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this is obviously the day to drive back, and mike and i sail over highways with no one on them, this early in the morning. we promised ourselves to eat well this trip, so we are searching for Q: a diner, a subway, anything but mickey d’s? A: Wyoming, PA, the Colonial Restaurant. We arrive, unsure until an older man waves us in, says “well, just sit anywhere, smoking on this side of the room.” good food, great service. three generations of waitresses, all blonde either naturally or not, all in white with different nurse shoes on. no credit cards.
state college is different after the new year. both years i thought it was the crispness of the quiet, the way only kids and adults are out, taking pictures of the ice sculptures, the lack of cars downtown, the way i hang out with mellon and aaron, sitting on the couch, talking sporadically about nothing, drinking tea. but no (although mellon and aaron made me really happy, for continuity’s sake). the difference is in the air, in the hanging of my promises to myself. this year will, of course, be different. and that’s the difference, my awesome respect of whatwillbe.
pause, afraid of hurting him, afraid of squeezing too tight. he is so tired, so drained, lost some weight, still can’t sit for long. but his eyes are so bright – he looks thankful, unbelieving, and frightened somehow. we walk back to my place, lay together, invincible, and i rub his legs, his feet, which he can’t reach. then it happens – i am lightened from past up to this moment, and i am in awe of it. he has saved my life, and i don’t know where it came from, but those words in my voice ring the way truths do.
reading other people’s hundred words, thinking. greg’s alseep downstairs, snoring softly, mumbling, reaching for my hand as i pass. i’ve been away too long, i think, as he stretches, winces in pain, and reestablishes his weight on his side, away from the wound. later: we go to the bookstore, sit for hours with a eudora welty short story set (mom’s favorite? no one ever told me), only one of the women’s toilets isn’t clogged, all sorts of people here, it’s nice and warm, even on the bus, we laugh and joke and i dance around him in the cold. missed.
the magnetic fields rule so much. i am looking for the song whose first chorus says, “you you can read me anything.”aha, the book of love.
i love working with yarn, so soft, so warm, pulls stuff from single strands, makes things new, it’s amazing.
have you ever turned the pillow in the middle of sleeping or talking or holding? it’s all crisp and cool on the other side. love that.
and i love the people around me and wish they’d be here soon, except huburt, who came and went at 4:30 in the morning. what’s up with that, yo?
at first it was just dusting, a pleasant reminder that it’s winter. then it got pretty outside, and i decided to bake cookies. heather stirred, jeff helped and cleaned up and made macaroni salad. then it got deep, and you could see it on the deck railing, watch the depth pile up. then we waited for hubert, and waited, and waited, and cars got stuck outside, and we decided not to move jeff’s car, and it got deeper and deeper and whiter and whiter. of course we will still have school, but it will be nice to crawl into bed.
first day of school, snow day, a full foot, everywhere, it’s gorgeous even when some of it lands on my head. i was so sick last night, did so much sleeping, dreamed trexler was blonde, woke up in the middle shaking when my alarm went off, had to go back to sleep, no question about it. felt like i did when i was little, the sick where you’re hyperaware of your body and what it’s doing wrong. planned my day out, reading ahead of time, getting stuff together, eating dinner, lab. also signed up today for counseling. i feel brave.
apologies for my behavior...
i find myself lazier and lazier...
i am unsure of the cause, but i have my suspicions. things are different now...
the air is more...
somehow i am unable to keep the nonrythmic whirring clicks out of my thinking, out of my speech patterns. and for this i am sorry. there are robots and they are increasing their frenzy, their fury, and all i can do is sit and sip a lemonade and watch. put my feet up, watch them destroy the world, each other, wheels, luhks.
there are robots and they are going crazy, and i am lazy.
i want this to be around
when i am gone.
(not that i am planning on
i am just craving some
some last word,
some hope that my work
(whatever that might be)
that years from now,
ages from now,
read something or
think something or
feel something that
i helped bring into being.
i want to be the laugh
i could not supress
as john buck
like a grasshopper
in class today,
his body everywhere
i forgot he
had a cane when
he came in.
Zingblat. Buttersquitch. Freenilly. Wallerscotch. Hoppifloozy. Manitoba. Spiriman. Flazzlefwee. Wangbiddle. Wallytiday. Keepersmith. Frublescum. Rawiquid. Merz. Walkahab. Smillydud. Fwablehipadip.
:Words I wish were my last name. Now Luhks,
a great last name. Drobish. Sandel. Mellon. Jones is great because it has character if you carry it right, which he does. Baker, yeah, things
with Baker. Klenk you can yell:
And Trexler, a name you could hang out with, a last name you could buy a beer. Dailey, daily dose, so it makes perfect sense. Brown and Ristey, what could be better together?
