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To Love and Honor | 2009 | On Writing and Dissection

12.27.09 11:21 p.m.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.  

-Henry David Thoreau


The Road to Hull

"Papa's just going for some cigarettes, kids. He'll be right back."

Stevehen is leaving again, for Hull, Massachusetts. I halfway think that he believes that is his homeland. He can fall into the orotund Boston affectation readily enough and has told people that he is a Red Socks fan everywhere but in Massachusetts (where, as an inverse and to be contrary, he is a Yankees fan).

He is leaving, it seems, to find himself, though the department store for whom he managed the jewelry counter making his department redundant cannot help matters.

He has left Suzie, who has a sharp beauty and a sharper tongue. I joked that I couldn't believe Stevehen had managed to woo a woman so attractive, but they seemed fond enough (given that my only experience with them as a couple was over the phone). It is suggested that Suzie maintains relationships in short bursts, that she is better alone. I have only known her for the window of their relationship, and little even then. He suggested that she helped him make this decision, which adds a strain of commensalism to the break-up, since he benefits by leaving and she is not much affected.

I feel for him in this move as I haven't before, which makes me wonder if this is the one that sticks. I thank that he was goodly enough to make a proper goodbye via this article. I am fatigued and frustrated with those who blip out of existence and whose change of address I only discovered when I call their audibly uncomfortable parents trying to sniff them out.

This time is sadder, to me, because I wasn't aware that he was particularly unhappy here. Things had been a shaky since his breakup with Melissa at the end of last year/beginning of this, but I thought they had settled. He had the job that needed him more than he needed it. He had a girlfriend who seemed spectacular. I knew Hull was always in the back of his mind, as the Place That Is Not Here. When a reunion with Melissa a couple of months into their breakup did not come about and she turned righteous Fury against him, it is to Hull that he swore he would go to escape her. I am not so vain as to think that Dutchess County will be his Place That Is Not Here when he is in Hull.

I acknowledge the necessity for new beginnings and that, aside from Suzie and familiarity, there is little to keep him here. He lives in his parents' home, the one in which he grew up, the one surrounded by rundown houses and defeated people. He stood on his own feet for a while after the breakup from Melissa, but life couldn't let that maintain, especially since he never learned to drive.

I don't suggest that he is going to Hull to escape the specters of his former relationship, but I can't imagine it wouldn't help. There is little in Massachusetts to remind him of his previous life. He will not fidget when he a woman who resembles Melissa enters his store. He won't have to care about the politics when one of his friends begins to date (and is swiftly dumped by) Melissa. He can reset his life to a point where he is doing it without attachment. He can leave this year behind. (Besides, 2010 is suitably futuristic enough as a launch pad for new beginnings.)

I hope it will be worth the sacrifice.

Soon in Xenology: Maybe a job, parties.

last watched: Howl's Movie Castle
reading: Breakfast at Tiffany's
listening: Kate Rusby

To Love and Honor | 2009 | On Writing and Dissection

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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