[During spring break and an unusual snowfall that April, the center did not hold in my house. I do not recall the specific cause. But I just left, and wound up spending some time with Ed, a friend with whom I had carpooled when we were both new hires driving out to Suffolk from Brooklyn, and who had himself recently divorced and remarried. Clearly, during this period, I did not send a letter to Carol, so I will devote this post to a rather long one from her, written on the Long Island Railroad train heading back to Brooklyn. I do not remember these circumstances, but it seems we might have had some time together either in person or by phone. I pick up the letter after a couple of introductory paragraphs about her train ride. ]
Wed. on board
I wish I could stay w/you for a few days, wondering really, if that way I could help–or would I be a hindrance–both are probably true; but Ed & I could no doubt fix you up w/enough support to keep you smiling & warm. But a hindrance–I’m sensitive of my position, maybe overly so, but correctly so, I think. (This train is nearly impossible to write on)–
,,,I think our relationship has deepened for all this (no matter which path you decide on) and, on the same note, I thought afterwards I should have given you more affirmation of my feelings–but you must know how I feel about you.
(I’ve missed the transfer stop from the A train to the F–lost in the heart of Manhattan, but how fitting that I don’t know where I’m going.)
There’s so much more I want to write, so much more to say, but I don’t know–maybe the time’s not appropriate, maybe it is the eternal decision–to call or not to call, to write or not to write, how much is too much, how much is too little now (how appropriate that I’m lost)
I wonder, personally, if there’s room for a TV show called “All My Fears”–
I hope, wherever you are tomorrow (Thurs.) that’s it’s all right for you in whatever measure.
Nerves have quiet’d w/ this letter & Carroll St. is only another stop away–(such urgency, what do I want to say?)
My thoughts are w/you & I wish my body was.
Intuition tells me you’re home–It would have taken a powerful drink of Scotch, & a full, long night’s talk between us to see that look leave your face that since you were going home. My main hope is that Ed talked you out of it–but then I think that it’s you that has to convince you. I do know that you weren’t at all convinced that going back was a good thing–especially when you said you wondered what your true nature is–like it had been missing or deprived for a long time.
My own web took me into wanted, uncharted territories last night. Late in the night, knowing the alarm would ring at 7, inspired by your courage to go after what you want; the conversation allowed this: “Yes, I’m seeing someone else. Yes it’s continuing.” All too calm, too rational–there’s a trip wire here somewhere, but I don’t know where. (But I do, symbolically, have my army boots on). Summer will bring me privacy & freedom; fall gives me only a sense of my own thoughts unspoken: the lease is up in Oct. What will I do? (a thoughtful question, a nervous one, but a fearful one).
I caught myself thinking this morning (& tried to suppress the thought, but now it’s worked it’s way over to you) (that all these rational theories are only rational theories, practical but not likeable like never leaving a relationship because of outside influence, but only because the situation inside is bad. Well, if there’s outside influence in the first place, it means the the situation inside is bad(in varying degrees, of course) but still…) The urge to toss that law out for the first time in my life is getting stronger & stronger. Rationale tells me about “breathing room” & not exchanging one thing for another–what if you know? Intuition’s strong unspoken voice tells me that my feelings for you seem almost inherent–as if you’re part of a chromosomal make-up. I must sound like I’ve lost my mind, I know–but it’s like that, as crazy as it seems–as if the chemical bonding was all set up waiting for circumstance to walk me through the doors of Suffolk College & work my way eventually over to the Writing Center & the Humanities Dep’t drawn by an invisible magnet.
And there’s more on practical theories (there’s always more, sure), like fairness, what’s best, what’s wise, what’s not? For you: should I call you, what’s good for you, can I help, be a hindrance, are we individually going in the right direction–what’s right anyway? I trust my intuition–I don’t trust my rationale enough (wisely, I think).
And I have way too many damn question at the moment, the first of which is where are you today (my hope will go unspoken–but you know anyway). If you’re closer than a phone call away, I’ll be ecstatic & if not, I’ll be worried & mad–however–
Well, there’s only one thing to do–go to work, my disabling responsibilities & place a phone call to Ridge [where Ed lives] (Is poetry a cure for consistently trembling nerves?)
Too damned quiet at work. No work–some would see it as such a relief–I think it’s a chance to write; reading’s out of the question. Trying to get through Freud is sometimes like shoveling manure, sometimes like seeing little seedling grow up through such stenchy fertilization (or are they just the baby fungi of psilocibin mushrooms notorious for growing in cow shit & notorious for hallucinations); it’s never like sailing a sailboat on a warm night under a full moon (something I’ve always wanted to do). So Freud is out. Thoughts are in.
I thought of one thing–even if you’re home again, it will come up next time, or sometime. You said your domestic split didn’t happen because of me, but you weren’t sure how long you could keep that thought around (or keep things separate, as you said.) I thought you must have thought of me as an ‘out’. I’m not quite sure how–although I am sure you chose not to take that too far as I didn’t feel pressurized overly much. It would be easy for me to offer you full support (even if not in a practical way) considering how I feel about you & how I think you feel about me.
But I think it would unbalance things between us–I’d feel my emotions & thoughts more than a little repressed & stridden? over by confusion that is only natural to you at this point. Sigh–how well the mind works even while all emotions & passions drive me to throw caution to the winds & find you wherever you are & offer you full sanctuary from the storm. So if my silence & removal seems too silent, it’s only time–a waiting–my own storm brewing–an intellectual storm–that’s what I’ve come to after all these years–a better & a bitter challenge, but a storm–for all the emotions that range down the ragged edge of a chainsaw are not any less for a seemingly more rational approach And nothing, no thing negates the fear that I’ll be set adrift in a sea of chaos–the chaos nothing more than the ungrasped turnings of my own mind–
A call to Ridge, a short sweet talk w/Ed (Is he alright? “Yes the confusion’s to be expected,” & the intuition has been gauged wrong– (exceptional feeling to be gauged wrong on what you want to be wrong on). But you’re not in Queens [on the way to Brooklyn] yet & you might have gone home, as you said you would–to get things or see things.
People have been smiling at me all day. And I thought I looked worried–what else do I look? Crazy? Will I become a sweet madwoman on the streets who talks gently to herself and looks around smilingly as if the rest of the world understood everything she said? And people smile back because I have a nice face? That was before two Margaritas at the Cactus Cafe. I can only think of what I’ll look like tonight after dinner w/ film students & a whole bunch of Guido’s homemade, potent wine. Will the mean street of midtown 9th Ave. smile at a woman who can’t walk straight but still has a keen, worried look in her eye? Such considerations.
Well, the 10th floor smoking lounge is lulling me into drowsiness. My desk is idle ten floors before, the disabled ones [she worked at the desk for disabled students in the NYU Library] doing well w/out me today–another cigarette, a long slow drift for a couple of hours, the sun goes down over Manhattan–you have good signs Steve–good omens–not the least of which was a full moon last night–trivial, perhaps, in reference to everything else but there nonetheless.