But you know, I still like Milks.
erin luhks goes slip sliding all over the place in the snow.
part of this is her footwear choice (treadworn sneaks), part is her way of walking (she stops, bounces suddenly, turns to you, slows down, sometimes she claps), part is the way she slip-slides through everything. that’s not an insult, at all. i picture that big dog (i have one now) getting all excited and barking and running and sliding on a kitchen floor, banging into the back door, because that’s the only way he’d answer the door in the first place. woof woof slide thump. i love erin.
i’m not falling. but that’s what i had meant, this whole time. catch me. do you care? is something important to you? i’ll pretend, i’ll play it is, but my actions will say something else. actions are louder than intent, after all.
shake your head. whatever, she lies. ask me that question with your eyebrows: are you sure you wanted to just say that? you bet i am. uncomfortable? perhaps you should be. i’m a shifter, i change form, drift like sand, bend like plastic, yield.
i only understand this now.
stink, i am so sorry.
look how they shine for you.
there is not much more i can say. i just said it.
i am new and young still, and there is so much i do not know about me, so much i can’t understand until it comes welling up out of me. but i understand this.
(i am blessed, blessed by matt for loving me, for feeling the way i know we felt.)
the bigger blessing is that i taste this twice, the sweet of sitting between your legs last night, feeling breath in me as you near sleep with my hands over yours.
what happened to me today: i was validated. this is not the correct word for what happens – i get the email that i’m into stanford, and greg, half-asleep and sick, is questioning, moaning a little because i’m making crashbangbjorkamounts of noise. and the accompanying phone message:
“You can have anything you want.”
i am so grateful, so happy. i have plans for next year, possible plans. In the department I thought about yesterday, the work i thought i’d never do or see. and matt celebrates with me, and we are easy. today is a fantastic day, i am new again.
me, age fifteen: i had guinea pig holes at the bottom of the shoulder of all my shirts, up to my right, where abby had chewed lovingly. i had longer hair, and it was closer then to being filamented with gold than now. my mother was getting sick, my sister was the intensely difficult age of whatever she was. i fell for a boy – and called it love – because he wrote to me and i to him, and because our hands touched when he passed them to me in the hallway, our eyes not meeting, appearances seeming to not notice.
it was nearly drug-induced, if i even know what that feels like. it was an opiated, smoky place to spend my evenings. sometimes i would read, and sometimes i wouldn’t. but i wasn’t moving forward, never. and greg, i cried every night. every night. being there didn’t help, but i put stock in the fact that it might. it would be fixed, somehow, in the room with the two windows. there would be something that would catch me, like the last part of a key in a lock, and turn it and open me, saved from air, untarnished.
saw you last night, with tony, who is in my english class. not that it matters. and i wanted to run up to you, because i know that if i looked at you with
, your eyes would light up, and i would make you happy. once, important, that.
i don’t know why suddenly i regret so heavily. yes i do: i am going away, and i have hurt you. i told him later that it wasn’t at all that i missed you. but i miss the deceptive safety of your bed, the languishing spirals we created each other.
(now that future is a little more concrete, it’s a lot more on my mind)
a going-away-from-home note, in three torn fragments, left in three places:
i am going to miss:
knowing you’re someplace in state college.
knowing you’re around for me, no matter what.
please take care of dave for me.
i will miss:
waking up next to you.
your uncle, although i never met him.
(i will keep a watch for him, i promise.)
i shall miss:
craploads of dirty dishes.
standing outside in the snow.
hearing i reek.
I am in awe of all that I know, of all I never have known but am now starting to realize. That my presence in my romantic relationships is documented – Frost saw it, RP Warren did too. There’s a quiet control to a situation these women and I can sometimes have, we watch our loves come and go from our lives and realize much later how important they were, we fix the problems that are brought to us, anxious notwithstanding. I wish I could explain this better…this place I have been that are documented so freely. Bless the written word.
questions for people older than i am:
am i going to carry M with me like this everywhere i go? i hear the songs he played, pause when certain songs waft by through car radios. does this end? does it get less severe? it doesn’t hurt, save a sweetbitter knowledge that we changed each other.
does the feeling of transience go away once you’ve got a job and a washing machine?
is becca right? will that feeling about talking to people older and/or in positions of “power” disappear when i am thirty? (sure hope so)
and greg: he is good.
