Sunday, April 26, 1998

DIVIDING MORNINGS BY AFTERNOONS

DIVIDING MORNINGS BY AFTERNOONS

All this new math asks the impossible:
I divide morning by afternoon
to arrive at a total bird count.
Let me go, like the water iris 

fisting its way towards death,
for I have seen the day lose its breath
 as the sky blanched and contracted.
 Another crisis averted, a dress rehearsal

converted into an equation for living
one's life the appropriate length of time.
 Or is it a case of X plus integers?
If only the problem were that simple,

like laying out a sonnet rhyme scheme
and then filling it with wild birds.

4/26/1998
added 9/2016
minor revision

The Higher Functions of Lower Math (Archie Williams)


I have spent the morning weeping over the higher functions of lower math while the medical student Tom, a doctor in waiting, sleeps in the other room. He is neither doctor nor student, yet he would have no trouble passing the math test. He could pass it in his sleep. Maybe I should ask him while he sleeps.

Neil attempted to show me the simple algebraic equations that poor Archie Williams tried to teach me some 25 years ago. He may have been the first black man to win a gold medal for running, but he couldn't teach me the higher functions of simple math.

I admired that golden disk within its five interlocking rings. And the heft of Archie's Olympic medal. Nouns Berlin and Hitler were stored in memory to be extracted at a later date when the larger picture would reveal itself some some 20 years later— when I fell asleep in front of the TV.

Hearing Archie's name mentioned on the TV, I pieced together a string of names that were attached to the story of Berlin, 1936, Jesse Owens and Archie Williams—the underprivileged, the those censored by race and by creed. Under a Nazi Germany, was it Nuremberg? The story took years to piece together. Before internet.

I struggled to become a teacher like Archie, but I failed a practice CBEST test. A test a sixth grader could ace. I couldn't piece together the parts of the whole in order to pass the practice test. I'm failing the higher functions of lower math.



see more on Archie Williams
"Olympic Pride, American Prejudice" documentary includes Archie WIlliams
RIP Harry Roche
Segregation Games (Archie Williams)

Tuesday, April 21, 1998

Journal entry, ulcer, 4/21 - 4/26


4/21/1998 I’ve been uneasy about Neil being in Asilomar, it turns out for a good reason. On Sunday he passed out at the ocean and when he came to, he thought he had food poisoning so he took himself to the hospital. It was a duodenal ulcer and he nearly bled to death, they said I was feeling more and more depressed as I headed north and I didn’t really know why. I guess I sensed something was amiss. He’s on the phone with a classmate, Jill, gory details. Tom Harrell, the doctor/boarder, walked in the door it looks like he had a rough day in the emergency room. Neil talks about his classes and I’ve heard the story before. It is the first warm day, spring has arrived and it’s a bit sticky. Scent of lemon blossoms hangs in the air.

4/22/1998 Neil sleeps. Wendy called to ask how he was doing. He was so shaky and gray yesterday evening when I arrived. Shaky on his feet. We held each other for sometime. I gave him a light massage but his skin hung to him, clammy. He probably lost a quart of blood, and is anemic. I remember seeing how sweaty he was the other day, and I thought it odd. And that sweetish, almost fetid odor that emanated from him. When he fell asleep on the couch, he was sleeping oddly, and I thought something was wrong. Did he have a stroke?

4/26 A second night on the couch for him, and of course I can’t sleep. 7 AM. Nightmares of vultures landing on the infield. Too many consultants between me and the pitcher anyway. I had to throw a fit in order to see who the pitcher was, let alone, see the ball. When the vulture landed between us, ending the game, it began to feed on itself for it was dead, or dying, plucking it’s skin like a doppelgänger devouring itself, beak first.

Friday, April 17, 1998

Journal entry, 4/17 continued


4/17 continued... I made a drawing of calla lilies today, I worked outside with my single flower turning it again and again for different angles to make it look like I have a full bouquet. I realized that the little black kids on the balcony were watching me trying to figure out what I was doing. One little guy said to the other, why does she keep looking up at us? And the older one explained, she’s drawing that flower. Look. But he wasn’t convinced and they argued about it for a while. I smiled and then held up the drawing. The ice was broken. The little guy said, tight! And I said thanks. There has always been a potential for hostility between them and us. They often throw trash into our little yard. Maybe now it will stop. Neil wouldn’t have leave anything outside. Stuff has been ripped off before. And now we leave the chairs and the tables and even the clothes we put the line up, overnight—with confidence having made that space a secret oasis. It is our dining room.

Speaking of our, I’m still in the dark as to what we’re doing, having cut myself off from him. I do have more strength I’m not dependent upon him. My domestic urge is still strong but I’m less attached, there’s a good distance on both sides still. But we regained some small parcel of ground. I climbed aboard him wrestling as we used to do and he wasn’t too responsive, he was that tired but a few feeble attempts restored something that was lost.

