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2:59 p.m. - September 03, 2006
Mindless chatter
Music, loud: The Finn Brothers
Desk, cluttered: Writing the teacherís guide
Mind, restless: Read? Walk? Do laundry?

Home now from the East Coast, a few days in DC and a road trip through Pennsylvania and New York with my sister, a few meetings with Barbara-the-Editor and a pick-up of my royalties check, a run-into with Dana and her best friend and roommate, who happens to be a former student of mine, followed by an invitation-date to a musical by Brad, who still does not understand I have zero interest in either him or musicals.

An interesting two weeks.

Home to a mountain of mail: Bathsheba has delivered her baby, named Sadie. An IRS over-payment refunded to me. RPís back-from-Jordan-welcome-home-party-invitation. A pile of books (Water for Elephants, The Stolen Child, others). Auto insurance premiums. A letter from The Prudential regarding ownership of my brotherís life insurance policy in question now that my mother is deceased (must call Tuesday and inform them she is certainly not deceased). Forms and papers to be signed to finalize the scholarship. 26 credit card offers.

Have I mentioned being overly fond of the shredder? It is true; feeding papers into the slot and hearing the repetitive, mantra-like ssscht relaxes me, and the vibrations arousing.

Bathsheba is a mother now, finally passing through that last gauze curtain keeping her from actualization. Of anyone I know, she is the one meant to be a mother and I am happy for her, perhaps a bitter happy because our friendship disappeared somewhere and somehow. The last time I checked, she and her husband have not used or cashed the wedding gift from January 2005. We have not spoken or corresponded since her wedding until today when I opened the envelope to find a picture of Sadie and a note on the back. All this time Iíve wondered if Mike disapproved of her friendship with a flaming-Sodomite-who-prowls-semen-coated-alleys-in-San-Francisco-by-night gay guy (that would be me via guilt by association), and knowing how strongly Bathsheba feels about Paulís views on Christian marriage and especially of a wifeís submitting to her husband, perhaps fading out of touch was the simplest way of moving on, a perfect complement to my own rejection issues where Iíd also rather fade away than make a move and be rebuffed. I just donít read people very well, constantly misinterpreting things enough to have learned sometimes itís best to just not say anything at all.

Like with Lori. And Joel. And Maya.

Oh! A bluejay just alit on the patio chair just outside the door and is peering at me in the eye as if my eyebrows are grubs tempting a hollow stomach. Now if the bluejay would speak and it were night, perhaps there would be a pitter-patter and a tap-tap-tap on the chamber door and a message would be delivered, something to rouse me from this self-pitying reverie.
Last night I terrified myself and this morning refreshed that terror, with the newfound pledge to shut the doors when I go to bed. As soon as spring comes, I sleep with the sliding glass door open every night, closing it only after the end of Indian Summer Ė Iíd rather have the cool and the nightsounds and the occasional spider rather than that shut-up feeling. Anyway, about 1 am last night I woke up because I heard footsteps crunching the dead lawn outside the door. Footsteps, not the pitter-patter of a cat or something else, but footsteps that stopped as I sat up in bed. Heart pounding, clearly visible by moonlight, was a form standing in the middle of the lawn. I sat there unsure whether I was dreaming or not and at a deeper level waiting to see who would make the first move. I got out of bed and called through the door You better get the fuck out of my backyard and flicked the light switch so the outside lights came on Ė and sure enough this guy took off running and jumped the side fence, taking down my gate. Not. A. dream. From the damage to the bougainvillea growing on the back fence, I think the kid/interloper/whatever came into my backyard from the house behind me, but why? For sanity Iím chalking up the experience to kids being kids. And oddly, Iím a bit proud of myself for not letting that immediate terror keep me immobile. Iím sure I responded from that primeval bit of self-preservation but I could have waited for the person to leave on his own, or done nothing at all. But I didnít, and this is a Remarkable Thing that came about by chance. I have to add Iíve never felt as macho as I did shouting through the screen door like that!

The true test will be tonight, but I already know Iím sleeping with the door shut.

My thoughts are scattered.

I enjoyed hugging Dana again, I really did. How odd to run into her, and how awkward it was to see her and my sister do the girl-shriek-hug thing. If I had not met Spec, Dana and I would be a married couple today, barring any deviation from our plans, and maybe even with a child. Thereís too much in me that yearns for the could-have-been, you know? I didnít know what to say to her, as if thereís some pre-programmed small-talk for encounters like this. We chatted about her family, my work and hers, laughing about how unexpected it was to run into each other in DC rather than here or Boston. What do I regret more, not being with Dana or not having executed the plans I made with its built-in security, purpose, and goals? Is it her hand I wished to hold, or anybodyís hand?

And the only person interested in holding my hand is Brad, all too eager and friendly and nice and too old for me. Doesnít he know that I want someone who will treat me like shit so I can beat on myself even more? I donít know what to do with nice guys! I might be inclined to find out if he wasnít 20 years older than me (easily), wasnít into musicals, and wasnít flaming. Taken together, itís just too much.

Since I picked up that royalties check Iíve been on a spending binge. Not just one or two, but three pairs of shoes. Shirts. Pants. A check to church. Another to the alma mater. Having my bathroom remodeled starting in mid-September. The front yard will be landscaped by a born-in-America-speaks-English-contractorís-license-verified-stud of a man in two weeks. Iím looking at buying a hybrid, so bye-bye SUV. And because I canít have pleasure without pain, I look at traveling sites knowing I wonít go. Easter Island. Libya. Zambia. St. Catherineís Monastery. The list is endless and pressing: I do not want to be alone again this Christmas, so maybe, I tell myself, just maybe I can go somewhere. But every day that I say donít be silly, or I donít like to travel alone, or any of those permutations is another day closer to Christmas and the guaranteed now-itís-too-late date. Someday, right?

Besides, Iím taking two days to explore more of New York in November, just me and a rental car. That should be enough.


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