watching ann interpret for yolanda king, who is reminiscent of her father, says the man next to me, who saw dr. king speak when he came to campus all those years ago. she is giant and billowing and pink, and i watch ann move her hands, dressed quietly in gray, so that we can see her hands move, quick and pink and small. then watch nommo go! such that my heart jumps out of my skin, the way it always does. and then there is the joy, the music that vibrates my body, up sweeping through my legs, then...amazing.
i will write lindsay ann-
you do not know how good you are. what it is you did to change me? to be honest i don’t understand. i want you to know, more than anything, that i admired your mooring in your faith, your ability to apply it to your life, to share that bottle with me in your car in the rain and laugh and cry. i know i’ve been ignoring you, and i’m sorry – how is ghana? are you learning? – but i wanted to be able to tell you this, and i waited until it was completely true.
i love being here. it happened suddenly, and i'm sure that all the acceptances and plane tix and interviews have helped me self-motivate along a little. but i really do love it. i love being a near-grad-student, i love knowing things, i love being here late and working, i love the fact that although my experiment didn't work i could troubleshoot and figure out what to do next, i love the fact that don talks to me like a real person, i love it. i am so grateful he doesn't hate me, because i nearly gave him some big reasons.
i have to pick a poem to read for class sometime this month. i wanted to read seamus heaney, but i have found that my voice does not match his. i am not older and male and well-read, and his voice is. i want to do a good job for this class. school makes me so much happier now. thirteen credits is perfect...i find it really difficult to not go to lab, to figure out my schedule. i have earned this time. i just wish i could get it together enough to clean my shoebox room and do my laundry.
i read the coolest thing this week, about a little single-person "pedestrian assistant:" tiny platforms with a handle, and they respond to your balance so that you move, forward, backwards, in little circles. newcomers are asked to "think about stopping," because your balance will change, and the machine will respond. i find this incredible: they are supercute, like imacs. if they can make them cheaper than three grand, these might totally increase mobility for all sorts of folks. but it will make me sad to see people not bopping up and down in crowds as they wear out shoe leather.
i think, so good to be awake and alive and to have it be saturday, glorious saturday, a gorgous saterday after i got all my bills paid last night, it was gorgous waking up next to someone this morning. (last night we had christmas, this might be it.) (today is his BIRFDAY.) makes me feel happy and free.
on a side note, you really ought to see Monsters, Inc. i am fairly anti-disney at this point, but it was perfect and clever. i haven't come out of a movie feeling that good in a long time. erin has great ideas.
days like today make me think of three years ago, when weather was warm without warning, the sky streaked pink and gold before it burnt into husks of blue that still showed the tracks of jet planes, the smells and smiles, the music my roommate used to play, of someone next to you, every night, of the sweet knowledge at dusk: if one had to pick a night to fall in love and touch and find ground, tonight would be it, the streetlamps lighting up one by one. tonight or soon it will be cold again, my oldperson ankle says.
"Hey, I've spent extended amounts of time being bored in the woods." - Greg Jones, on musically being able to make birds sing again after they quiet as he and I stroll by.
"...the experiments started getting tough, the lab reports were tossed, if not for the courage of the fearless YOU the mass spec would be lost, the mass spec would be lost..." (Mellon, after remarking that "a four hour lab, a four hour lab" sounded vaguely familiar)
astromellon: that island would have lots of professors
let ME tell YOU: i am the luckiest kid on the planet because i got to make microwave s'mores with erin luhks on a day that felt like freshman year, felt like the village, felt like summer. we were in t shirts and the marshmallows would sit for a while, spinning on her dorm mircrowave's glassy thingy, and then they would fall over, even if you stuck the chocolate through the marshmallow the right way. YUM. it was really neat and i really like her. erin, if you ever need a reference to how great you are, i'm your kid.
pop culture entry:
thirty days hath september
jello puddin pops. does anyone still eat them? they used to get this slippery ice around the stick on the bottom - do you remember? and if they were swirl, they'd sweet-slide down.
also: what is it about dumb kids at this campus in A&F? The signs in the windows say things like: "Talk with your eyes. Say goodnight at sunrise."
a conversation with jdavid:
milks: "J-Dave! . . . you're like J-Lo!"
Dave: "Sorta. I'm hotter though.
milks: "Your butt is better."
Dave: "Yeah, it is."
in no particular order, what my therapist said to me today:
your relationships seem marked by sadness, or at least the things you bring to me. are you aware of that?
since you're making this big move, wherever you may be, you have the potential to change what your relationships are like.
yeah, it's hard to care for people like your parents and watch them do stuff like date nineteen-year-old girls.
wow, sounds like you had a hard weekend.
i also bet you're naturally comfortable with this kind of sadness, because it's in many ways what you grew up with.
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