The boarder, medical student Tom was at the door. I leapt off Neil and sat up, all circumspect beside him, embarrassed by the compromising position only to have him crawl on top of me to throw it’s me. What I saw was a rekindling of affection in his eyes, we both have been dead and cut off since I left. We walked down to see the ducks at dusk and he again was ranting about the pain in the suffering, specifically how he regretted the blow up he had with his old man in Ireland.

He said, he was a real cunt about wanting to leave and instead of giving into him,I got angry and we weren’t speaking to each other and I thought at the time that I’d live to regret that moment—it will come back to haunt me. And it did.

He was pretty shattered by the time we got to the ducks. I tried to hold him from behind because he need to be held even if he didn’t want it. It reminded me of a pony I had who threw me, and at first I thought she was maliciousness until I discovered she was insecure and needed to be gentled. I guess she had gotten plenty of abuse from her previous owners. She knew pain and humans who inflicted were her adversaries. She had had hid her fear behind a socialized façade, she was seemingly well adjusted.

He broke away after a few moments, still intent on containing his own grief. His back was really hurting. He said, let’s sit down on the step. I massaged and held him, telling him to breathe, to let go of the grief, not to dwell on the anger and the resentment, but love—for love is what your father needs right now, not the other. Give him your blessing.

I gentled him the way I would a horse. I was a horse whisperer and I could feel him letting go. I was  inside him deeper than I have ever have before. Still I was cautious for it could be seen as invasive and he was so vulnerable. I was using my healing skills to restore the pathways for I do have that gift to enter the psyche though there were still so many lines of defense between us, we were able to find a common ground.

You are perfect the way you are I whispered, remember the self. Let go of the burden of grief and pain. You don’t need it to carry it around with you any longer. You are the phoenix rising from the ashes of the past. There is only this moment, twilight on the lake, the ducks and geese flying towards the setting sun. How do they know where to go with such determination he asks. We could hear their gobbling replies on the wind.

I could feel him letting go, feel the pain slip from his shoulder blades, feel a bit of hope for that ice that is his wilderness, was beginning to thaw.

Journal entry, 4/17 domestic goddess routine


4/17/98 After the midterm yesterday Neil was pretty keyed up and stressed out so we didn’t go to the Romeo and Juliet play after all. Just as well as I was way too tired. The pain management pill is definitely making me dizzy, giving me vertigo. I started taking them Easter night three times and by Wednesday tax day I had vertigo. It takes longer to undo the damage I think. This is three days out, and I’m still dizzy.

Neil was going on about the theory of spiritual life, about advancement and how time is speeding up unnaturally while I watched the world spin past my forehead. I was useless for much of anything. 

I went on a domestic cleaning jag, sweeping, mopping etc. I rerouted the TV cable because I tripped on it one time too many. I wrapped it around the door but it was black and so I painted it white. Also I touched up the nicks on the walls and doors, the base paint I had brought to restore the stool was close enough. I also re-organized around the fridge painting around the electrical cord and I put nails up to hang the brooms, etc. I put in a cup rack and rescued potatoes that were gurgling, and made a great dinner with Greek potatoes, spinach feta salad, apple cobbler with gluten-free flour, which was a little challenging but it worked. It felt good to be on a roll, centering me.

Thursday, April 16, 1998

Journal entry, post tax season 4/16


4/16/98 We made a quick quick dash down to the lake to visit the ducks which was a concession to me, for Neil has a midterm today, and needs to study. He lectured me on the pitfalls of poverty consciousness, when I said I was yet another grand in the hole from paying my taxes. He said,  You just got a $2000 job. Think of it in terms of more, not what you haven’t got. He’s right, but I am the the pessimistic optimist. I’ll believe it when I actually have the contract signed. He said remember when I sent you $2000 and I said your stress level rise to meet the occasion? It wouldn’t matter if it was $25,000. It’s still outside, a mental image of fuck you on the inside. It rises to the demand. True, that.

We celebrate with a salmon dinner. I dropped him off to study while I shopped for dinner and I felt like I’ve been given a reprieve on several accounts for I love being here and nearly having convince myself that we could become platonic friends, until we went down to the docks where he grabbed my jeans at the waist, sticking his hand between my cheeks left me over the edge, a rather familiar gesture for a man who professes interest no interest in my body. I didn’t let on, poker face as I was. Another time he remove the hot mitt from the stove mumbling about pilot lights and possible fires. A year ago I would’ve been pissed off at him, but this time I smiled knowingly, my back to turn towards him. Allow him his neuroses and quirks, for it to is a part of the the process. Be not attached. No gain.

