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05.25.01 1:17 a.m.

"You are not thinking. You are merely being logical."

  - Neils Bohr 

I realized that, recently, I speak more of events than thought and feelings. Now really, do I expect that anyone actually cares about what HAPPENS to me? No, that would just be silly! You all care about my emotions and musings, right? Right. Of course. Events matter only in the way they effect me. Hmmm...

M and I have been spending a great deal of time together, which isn't exactly a surprise. I am wavering. See, that should be a bad sounding sentence. But in the mythical land of the Xen beast, it isn't.
On our first date.
I was having trouble with the relationship for a little while. This was, I should state, in no way M's fault. Well, save that she found me sexually desirable at a time when I was feeling asexual (we will call this time "the past seven months" so no one gets confused). But otherwise, blameless.
My problem is that I really got to like being alone. Experiencing the world entirely in my own head and reporting to anonymous internet freaks. It was appealing. It still is highly appealing. But you know what? It's not my life anymore and I would be a fool to throw away what I have with M for some sudden penchant for a solitary life.
I'm not, by the way, a fool.
In addition, we have called off sexual stuff between us, much to our mutual delight. Things got too hot and too heavy too quickly. I am just not ready for another sexual relationship. I had a rather long and rather lovely one with Kate. That is over. That chapter of my life is over. I am not ready to so give myself away like that again. Not quite yet. M knows this and is quite agreeable to a slower moving, less intense romance. See, isn't she wonderful?

I have been going through an obscene amount of life changes. I am losing my job in something like five days. As of June 1, I shall be wholly unemployed. The library no longer can allow me to be a student aid as I am not, technically (and, well, literally), a student there. So there goes my favorite job ever. Where I have flexible hours and access to thousands of books. *Sigh*

From left: M, Me, Bryan, Mi Madre.
So, yeah, I graduated. I am a graduate. I have my Associates of Art from the prestigious Dutchess Community College. I even graduated with Honors. But it is over. DCC is but a memory now (or, rather, it will be once I cease to go there for gainful employment).
The graduation ceremony was actually rather wild. A storm was a-brewin' and I kept insisting the long-winded speakers were angering the gods. Whenever someone was being bombastic, the wind would pick up or lightning would flash. But we made it through the ceremony intact.
However, owing to a screw up at the rental place, all of our robes were silver. We were graduating as space cadets, evidently.

Kate left this morning to be a clerk at a strict boy scout camp in New Mexico. I will not see her again for three months. Okay, if you are reading this and entries exist three months from today, go look at how this turns out. Please? Okay, thanks. Now write me a letter telling me everything and send it to me now. What? Your letters cannot bridge the space/time continuum? What bloody good are you then?! Bollocks, such unhelpful readers.
She came over on Wednesday night, one last visit before her departure. One of the not too-thinly veiled purposes of this visit was for M and Kate to sniff each other out, as the case may be. Meet, at the very least.
Kate was pleasantly surprised that I remembered to get her something for her impending birthday. At M's suggestion, I got a water bottle that actually purifies water. Okay, M got it and I gave her $20. But she works in a sports store. You understand how much more convenient it was for my girlfriend to buy my ex-girlfriend a birthday gift for me. Oh, you don't? Silence, then. It was a decent concept. Better than mine of getting Kate a copy of Magnolia for that long trek into the desert.
M and Kate seemed to vaguely like one another. Much like oil and vinegar can be very good together on a salad. But they don't mix.
Kate and I played with My Buddy dolls I had taken from my room because dearest Emily made the hideous mistake of telling me she feared Chucky from Child's Play. We just played out a little scene with the dolls, though Katie said much with her silence when my My Buddy doll nudged her about a sleepover she had with her friends Mike and Amanda. Hmm...
After lounging on the floor a bit, I declared that a walk was in order. Frankly, I felt that some activity must be indulged in, or I would turn to a warm Jello.
The walk was reasonably pleasant. The air was cool enough and damp enough to be exceedingly enjoyable for me, if no one else. Plus, I could frolic instead of speaking (which frankly suited me just fine). I pointed out tiny landmarks on our walk, while Katie mock me and I attacked her.
Soon after we returned, M declared that she was a snoozy Susie (actually, it is entirely possible she merely said she was sleepy. Entirely possible) and needed to depart. We walked her to her car (well, I walked her to her car, Kate needed to move her own NEW car if M were to not violate the laws of impenetrability). M and I kissed good-bye as Kate looked on, in much the same way your dog looks at you when you are naked. The beast doesn't actually care what it is seeing, but it feels to you that its gaze is burrowing into you. Still, I kept the goodbye as long as did please me.
We returned to my house afterward. I immediately resumed my lording over the floor beings (my little brother and Kate) from my perch on my bed, three feet above the ground. Kate decided to sit on my bed with me, which was fine, I supposed. We talked a bit, I asked her impressions of the departed Miss M. Kate stated that she felt that M was "rooted and solid" as well as "very thin." I stated that M was in fact an impetuous lark and that she was not frail of build. On hindsight, I take this to mean that Katie pays very little attention when it suits her to do so.
We continued to speak fondly. The lass is one of my best friends, sharing a confidence shared only by Sarah and Conor, and was going to me 2750 miles away shortly. I would miss her immensely. Slowly, but still far too fast, she began to lie back upon my reclining form. I quickly played three pillows between her declining head and my rigid torso. Better safe than sorry, of course. I was not at all comfortable with the idea that she would be attempting to lay her head on anything, save my shoulder.
Still we spoke. Of how frightened she was of this supposed adventure. Of my feelings on M (which, at that time, closely mimicked Kate's feeling on her adventure. Less the large bottle of vodka on my part). Generalities and specifics. Blah blah blah life, the universe, and everything-cakes
Soon after, my mother insisted that it was late enough that Kate and I should take this conversation to her NEW car (I'm actually being bitter when I say that. I felt you should know) as my tinier sibling needed his bed rest on this, a school night. So we left and spoke further in her car. It was actually the most intimate, completely non-sexual, non-romantic experience I have had in a long while. I gave her a very chaste shoulder massage as she told me about the drama program at her (and my future) school. It sounds like little, but it was all in tones and gestures. It was like a twin link. Everything we needed to say didn't need to be said.
After a few minutes of this, she felt she should leave. I choked back the tears that were welling up within me. Tears do not become goodbyes with Miss Katherine. Or rather, they flow so readily, one fears they may not stop. So I held her and kissed her cheek, giving her tongue-in-cheek pseudo-parental advice I knew she didn't need but wanted to and expected to hear. Who am I to disappoint? I wanted the goodbye to be profound and something she could hold with her on the three months away. It may have been, I cannot say. It was not like the adieu I scripted a million times in my head before executing when she went to England (look for the entry in early to mid January of 2001). It wasn't like a movie scene.
I step outside of her car and walked to the corner of my house, so I was half veiled in shadows and half revealed in the grating yellow porch light. For a moment, a few second, maybe even a minute, she just sat there in her car. Despite the presence of my glasses, I could not tell what she was doing. And I stood. And she sat. Motionless. Finally she started to pull away and I whispered out the same prayer I whisper when someone I care about is leaving for any length of time. "Goddess, see her (it is always a "her") home safe." It is a small thing, but it reassures me.

