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Twenty-First Sitting

I remember a feeling that I'm tempted to call indescribable but which I should not, as I'm going to attempt to describe it. It's associated with certain music, with different albums over different periods of time for me, but always appearing at the time to be unique only to that album that is playing, prompting repeated listenings at future, less-inspired but equally ill-lit times to try to get it back. It comes often from meditating on the Good God, that is not the He but the Other, on the Hugeness as it is encapsulated in the idol of whomever I happen to be obsessing over, and usually at that point writing to, trying desperately through word or song to ease the burden of my flood of powerful emotion, directed at different people over different times but always at the time channeled uniquely and directly to Her. It makes the mind haze over with a sparkling clarity, a gaze that pierces so far down into the page that it has to shop at a deep and tall store ("A reference! A rehashing reference! My kingdom for a reference!"), broken only momentarily by trains of thought that lead to sickly cycles of critical self-consciousness and lame plays-on-words. In this tone I wrote her letters, some sections of them anyway, saying nothing I was not allowed to say but having no emotional restraint whatsoever. In this tone I wrote more to her on the plane on the way there, listening to a portable CD player that kept skipping and freaking out just to taunt and kindle whatever passion-mongering the tunes were performing on my exposed neck. In this tone I did I-don't-yet-know-what, as feedback from her has been as confusing as communications from people tend to be when they matter most. All this when my visit here is devoid of dramatic purpose (I seek not to sweep her heart away and escape this too-cold-place, though I sure wouldn't mind doing so), filled with mundane purpose (I am to finish this book and study for the GRE, the Graduate Records Exam for the uninitiated, so as to facilitate future lousy career moves on my part), and which I enter with role fixed, on my honor as described in an implicit contract more restricting than the explicit one contained herein. The book, this hunt, this destruction I will wreak, these are my sublimation... that and jogging in very cold weather.

As vague as I was trying to be just then, I guess I just gave away the fact that He's not dead (despite Nietzsche), or else why would I have any role other than the lover awaited? Yes, He's alive. How was he convinced? Why would his insecurity break, or be transformed, so that He said it was okay (though strange) that I come? I have no idea. I suspect that for the Damaged, Paranoia is not the only destination, as I stated before. There is also Obliviousness. I guess he got reprogrammed or something last time he was in the shop. The change was apparent the last time I saw him. It was less than a week ago, when I pulled into that same driveway of the Place She used to live. I had offered (after being hinted at extensively) to bring up more of her belongings that didn't fit on the plane the first time, and so had to stop by their Place to pick them up. I had expected a bundle of stuff waiting just inside the door, as She had informed Him beforehand that I was coming (though not exactly when)...

I dread an immanent and painful narrative scene, and even though it would be about six lines long (I wasn't there very long), I must do something perverse. She's a nature-person, you see (hence Alaska); she travels; she gets funky internships that require her to scuba dive, climb mountains, and/or (what is relevant here) collect bugs and put them in jars. So one of the things I caught sight of in the process of our accidental courtship was this leathery bag containing lots of little jars, each with a dead bug. No, I didn't have to bring these bugs on the plane, which would be embarrassing, but I will narrate the following flashback from the point of view of a particularly nasty bug that was for some plot-device reason that I won't bother to invent perched on His shoulder throughout and, despite the five years or so since his removal from nature, not quite dead, and still pretty damn perceptive. This perspective may actually be indistinguishable from my own (except that I was not on His shoulder at the time), but it makes me feel better about writing.

***

Oh My God Kill Me Please! He is jiggling, and that makes me nervous, because my little jar-thing might fall and break... but I guess that would be good because Oh My God Won't Somebody Just Step On Me Or Something! Ah! He is jiggling because He always jiggles slightly, which means I am always nervous, but moreso when he moves, because his movements are very sudden, though overlaid with an apparent calm that says "You have no idea what I will do next, though I appear harmless enough." That mustache is really beginning to bother me; for so long I thought it was another bug, and when it ignored my cries for help I became angry and threatened to sue. Then it looked like it would kick my ass, so I huddled as far back in my jar as I could (about 1mm) and tried to look inconspicuous. The doorbell has not rung, because there is no doorbell, but if there was, it would have rung, because there's someone at the door. The twelfth knock finally made its way up the stairs, and He is rising in a slightly hunched manner to trot down the stairs, the mantis on his lip rearing up as if to attack. No, it's only fur; it's only fur... I've got to believe that now, true though it may be. He's opening the door... and... it's another slightly hunched trotting fellow in a long black coat. He has no visible bugs on him, though I suppose some may have claimed him already. As I am trapped in a jar and have a death wish, I'm not really into colonization anyway at this point, but it's good to notice these things. Sir, Excuse ME... Oh Sir Kill Me Please Please! Or at least commit some dirty betraying woman-stealing kind of act on my host Holy Father here, okay?

Speaking of that, He's changed recently. Since She's been gone, He's become more relaxed, more agonizingly calm, though still jiggling. He's breaking some of His ruts, He's moved to a different room in the same house, He's getting some of His scholastic/career stuff together, picking up abandoned projects and actually finishing some more recent ones. The two exchange greetings, the visitor faking a pretty casual demeanor, the host unfathomable as usual, but certainly completely and overly polite; the malicious glint in the eye may just be me imagining things. He is caught off guard by the visitor showing quite then, and He hasn't gathered the stuff to be taken yet. He does so as the visitor waits, mumbling aloud off a list he somehow received, dashing about, throwing various items in a box, items essential enough to want, but not so essential to have taken the first time, like some chemical meant to destroy sneaker odor, later abandoned in Chicago because ya can't take aerosols on planes, ya know, or they explode. `Strue; ask anyone. The visitor waits, following Him around the house to make sure he doesn't go somewhere and construct a weapon. They speak briefly on matters of mutual interest ("She does have a nice ****, doesn't she?" "Oh, yes."), of mutual acquaintances and the progress of each other's plans. He reveals he will be staying in that house at least through December (i.e., not going to Alaska by Thanksgiving, as She had said she hoped), but mostly He just gathers, stopping only for a fifteen minute phone conversation while the visitor reads last year's GRE booklet (which looks about the same as this year's). The stuff is gathered and in a few small boxes. Thanks are exchanged; the visitor gathers the items and He walks him to the door. He grins: "Have a good time when the frost hits." The very very slight maliciousness contrasts with his over-politeness so as to create the illusion of Satan. His grin widens and widens, dimples popping into the increasingly stretched pale skin, the mantis stretching with it, out wider... wider... to the shoulder, brushing my jar, and it strikes Yeah, yeah, yeah! <<crash>>

***

No, this somebody-having-to-get-killed in every flashback convention isn't even slightly amusing anymore, and I did already break it with that little bit I sneaked in at the end of the last sitting about Me and Her falling asleep on the first night (Actually the first and second nights combined, to be totally accurate about it; my guitar was not unpacked the first night.), so maybe I'm ready as a writer to transcend that little annoyance and we can have some good Dostoyevsky-level stuff. Or at least Hemingway: "There are many trees. They are tall." Oooo, yeah. I'll have you know, I almost enjoyed writing that last flashback, though as soon as it was finished the dread of the next one hit full force. Bah! It's all your fault. You should have just been there with me throughout, and then I wouldn't have to write. Bah! Go home, now. I will call you when there is work.

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© 1993 Mark A. Linsenmayer [ Contents ]