It’s taking some time to restore the balance, but we are once again normalizing our relationship through established rituals, whether it be domestic like what do you want for dinner, or offering nurturing massages. Seeking the balance between the giving and receiving will always be our biggest chore in task, he had to give a whole lot more to me to get me through my taxes, as I had told him it would be so, then he had expected, but he did come through to the nitty-gritty end.

After dinner, our first outside since the range weekend, though we also had breakfast outside yesterday as well, he went to Berkeley to study, asking if I’d call some of the old Ulster gang, to see Romeo and Juliet at TheatreWorks, a play he had auditioned for. A lovely long chat with Lorcan whom I like very much, but he is a bit shy, and Jane Bark, Vito Orlando, and Allison Tassie, a real telephone night. Jane said you didn’t come to my puja, my housewarming. Neil said you were busy I said I had left him, having been fed up with our non-relationship on Ash Wednesday. I left him for the season of Lent. She said Ash Wednesday was a good day to leave. It was appropriate she said. He seemed a bit down, she noted. I said denial was buried in his name, and he wants to just be friends, and I couldn’t take it anymore, so I left.

Everyone seems to take it in stride that Neil and I are having a relationship, that he thinks it’s nothing more than friendship, but we all know better. Where do we go from here? I’m obviously a big part of his emotional makeup, as he is of mine. He’s afraid of definitions, and commitments, yet he desires the wife and kids thing, as an abstract. But, this is my home, this is my bed, we’re still sharing. Don’t rock the boat. See how long it will go on like this for he made the concession that we sleep together only this once for I am so fragile and I’m so vulnerable, when will he kick me out? Loose strands of my hair become a metaphor, turning up in the domestic arrangements, blankets, pillows, sinks, rugs, to claim residency.

The pearl is my oyster, I misread an ad for watches. If they carapace of the watch is the oyster, and the mechanism, the heart of the pearl, where does that leave time? For time allows nacreous intentions to grow between the shell and the quivering flesh. A conversation form Easter Neil wanted to know whether or not aphrodisiacs work and was there anything to it? Mostly in the mind of the beholder says Tom, but if you believe, it will work. Oysters seem to be a real-time honored aphrodisiac he concludes. His libido is raging and he can’t seem to find the right woman though he’s desperately searching.

Tuesday, April 14, 1998

Journal entry, Working on my taxes 4/14 to 4/16


4/14/98 Working on my taxes from 1992 to 1997. I spent the morning in the IRS building weeping, while collecting information forms, only to be told that because of my accident, I should go to an actual tax accountant who specializes in the arts. I should also depreciate my losses, my wages and earnings from 1993 up to 15 years into the future. But I don’t have enough information due to the accident, to file. To file an extension, even though I’m supposed to have back years paid, is impossible. The woman at the free tax helpdesk patted me on the shoulder as I wept, saying she understood. She understood. Perhaps that was more important than anything else. Not that it matters in the larger scheme of things. I’m doing all of this for such minute amounts of money. Draconian.

I’ve been at Neil since Easter Sunday working on my taxes. A fit of weeping yesterday afternoon depleted me. I had worked so hard and got nowhere. All the foibles of a dyslexic threatening to sink me. The complex labyrinth that is the IRS schedule and forms, the sheer volume of information is debilitating. 

The rules change from year to year, according to Congress. So no rules need apply. It’s all bets are off. I had to get different forms for each year. 1992 is being mailed to me. To do, California tax forms. My plate is so full I’m at the point of not dealing with it at all. I’m not used to this copious weeping. Agony, frustration, fear, rage myriad of emotions bursting forth. The taxman, and he taketh away.

4/15/98 I’ve been working all morning on my medical stuff stuff which will help with the insurance. I had breakthroughs right and left. A desperate call to do it Tobey Kaplan via Neil‘s urging, for some tax information on deductible categories where I was stuck. She also gave me the name of her CPA which I will have to use, even the IRS suggested it. All in all, my experiences yesterday with the IRS were very positive, considering. No one chastised or criticized me for not paying my taxes. Neil said it’s like going to confession, except there, you get to hide out in the dark confessional. I was on display for the world to see.

The other perk was a job lead at Markham school, Tobey said there is matching money. So I also called to Tureeda to see if I could approach schools, as Micaela wants to observe me. So things are opening up a bit. I’ll have to call some other CPITS people to see if there’s a nibble or two. I should ask Tobey‘s advice on upgrading jobs etc. She’s in much better position than I, with a junior college job, and other jobs as well. Still 1/3 of her income comes from CPITS.

After days of struggle, I finally finished my taxes. Neil walked me through the figures and, as I suspected, I owed them nothing. It was a minus win situation. Primarily due to my medical bills. But I have to pay my Social Security regardless. Done.

