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Thirtieth Sitting

Oh... hi. I just took a forty-minute shower and the damage-to-the-brain-via-steam phenomena is out in full. It's really groovy...

We lay on the... the something... the ground... with clover and leaves and all. Me and Her. Side by side by... well, She lying on Her side, though not on Mine. No touching. It was... at the entrance to the forest of preserves where we ran and also jogged... the synchronized thing... sexual SUBLIMATION. It was... what? Two weeks before She left? I'm not... sure. It all seems... hazy (oh, you noticed?).

"I want desperately not to waste these precious days..." I spoke with gaze fixed about eight feet up on a small spot of nothing.

"You're not, are you? What do you mean?" Her voice was piercing light, as always -- the kind that makes shiny things shinier. I personally was feeling a bit dull, though...

"I just feel like... there's something I should be doing... that I'm not... that... I don't know..." A wave of violent energy passed through me and was gone, leaving me incoherent again.

"Like what?" There's nothing to do... right? What would you do?" An innocent and reasonable question.

"Well, I could throw you down and kiss you all over right here and now. You know, that kind of thing." An innocent and reasonable answer. "...At least for a few minutes..." I trailed off and continued to stare after flashing Her a quick innocent and reasonable glance.

"Those would be a pretty expensive few minutes." I could hear Her brow furrow with helpless concern.

...Or maybe that all took place only a few nights ago... not near the forest... I'm not sure...

"I could just go back now." I rolled over and stared at a space a few inches from the front of Her bed, which I lay next to in my sleeping place... as close to Her sleeping place as possible, as if to spiritually enter it and make like a coin-op hotel vibra-bed.

"You're going back anyway in... what... two weeks? There's no rush."

"Or I could get my own place." I had been planning that originally anyway; it seemed a bit too rude to impose myself as a three and a half week house-guest.

"That's one option."

"Or I could sleep in the living room."

"That's the other option."

"Or just get some actual semblance of maturity and stop acting like a jerk."

She smiled.

...Or maybe it was the evening after that...

"But I don't know," I said. "I'm not happy that I act this way, that I'm so damn impatient, but it's there, and I don't know how trying to put a label like `friendship' on what's going on here will seem in any way relevant."

"If You were Him, You'd be happy I am acting this way."

"I know. I know. I understand. I approve... mostly." My stomach turned as the setting changed again to my front porch a few days after our lie near the woods. "But if you want it that way, then you have to set and enforce the boundaries, because I'm not in any state to do it."

She paused as the scene changed again. "...I don't know if I'm in the best shape for it either. I'm confused. That's the point, isn't it?"

I grunted noncommittally as my stomach tightened further over a number of different settings and conversations. "It just seems... if You know that He's not going to get any better, if you've gone through these patterns time and time again..."

...And back to the present: "You have no idea how much of a newcomer You are. There's all this history... I can't just hurt Him."

"Uh huh."

Now I don't think we were even in the same place, but talking long distance after She was gone and before I was here. "So if you want to be here -- and I do want you to -- you're going to have to really understand the situation and take some of the burden of enforcing boundaries on yourself."

...And now not even at the same time, but over the new and misunderstanding-fostering technology of electronic mail: "Well, that sounds fine in the abstract, but You know I can't deal with general requirements like that. I need specifics."

"Specifics like `no kissing on the neck?'" Her reference to an incident I mentioned but have yet to detail jerked me back to Her vicinity, which was I don't know where... All I know is We were spinning. "I don't think We need to draw up a contract or anything... There are just some obvious prohibitions..."

We slowed, and are back to the present, standing on Her kitchen floor. I suggested: "It seems anything you'd do with your family should be okay: I mean, that excludes anything sexual."

"Maybe... I sometimes hold hands with my sister," she said. We stumbled to Her room, still dizzy and clutching each other to keep from falling. "You're thinking on the right track."

Flopping down onto my "bed," I stopped to think, and grinned. "Well, haven't You stayed in a hotel room with your family and ended up having to sleep in the same bed as one of your sisters..."

She flopped down on Hers. "Now you're just abusing it." She rolled over to face away from Me.

...and the setting changed once more, back to the forestry lie-about, but remained simultaneously in the present. "I just... don't want to waste these days. I'm going to miss you... a lot."

I started to turn over in the other direction, towards SLEEP, but was stopped by the touch of Her hand on My head. "I'll miss you too."


"Now, class, what do you see?" La Profesora has taken control of the literary self-critique at this point. She teaches the art history class that She attends officially and I use on occasion to get myself out of bed.

"Horsies and duckies and Gerald Ford," blurted an eager! student. All of the students here are eager!. They are also all thirty-five years old. They are eager because they have come back to school to escape their crappy jobs (I suspect). In this case the eager!ness is advantageous to us, as it moves the "dialogue" along and refers it back to youthful parts of the book with a subtle verbatim early-part-of-the-book reference that, at long last, does not refer even indirectly to an anal-orifice-trophy-case. Usually the eager!ness is merely annoying. As usual, though, the student is dead wrong, as the class is being shown a slide of a statue depicting a nude turned backside. Funny, funny world.

"No. What do you really see?"

