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1:56 a.m. - January 10, 2003
One of those nights
I thought I was doing well, opening up, drawing close, engaging others. And I tried and was proud, See I can do this. It was not enough, was it, Bathsheba?

The thing is, I understand.


It began as one of those nights and has become one full-fledged and how I didn't want to stop talking but people do go to sleep and so should I but the bogey-man is on the prowl. Earlier this week a local man was caught after he tried to (literally) buy a four year old boy, this man being the same who kidnapped and ruined the life of a boy in the early 80s and with the media coverage, I've been thinking a lot about it and how can I not think about it tonight? Bad memories all, though I find the more I talk about them the less pernicious, the less foreboding it is but these things do not come up in casual conversation so they stay in the gut like a matzo ball and weigh me down. What does one do when today is tinged by yesterday and no amount of cover-up suffices? It's like trying to ignore your skin or build a house of cards and everything wobbles, but isn't it in our nature to carry on, to see how far we can go before collapse? I told myself no more visits to the house, no more driving by to stand across the street and remember things, no point in dredging up what's best forgotten but that's a cop-out, not dealing with things. Or is it? Maybe some things should be hidden away out of sight out of mind out of me and perhaps that's the problem I have, not having settled on any one approach and following through. I tried the let's forget game, then the let's examine and deal game, and now I can't say which was better because both were awful and its only getting worse, degenerating like an off-Broadway show whose curtains should never have parted.

I worry about the guy who hurt me and it hurts to admit this, that I worry about what he may have done and who else and for how long and I think back and try to recall when things changed but it was one day he was gone and I wonder if I felt relief but now it's anxiety, wondering where he is. Out of sight out of mind could be creeping up behind me, watching again like he did from over the fence and whistling, following me to school and saying Let me push you on the swing and his mocking laughter, he had a friend named Philip and they both laughed and I think maybe this is when I disconnected, shut people out, learned to adapt to others rather than being myself, fade into the background. I wonder if I could find him, walk up to his door and see who he is now and maybe I'd hurt him, maybe not, but you and I know I can't do this, afraid of his shadow still. I'm 27 years old and I can put a face and name to my bogey-man, can you? I can describe the texture of his skin and the sound of his zipper and that awful laugh and the prickly feeling on the back of my neck when I knew he was looking at me, how he'd drive close by while I was riding my bike and I stopped riding and then the bicycle was stolen but it wasn't, it was left in the lot behind the school when I ran to hide in the bushes by the buildings because he was chasing me and maybe it was for fun maybe not, maybe it was to hurt me. How can this be on my mind still, after all these years? Yes, things leave impressions but don't they dissipate, go away, fade? I feel beseiged by memories and I desperately want to say I own those memories and am not a weak-kneed kid, some pawn in another's game.

There will be a day when I can look squarely and not run or hurt or want to cry feel dirty used second unimportant weak powerless cringe hurt nothing.


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