4/16/98  Now I’m facing the blank page with both anticipation and with nothing to say, having made a perilous journey through the tax maze, and having suffered I was elated to be done with it. We were mad hatters dropping off our precious cargo. There was a comraderie on the street, a common experience we shared as we lined up in front of the post office. One black man, seeing our goofiness as we raced to the mail bins to beat the 6 PM deadline, only to discover it was 7 PM, said it’s tax time! To which I replied yeah, hours of work to prove that I don’t owe anything. Neil gives me a bear hug to congratulate me on completing my taxes, saying see you survived it.

A woman walking her envelope to the bin burst into a smile thinking he was addressing her. I insisted on dropping a letter into each bin, there were four of them. He said hey that one was an express mail drop. I said I didn’t really care. I wouldn’t even put my return address on the envelope I was so mad. He had to do it for me. I said, trust me it’ll get to the IRS, no matter how funkily it’s addressed, it’s that big. I said, even if it were to get lost in the mail. I’d still get it back. Giving my zip was enough to ensure a return, but his sense of pride propriety with scandalized so my envelope was compromised by conformity, my address on the outside, a mental image of fuck you on the inside. 

Monday, April 13, 1998

COLLECTING STONES

COLLECTING STONES

Turquoise protects against catastrophe.
Amethyst promotes mild misunderstanding.
Citrine is an agent between the lower
and the higher self.
I am advised to follow my vision.
Keep my intentions honest 
and make sure my motives are pure.
I'm told to develop objectivity 
and stand back to observe the self.
Try to be more forgiving 
and less possessive, the oracle says.
What a bunch of crock.
I am no Brandenburg Concerto
or a mad minuet of the butterfly in flight.
I am the brash opening of Beethoven's Fifth.
What did I expect seeking advice 
from clattering stones?

April 13, 1998
10/15/2015

Journal entry, 4/13/98 Easter


4/13/1998 And so I called Neil who sounded a bit guarded but he’s been that way since my departure. It surprised me to learn that he’s been spending some time focusing on my dilemma—taxes and depression, admitting that he had reneged on those promises to help. A breakthrough. So his nos can become yesses. It was a wretched morning for me as I’ve been so depressed the past few weeks that I’ve been nearly dysfunctional. He told me to bring my taxes with me to meet him at the ashram, which I did.

I’m in such a fragile state, that the ashram was a calming refuge, but I couldn’t stop the weeping. He said to bring something of value to leave at the chair of the guru, so I left a silk painting, I had given the others to Wendy and Alison–as it was their birthdays. I wrote my wishes on a prayer stick, Finely sliced wood, one wish was to have a loving relationship and family. Also a prayer for strength and the resolve to grow through this trying time, to put my taxes behind me, to put to bed my grief over my parents and their death. To send to put it into the suffering of these past five years. I also prayed for a career, at least for guidance and for help.

My rock-bottom status—I’ve given up all hope and have lost the will to be a warrior. He took me to the altar of the statue of Laxmi bedecked with flowers in the breezeway. Should I have left my painting of flowers with him or with the guru? I left my prayer stick with him. What happens to the prayer sticks? Do they burn them? And my art? Do they burn it too? give it away? It’s like leaving a child behind. That just further increases my feeling of abandonment.

At the bookstore, the clerks exclaimed over my pieces. I had asked for a bag large enough for them. A lot of unexpected feedback positive. I flamed red, my face was hot—an unexpected source of praise.

Funny, when I was in the main meditation hall, I could feel energy rising from the top of my head but was it split into two directions. Later I realized one thread veered towards Laxmi, and the other towards the guru. As we first enter the meditation hall, he took my hand, holding it firmly, full of strength. And I again had that feeling of connection. The aha! moment. I belong here. Many hugs and weeping.

But by the time we got to the picnic, it was very late in the afternoon, The picnic was loads of fun. Vito, Jane Ayles, and Bob were there as well as Wendy’s family. Larry Spears and Naomi Gibson with their kids. Naomi left for Scotland as her grandmother had died—three deaths since the New Year’s. Tomas the intern was a little red-eyed as he’s on the night shift rotatuon at Highland Hospital but we had a rousing game of rounders which is a free-form softball with the kids.

As we headed back I began to sink into a depression again. How much of this is due to a profound lack of sleep? Tom and I chitchatted on the couch. I tried to to nap. Neil was talking to Jane Bark. We went to Pasand for dinner and had lamb for Easter.

We came home and Tom napped before going to work at midnight. Neil and I poured our souls out to each other and meditating for 20 minutes. The energy centered and rose in my crown and my feet began to buzz. They haven’t done that since I’ve left, I’ve missed that connection, literally. Neil said that sometimes that happens to people their feet open up, but it’s not common. Why, I wonder, I’ve always like to be barefoot, I suspect, to feel the energy flow through me.

