of destructive self discovery.
I agree, at least in part, with the last remark. Whether she knows she is abusing me isn't the question. I feel used and played with. I certainly feel strung along and think I am justified in my feelings. Much as I care for her, much as it feels I have never loved anyone but her in this incarnation, I need to keep my distance from her.
Venessa asked me how Kate rated on my appealing chart (we were having a conversation about nontraditional and nonconventional forms of beauty). I asked her which Kate she was speaking of, the elegantly silly brunette beauty I fell in love with or the serial dying, chain-smoking porcupine of pain I now know. She asked for both and I told her the former was and is (photos show her, she thus is) my pinnacle of feminine beauty and the latter is only truly attractive by virtue of her personality, when she lets it slip through unhampered. The former was the epitome of that personality, thus she was my sense of beauty personified. Looking at pictures of that lost darling pains me so. Where can she be found?

Suitors, suitors, suitor, what is a boy to do? Not be a boy or a man, that is what. An animal of a different breed, perhaps? One not extinct.
When I saw "As You Like It" at PDS, I met a lass, Nancy (who I know reads the journal and I hope takes no offense at having her name used). Tiny creature, camera nearly bigger than she is. We spoke a big at the cast party after the show and exchanged screen names. We have spoken much on-line since, and she is one of my favorite cyber-friends (I do not enjoy talking to quite a few people on-line that I like in the real world. Different demeanors). Recently, she confessed that she had feelings for me. I informed her in the least hypocritical way possible, that she is under age and has very overprotective parents. I welcomed her to look me up when she gets to college, but I couldn't fathom anything right now. I feel almost bad that this sprite has taken to me, and almost worse that girls I cannot have or do not want desire me more than those I might want. Nothing has changed between Nancy and me. In fact, I appreciate and respect how she went about telling me. It was conversational and classy, which was certainly lowered the stress of citing statutory laws. I have told her in the past, and I mean it, that she is not the type of girl that is going to have guys swarming around her in high school but would be knee deep in frothy young males once she reached for a higher education. Actually, when I told her this, I started with ankle deep, decided that sounded as though she wouldn't have many, then went to thigh deep and decided that was too suggestive. Knee deep seemed like a good compromise.

I am not seeing Conor today, as you might have noted. When I was at Venessa's last night, I called him and he stated that he was still busy, had plans today, and would hopefully see me tomorrow. Which is excellent because the lighting I was going to do for "A View From the Bridge" got pushed back to Sunday morning. Thus I can have more time for Conor. Fate is arranging something, I can feel her doing it.
Perhaps we need to seek out a new dojo? A new ascended master in the shape of a six-foot wooden egg? We shall see, but I guarantee it will be amazing. Everything with him is.

On a completely unrelated note, I hate when people do something annoying to atrocious and offer their astrological sign by way of explanation. (The following is an example I created out of nothingness. I've never actually known someone to do this, but damn near.) "Oh, yeah, I went down on my boyfriend's cousin in the bathroom during their family reunion, but that's okay, I'm a Leo." No, you are the tail end of a Taurus and that is bullshit. Such a person is a slut (no matter the gender) who is looking for exterior justification for their actions, the formation of fiery balls of gas twenty million light years away (that very well may have burnt out already) has nothing to do with sucking dick for social acceptance and attention and the obviously intense internal issue that leads someone to do so. Place the onus on yourself, not celestial bodies. You are fully in control of your own behavior and if you feel that you are not, please, I beseech you, see a reputable therapist and not the your copy of Astrology for Dummies.
I am not decrying horoscopes, though I put little faith in them since 1/12 of the population shares that horoscope with you and horoscopes from two different sources may be polar opposites, merely people who blame the stars for the failings of their personalities. I will never accept "I am a Gemini" as a reason for anything, except that the Gemini was born between May 21 and June 21.

reading: my notes for journal entries
listening: the inside of my head (it is like a seashell!)
listening: appropriate influence
interesting thought: The seasons directly affect people biologically, the stars indirectly affect people psychologically.
moment of zen: Seeing clearly for the first time in as long as I can remember.

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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