"Um. A BUTT??!!" This was a unison line from the entire class. They practiced very hard to say it with such precision. Unfortunately, they spit when they talk and so the projection screen is now an unrecognizable blur.

"No. What do you really really see?" La Profesora is insistent.

"I see an unrecognizable blur." This was spoken by Obvious Man, who is purely a literary device, though for what purpose I cannot say.

"Precisely. You see lines and shapes and colors... on a slide... with spit on it... Nice target lugeying, class." This last was spoken sarcastically; She'd seen better.

"I see patterns," said I, as indicated by the "I" in the statement beginning with "I see..." I'm the writer so I say everything. Duh hay, Obvious Man.

"I see patterns," said I again, but less confusingly. I was referring to the duckies, horsies, and Gerald Fords that are the patterns I see in the relational development here. There are patterns, and I could draw them if I learned how to word process more creatively. Instead, I will discuss the matter in a different font:

Here go: Beginning = no pressure, no expectations, enjoyment!

Middle = realization of enjoyment, relational growth, more more enjoyment!

Late Middle = the truth of the situation cracks down, barriers are put into place and rammed against.

End = some kind of uneasy balance is reached that leaves Me feeling like there's something I really should be doing, but I have no idea what.

The parallel occurs, if it occurs at all at a speed slow enough for us to notice without havoc-wreaking dilation of the space-time continuum, between the span of time before She left and the span of time since I arrived. You can't see this in regard to the End, as I haven't shown the End of either span, and I didn't even include the Very End in my professional-businesslike chart because it is, at least in regard to the first span, much too sacred and juicy for such commercial purposes. Plus I haven't seen the that part of the second span, for obvious reasons (e.g. I don't edit). So forget about those parts for now and focus on the Beginning to Late Middle stages. Or don't... I'll do it for you and tell you that there's a reason why the last dialogue could be expanded over space and time in such a trippy and dramatically effective way: patterns recur.

Ah, I'm sorry; that was Obvious Man talking again. I will be more wise: Patterns recur because CHEMISTRY is such an appropriately capitalized word, one of the key words in this book. Tripe looks random but betrays mental structure... One can't really predict how two people will react together, but to the extent that they're the same people over time, they'll react the same way when placed together at different times. And the less than two weeks between Her departure and My arrival aren't enough to have changed Us that much, right? ...Only if one or both of Us had some kind of transformative experience. This is a bit of foreshadowing, and I will give it away right now and spoil almost everything: Once the Beloved is put at the distance proper for a God(ess) (and Alaska to the midwest is pretty darn far), (S)He shines as is befitting to such, transforming in the mind of the worshipper, and so (maybe) transforming that worshipper. This process is similar to that which occurs when something taken as permissible, the touch of certain flesh, for instance, is suddenly made impermissible. The taboo object is instantly romanticized. It grows; its attraction grows. The worshipper is again transformed.

All this is to say that the patterns that seem to be there are only as good as the evidence you see for them.. It is true that time has dilated similarly then and now: In the Beginning, each day was filled with new wonders to explore. Why I remember going on long walks around the campus... Stop. I will not put you through that again. Anyway, those days were filled with activity; they went by quickly at the time but in retrospect seemed like weeks and months and years (this is, in this case, a good thing). The first week or so after I came here seemed that long too; I feel like I've lived with Her on an actual long-term basis, though we've only gone grocery shopping twice. But the last week... well, I've written much less, and that should be an indication. The routine has set in, the boundaries have been reinsisted upon, and zoom... judgment day (the flight home) is only a week and a half away. So the parallel stands upon those two points, but does it extend to a line? Well, we'll see.

"But what do you really see?" asked La Profesora again. Only she and Obvious Man knew the answer she was looking for...

"I see points," the Man said. I project patterns onto these points, but only because I am a schlep like all other human beings."



The preceding has been a cheap trick to try to get you to actually care about the outcome of this melodrama. The fact is, I have no idea if this kind of descriptive relationship mechanics is the least bit interesting. I would like to encourage all you folk to make bets with your friends as to who will win da Girl, so you will at least have a financial motive for caring. Or you could see yourselves as my silent friends who may silently scream at me for being stupid enough to bother having mental breakdowns over this. Nonetheless, I expect most of you were under the impression that this book was supposed to be something other than (more than?) a single-plot soap opera or some annoying friend of yours asking for advice. So to appease you loyal patient readers, I will move very shortly to SEX and DEATH, in that order. You are so wonderfully most welcome.

For the moment, however, I must rest my weary head and loins. I must gather strength to deliver on the first of these promises: I must prepare to speak to y'all about great hoards of stentorian LUST and what to do about it if you can't just act, which you can't usually do unless you're strong and in prison. Okay, I admit I'm not going to talk about actual SEX, because I haven't knowingly participated in any during this affair, but come on, people, just be mature for one moment and expand your idea of the erotic away from the simple, natural, bestial act and turn to its many messed-up and totally neurotic sublimatory substitutes and derivatives... the erotic in the absence of the actually, explicitly erotic is, well, pretty damned erotic, and the worshipper is transformed appropriately...

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© 1993 Mark A. Linsenmayer [ Contents ]