As to what it is, scientifically speaking, I’d say it’s like the magnetic fields an acupuncturist stimulates. Nerve pathways which transmit electronic impulses. Whether or not I believe in all of this is moot as it’s happening to me. I’ve experienced it before but it was never quite so intense. I can see why people get all hooked on it, and of course I’m suspicious of that stuff too. But the life I’ve been living is no longer meaningful so, I’ve nothing to lose by it.

Neil says so many things I wonder if I can recall much of it except by paraphrase. Namely that I was on the verge of opening up, letting the shaktipat in, and he said I’d see how and why it changed my life. The spiritual community exists for a reason. I’m not a believer.  Vito said that I should do kitchen seva, etc. that’s his thing, to do dishes, but I reject this. I do enough dishes at home. Thank you very much.. Why is it that men are willing to do dishes at the ashram but not at home? Talk about double standard.

We talked a lot about the sources of my depression. Neil wants me to go to counseling—we share the same symptoms. I feel I’ve been depressed for a while, but I find it curious that he’s not willing to go to a counselor to see if his is a clinical depression. I know what the source of mine is, my parents deaths and the unresolved problems around them.

I played mirror for him and I said it doesn’t matter how you do it, just as long as you do it. He’s chosen the path of meditation and it’s helped him enormously via spiritual growth, but bottom line, he is still depressed. Why I don’t hear from him, besides the fact that he’s overwhelmed and or busy, is because he continues to be depressed. We talk about or despair, how the thought of suicide becomes evocative and unacceptable at the same time, the point being that the despair leads us to that place.

Earlier on, I had talk to him about how it was his responsibility to mine joy in his life, not someone else’s job. Strange to hear my own words back on his lips. Was I following him or maybe he was following me—we were on the same path.

We made ready for bed he said tonight is special mean we get to sleep together, but just this once and I become icy with anger, lying there, too tired to leave, having taken an allergy pill and a muscle relaxant at the same time. I spit out, you say that like I’m going to attack you? This is your decision. You call the shots. You defined the relationship. When he asked why I couldn’t just let it go and be friends. I said why are you so attached to nullifying thismrelationship thing because this is how it began, how we started. I don’t know when nor how it shifted into friendship with you but somewhere it did after the accident. I’ve been trying to hack away at it to no avail. because you keep giving me mixed signals.

I said part of the reason for my depression is the separation and I’m in grief over you as well. Boy did he deny that one, saying no no no no it’s about your parents, old issues, it’s not about me. I have nothing to do with it. Oh, then, denial is it. He was hurt that he was being attacked for being honest, saying we had three or four big episodes dealing with this, I thought we were clear. I reminded him again he was dictating the shape of things. He said something about my choosing the path of suffering and anger and hurt by being blocked. When I didn’t have to, as if I’d had a choice.

I can resolve to cut off all relationships with him, I’ve done it before, but I am not sure it’s the right path because I only feel right when I’m beside him. I had no answer, the anger dissipated as quickly as it came but I was glacial. His touch disarmed me and I rolled into his arms saying thank you for this evening. I get trapped in my own anger. Remember when I told you I had the hardest lesson was patience?

He said, you become stranger when you’re angry, you’re unrecognizable. I don’t think he said a beast or an animal. But funny how anger wounds you. You mean it for others, but it hurts you more, he said, falling asleep. He stroked my face. I contemplated that maybe he really doesn’t love me. He’s not in denial, or dishonest. Maybe something really did slough off. maybe he’s just a gadfly.

On the other hand, his depression and lack of desire have a lot to do with it. What is the best path to take? We were in contact all night long, mammalian warmth, creature comfort. I dreamed of finding a rubber on his desk and freaked only to discover it wasn’t opened. Still, it upset me because it was all out there on the table—literally. For me, or another woman I don’t have a clue.

Another tidbit—maybe we’re just dreaming up this moment during our long talks. I told him accident unhinged me and made a hole in my psyche and he was inside my head. He said I am you, there is no division. We are all one. I said I am afraid I am a fraud, and  he said, we all feel that way inside.

Tuesday, April 7, 1998

Journal entry, 4/7/98, continued, my mother’s marriage certificate, tax woes


4/7/1998  I fell asleep sometime after 8 PM and awoke at 10:30 with the TV blaring, some lame squawk show, so I turned off the lights and went back to sleep—only to awaken again at 6:30 in the morning. I dozed until 7:30 AM, my first full night’s sleep since I left Niel’s place in February. For lent I gave up sleep? I don’t think so. I awoke with erotic thoughts of Neil and wondering if I jumped his bones if that would’ve made any difference, or would he have rejected me anyway?