Yesterday, Emily decided (winning herself the springtime award for carpe diem) that she wished to have a camp-out with me to celebrate the emergence of summer. I was reticent, because so much was going on in my head. I couldn't deal with myself, let alone her. She shouldn't have been seen as something I had to deal with, but it was a hideous state I was in. The prior night I had spoken to Sarah for the first time in months.
The advice giver.
I slit my emotional wrists and bled into her ear (ye gods, I should not write so late! My imagery is truly macabre!) the story of Emily and me. The uncertainty I was feeling that I could not attribute and was subliming itself into the uncertainly I felt about being in a relationship. Sarah, who is well acquainted with my passions (through stories and conversations, my dear perverted readers. I have not even shared a proper kiss with Miss Sarah), advised to allow myself nothing so unpleasant as this monogamy. That I was not truly happy and should much rather enjoy my solitude than a romance I was unsure of after such a short spell. She asked me if I had encountered this before in anyone who lasted and I stated that, in my sleep starved state, I did not recall this being that case.
However, it was. When I first started dating Kate, it was markedly similar. Intense infatuation, cooling off, uncertainty bordering on dislike, then I wholly fell in love with dear Kate one night when she carpe diemed that she wanted to spend the night with me. But that is another story for another time.
So M and I discussed my feelings. What else was I to do? Finally, she was able to overcome my reticence and I confessed I had a truly delightful time roasting a marshmallow on a fork over a scented candle (remarkable effectual, that). I realized a great deal of my issue is not with Emily, has never been. I suppose I should have been more self-aware, but mistakes make for a better life.
Plus, really, the dear girl can affect a Scottish brogue that makes me want to bite her (in a good way. Always in a good way) and can sing. What is the important lesson about sirenous lassies and Xen? Right, total power over him.

Ah, so I had a party for my graduation. It was a bit of a disappointment initially. It was just Zack and me, eating a big sandwich. Slowly (like, after two hours) others began trickling in. Still, the party was slow and unremarkable. The high point for me was sitting at a small, white, cast iron table in my yard with Bryan, Stevehen, Zack, and Kate and just talking. Telling jokes. What have you. Kate was being purposely obnoxious to me, so I wrestled her to the ground and won the spontaneous wrestling match. It is good to have her back as a friend, it feels very right.
Especially as I can beat her at wrestling.

Ah, it is late. Perhaps I will write more to you soon. Perhaps not.
I do need someone to talk to...

reading: Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins
listening: Gene Wilder singing "There is no world I know that compares to true imagination..." from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
wanting: A new job would be really bloody nice
interesting thought: Sex is far more frightening than neo-nazi elves. (Hey, Kate's shoes are kind of comfortable...)
moment of zen: watching the spirals of steam that dance off Emily's body as she departs the shower.

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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