Yesterday my mother‘s marriage certificate arrived in the mail and I had to laugh, she told me they were married sometime in February or March 1952, this after telling me I was born at eight months, or I was a love child. But the date was June 29th! Practically July—and I was born in November. Talk about being on the way. I was not an eight-month baby but a five-month baby. Right? She said I was the only child she carried full-term most likely because I was conceived in March. Whose wedding Was it, I wonder?

Neil called, wanting to know about Walt Whitman! and I gave some pointers on what to look for: free verse, his was the first truly American poetic form, etc. Then he asked me if I I plan to file my taxes and we got into an imbroglio—I become sullen and quiet. 

He prods me, asking if I choose to pack around this pain and suffering. I accuse him of abandoning me, not making the time to help me. I felt betrayed, and that he didn’t listen to me. What I needed was someone to physically walk me through the process, to hold my hand. He said he would as soon as school was out, but this year he wouldn’t be able to help me at all. I’m angry because he didn’t help me when he said he would, and now there was no time for me. I am not a high priority. How He worked his way out of that promise saying he’d help me, when all he did was to drive me to Office Depot to pick up some files and ledgers. That’s not supporting me,  or is it going over the process so I understand what I’m supposed to be doing.

Journal entry, 4/7/98 reprise and regret


4/7/98  By now I must assume that he has gotten all my little notes, about Wendy’s the Easter party, my aunt Jane’s travel stuff. He’s leaving at the end of June for Scotland and going on a retreat in the Catskills for 10 days for the ashram. Whatever. It’s hard for me to accept that the ashram stuff is actually good for him, I think it makes him compartmentalize things even more. He maintains that its kept him whole. That’s debatable.

And of course there’s my missive. I’ve never let someone into my journal like that before, so it’s a big risk. He will hopefully see another side of me that isn’t readily available and perhaps be more understanding. Or not. Trouble is, he’s not much of a reader. Will he even bother to read it? I think so, but retention is a whole other matter. It’s a lively enough read, and it’s all about him—you know, the actor ego—so maybe.

Monday, April 6, 1998

Journal entry, 4/6/98 continued, home again

4/6 continued… Home again, not because I want to be here, but because I can’t stand what has happened to us, and so waiting around for Neil is pure torture. I get into a lather too easily, and I was sleepy coming home, partially because the alcohol, too much Guinness and champagne during the course of the evening, and partially because of depression coming on, having found his wishlist what he wants—a wife and kids—thinking what’s wrong with me? I feel marginalized, I am still not convinced he doesn’t love me though he is icy, but we’re both a little cool towards each other.

I left a copy of my journal notes to August 8 I left a quick note saying I thought he’d be interested in reading my notes to jog his memory that we were never merely pals, before the accident. I said I understood if someone falls in love and then out of love again, that’s another story. But to say that there was never anything there? He has done me a most grevious wrong and I don’t know anything that can right it.

Journal entry, 4/6/98, continued, Actors can’t commit

4/6 continued.... Bedtime roulette—since Gary Mullan was staying over on the couch after the Bay Area Theater Circle Critic’s Award, Neil and I slept together, chaste, but still we snuggled. He didn’t move away, but there’s a gulf between us. I slept in for the first time in ages. It seems like I can only sleep in at Neil‘s. Will this never stop?

Neil got up at five to take Gary to the airport, and then onto the ashram. So I’m here, but not quite alone. Tom Harrell, the intern, is here too for the month and as we go through our rather public trials and tribulations, I really wish Tom wasn’t here. He’s moved in, and I’m not really welcome. That’s not really true as Neil said this house loves you and you were always welcome here. Odd because he’s moved things around and I feel displaced as if the things themselves represented the familiar placeholders for something more than time and memory.

But, now he’s away at school and I haven’t a clue as to the long range plan. If I’m to leave, I should do it soon as traffic is horrendous in the afternoon.

I’m invited to Easter at Wendy Worsley’s. Maybe I should be satisfied with just that, be friends from afar, friends from a distance across the room.

As we drove across the Bay Bridge last night, Neil said it was really good to see the gang—his family—again, that he missed them and didn’t realize it. I was pretty reserved yesterday, feeling ambivalent after Sunday, though my cousin Sinead said you guys were in each others’s hip pockets. Maybe so, but I suspect we are both a bit frozen and I don’t see any thaw, we are both on our guard.

At Kate O’Brien’s I told Wendy about leaving Neil, but she said she already knew. I said that I was sorry for having kidnapped him on Sunday evening, but it was the first time we’ve had a normal interaction since I had left. She said, we must hope and pray for it. I also told Neil’s actor friend, Matt Klein, and he said, actors? They never can commit. Matt’s castmates, John Anderson and Alex were saying, awww what a nice guy Neil is, and here I am, thinking, what a jerk.

Journal entry, 4/6/98 Bay Area Theater Critic’s Circle Award


4/6/98 I was ambivalent about going to the Bay Area Theater Critic’s Circle Awards at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. I doubt that Neil would’ve understood if I didn’t show up. Was I so important? It’s just that I don’t like being part of the dog-and-pony show. Frank McGuinness’s play, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme racked in the awards. Naomi Gibson won Best Director for the season’s run, and Sons won Best Ensemble, that’s everybody, the entire cast. Wow. Gary Mullan flew up from LA, he was Neil‘s understudy, and took over the part after Neil’s accident.

Nearly everybody in the cast was at the event, except for Seamus who was in New York. It was great to see the old gang again. Someone said it was like doing the show all over again, that same feeling of camaraderie. At the awards, Larry Spears, Naomi’s husband, said, though we are a new theater group, we are here to stay.  

We all went out to Kate O’Brien‘s Pub afterwards. After all, this is where the play was originally staged. They put Naomi on the bar and she gave a speech, I can’t remember what all was said for the Guinness and the champagne were flowing. She gave another incoherent speech on a stool, and an Aran Islander, too drunk to stand, interrupted her every word.

We had a fabulous rooting squad, lots of us showed up, people whose names I didn’t even know, but I remember their faces. Some woman named Patricia remembered my name, so though we were injured, I must’ve made an impression. She asked if I was part of the Exit Theater group and I said no. Maybe it was a Verona connection? No. It didn’t matter. We drank to the stars.

Larry? Or someone at hired a stretch limousine and we all piled in taking turns cruising around the block. Going nowhere, other than in circles. Perne in a gyre. Such ridiculous fun. We told Gary that he was going to be next at the Oscars, and so he picks up the bar tab. 

I got a chance to talk with Gary’s girlfriend, whom he is thinking of leaving. I liked her. And I said to Gary, you must choose. Either you want your freedom, or you’re committed. I expected him to leave her, but he’s sticking it out. I’ve got to admire him for that. When I told him about my imbroglio with Neil, having left him on Ash Wednesday—thinking I never see him again, and yet here we are. He said these things have a way of working themselves out. I’m not so sure.

Sunday, April 5, 1998

Journal entry, 4/5/98 Palm Sunday


4/5/98 Palm Sunday. Neil came to mass in Nicasio.We went over to the Druid’s Hall for the annual church brunch. We took a hike up the hill above the church. He was reciting Malvolio’s lines for the play. We walked down to the old school house, stopping into the Rancho to say hi to Danny the bartender who bought us two beers, and then we had dinner at Sinead’s, it was family day to the max. He was about to leave around 5 PM with a little arm twisting he stayed for dinner.

On top of the hill we goofed around. He got me into an interesting hold, bending me back into his arms and up into the air not once, but three times so it look like we were doing the tango. Maybe we were, only there was no music. Suggestive much? I don’t know, I’m feeling a bit cold towards him.

I don’t know where we are going, but at the top of the hill we had a good time. We lay in one another’s arms, facing skyward until the dampness of the grass caught our attention. The long slow body contact, holding hands as he recited his lines, I didn’t know what to think. What are we, Victorians? Entire novels have been written about this kind of foreplay. Some eye contact, but beyond the superficial glance, I don’t read anything into it at this point because I’ve been there before.

As we came down the hill he said that he was there for me—whatever that means. Is it merely my coldness or is the spark really gone? He asked me to transform my love, have I done so or is it merely a form of denial?

Later I drew the runes and asked if it was over, and instead, I got strength. So I asked again and I got separation, but reversed, followed by the great awakening. All three cycles represent self -change, and terminations equal new beginnings. What am I to make of this? At first I thought it was completely negative reading as in yes it’s over, but upon closer inspection more meets the eye, though I harbor little hope.

In the bar I got pretty blitzed on one beer and I refused to give him his cues unless he gave me a wee kitty. He offered his cheek instead, and I said, no you got to kiss me on the lips, and so he kissed his finger and then touched my lips after meowing like a kitty. So I didn’t exactly win my point.

He may honestly have not remembered our dalliances last year before the accident. I didn’t give him my notes yet but I did give him the poems, which he read. I’m also on my period so I’m a bit more bitchy in general. We are more scrappy, but it’s definitely a new phase. He made a few references to last Palm Sunday about dragging me across the field like Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man. I said you’re too late, you had your chance. He was also admiring my ankles after mass, I had low heels on. The only form of touching allow these days is wrestling but the very fact that we are wrestling is an improvement over the past few months.

It was good to revisit the past in public, so we could not fulminate or get lost in endless arguments. It was safe ground. The real question—do we still like each other? That’s obvious. We still like body contact too. I told him I’d never be anything but who I already am, and he told me to shush and calm down. I said and you wouldn’t want it any other way. He agreed.

And there’s still more distance between us, separate paths but I need to get going on the lawsuit stuff and I need to not be estranged from him. But we have to resolve this business so we can move onto the next level, whatever that is. I do feel that we are growing apart but our lives are so intertwined.

I told him how difficult it was that he never listened to me or remembered what I said. I hate having to say I told you so, but I’ve been doing it a lot lately. Last semester was a pretty trying time for me. We hugged and he said he felt something of his old self returning. It’s been a long dark passage for both of us. I’m still a little mad at him so I am less willing to trade small favors. I am still smarting from Alison’s remark about my wearing my heart on my sleeve. Oh, so it’s that old game, is it? Does she still hold a torch for him somewhere beneath all that calm exterior? I picked Neil a thistle from the top of the hill. A thorn in each other’s side.

Wednesday, April 1, 1998

Journal notes: Dear Neil letter


Dear Neill,

The trouble with writers is that we tend to take detailed notes on everything—nothing is sacred, especially relationships. Remember I was a reporter. Neil, since we have wildly differing opinions as to what our relationship is/was, please find enclosed a copy of my journal entries to jog your memory. Perhaps you’ll see why I maintain we were never “just pals.”

You may have been frozen, in denial, ambivalent, or even apathetic (a loose cannon?), but I don’t think you’re as innocent, or platonic (scot-free?) as you insist you were (see late May/June entries). 

If, after you read this, you still maintain we were never more than “pals,” well, then, there’s little else to say, is there? You’re not an honest man. I can only assume you were either trifling with my heart (an unforgivable transgression in my book) plundering me, you said? Manipulative? Or you have an abysmal memory (which we already know you have!). 

If you really were in love with me and fell out of love, that would be a different matter—these things are out of our control— but you maintain we never crossed that line from pals to couple. Well, we did. You inferred you wanted to be with me on several occasions, never quite asking me outright. Saying you’ll take care of me the rest of my life, that I’ll never want for anything if I stay with you, etc. What was I to believe, I imagined it all?

You can hide the truth from yourself only for so long, but I promise you, it will come back to haunt you. Maybe this is the reason why all your relationships turn to ashes, maybe this is a samskara we’re to work on. Maybe this is our last chance. 

You once said you were afraid to begin an intimate relationship, because all of your relationships turned to ashes, and you didn’t know why. You’d rather keep my friendship than eventually lose me as a lover. Well, you’re losing me as a friend for not being brave enough to risk being my lover! How’s that for turned tables? So choose. Either you’re in or you’re out. What will it be? Believe me, I’m not wearing my heart on my sleeve, I never was, I’ve just brutally honest, and chose not to play games—which is more than I can say of you. (Games bore me.) 

I’ve put my life on hold because of you, because of the accident. Now, I want it back. I’m not interested in games of denial. Life’s too short, and too precious for that. For all that I’ve done for you, given you this past year, nothing can repay that gift of myself to you. 

But I ask of you to be brutally honest with yourself, and to ask yourself if there’s anything more between us than friendship—as if your life depended on it (as it did last June). It’s a sad state of affairs, you haven’t even allowed yourself the chance to find out! Hey, I have some big doubts about you too, but at least I’m willing to gamble. Would you cut off your nose to spite you face, are you really willing to lose me forever because of fear or pigheaded pride, I wonder?

If you’re still in complete denial, maybe you’ll find this document interesting for other reasons. Understand why I’m so frozen. You always wanted me to write about you. Maybe you’re stuck on your rut, and me in mine: though they may run parallel, never the twain shall meet. Right? By the way, it angers me that you ask me to deny (“transform”) my feelings, erase them as if they never existed. Your denial is my suffering. There was reason enough for my expectations to develop. 

Yes, we’re in agreement that we have a rare, deep connection. You said something to the effect: if there really is a deep connection, people just don’t go around taking their possessions (and money) back… You seem to forget you’re the one who’s rejected me. Your words, not so neutral. Beware a woman scorned. When a fox is caught in a beartrap, it will gnaw off its paw to escape. I’m learning to walk on three-legs; don’t rub salt in the open flesh of a phantom limb—for maybe I only dreamed it all up after all.

Please note I begin this treatise with dream entries and finish with events, noting the dejá vús whenever possible. Many times I felt the dejá vú happening but didn’t note them down because there just wasn’t enough to go on—mixed synaesthesia. I did very little revision except for the post accident notes as there were times I was too out of it to write, and took annotated notes, knowing I’d have to write them up later for the insurance company. This journal rewriting wasn’t exactly easy—as I had to go back into time, enter and relive a year of intense suffering, but I felt it was the only way to reach you since you don’t always hear me.

April Fools' Day, 1998, Forestville