[In thinking about how important writing her thoughts down was for Carol, I am reminded that she appended a quote, attributed to English novelist E.M. Foster, to her email signature: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say.” She clearly, perhaps more than most of us, needed to write her thoughts down to clarify them, as evidenced by the length of her letters as well as the mountain of words on all sorts of paper she left. In this letter, continued from the last post, she also expresses her need to talk, as well as write, about her thoughts. By the end of the letter, having seen what she has said, she seems to have come to a resolution, which she expresses in a delightfully puckish manner as though, for a moment, to step back from the seriousness of her decision for both of us.
Her letter continues with a long recapitulation of a conversation she had with a woman friend who was a student of housemate Steve. ]
Spent 4 much needed hours today w/an unlikely friend & supporter–a woman whose intellectual prowess deserves & demands admiration & respect, who can also be equally intimidating to people w/a less than good opinion of their own intellectual powers. We share, have always shared, a mutual respect & liking for each other, but circumstances–she, a grad student w/Steve–never allowed a more intimate communication. But today we talked out of necessity. No one will talk w/me about you–always it’s in terms of me & then Steve & me. Awful. I was beginning to wonder how I could understand my feelings for you , & my thoughts if I couldn’t talk to one other person about you (you being first to talk to). She was perfect–or as close as a human being could be about all this. I felt instinctively & I generally do it w/only my sister–that I could speak openly-no holds barred-not a complaining, whining thing (which thought gives me the shivers–may I be laid in my final resting place first…) but direct statements. And I felt relief, long, long, long overdue relief. It seems sort of crazy, but the relief is having someone else accept the idea that you’re an important part of my life. I can accept it, but there’s only so much I can do by myself & then at some point (long overdue) I need to hear someone say, simply from listening to me talk, “Well, yes, Carol, of course; it’s obvious. It’s in your voice, your eyes, you smile more, you carry yourself better, lighter….:Yes, yes, yes. More, I was insatiable; I wanted to hear so much more of the same. And I made her miss an app’t. Greedy, so wonderfully, fully greedy, and she loved it–understood, has a similar situation, loved watching me glow. I felt like my soul was getting it’s much deserved stroking.
How late? 2 or 3, maybe 4AM….
A friend calls @1:30 from Minneapolis–a crazed, neurotic, energetic, spontaneous friend–a close one–who’ll be here in June for a week. A friend I can speak to easily about you–Can I meet him she asks. And in her neurotic way: Can I be spontaneous? She would be, I think….I tell her of my insatiable need for you in all ways. She doesn’t know, for herself, has only met one person that she felt this way about, repressed it & channeled it to a platonic friendship because she was close to his wife & didn’t want to risk the friendship of both….”But I know you,” she says, “I can imagine the energy. Also imagined I must repress some of that energy because of the situation, some because I’m unsure of the outcome of all this, some because I’m unwilling to be vulnerable to some degree. She said all this & I barely said a word; listening to a woman who’d never been in the situation fully, who’d only known me for years & years, her perceptions sharp, accurate, never needing to ask if what she said was true. Knew intuitively–like a total trust of her intuition about me.
I began to wonder, naturally, at some point, could I ever begin to do for these people all that they have done for me, & I think that I must have already in the past, or they wouldn’t offer or be there, so sharp, so willing for me….
The day is sunny & every fiber of my being strains against what small measure of control I can muster up to prevent my hand for reaching for the keys to the car, to swing out on the BQE [Brooklyn Queens Expressway heading out to Long Island] & head east to the May Fair at Suffolk & find you. Even writing this, this restraint slips a little more, but there’s no other release, nothing. Should I place an Olf call, should I call your office, but you’re not there. This has to be the worst–worse than frustration, worse than irritation, worse than combat zone, worse than death–the worst possible thing. I think that if you called me right now & wanted to see me, I wouldn’t hesitate–not a word to Steve, not a glimmer of guilt, just relief, overwhelming release.
I think I’m not getting anywhere. I’ll have to dance to release some of this energy; go to the store 6 blocks down for cigarettes; take a walk to the Promenade [elevated walkway, not far from Sackett Street, with a view over the East River and Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan]; anything, anything–but first hide the car keys because the compulsion to go is too powerful & car keys in hand my feet would not go to the store or the Promenade.
Later in the afternoon
Better. Sunbathing on the roof, a good measure of classical music–strong & vibrant tones–& the strength of this restless irritation eases–
Night’s in w/the moon a sliver of light, I’m suntanned & healthy from lying on the roof all day & jazz just came in over the radio–a time to write to you.
A temporary lull has settled over the ap’t., a too-seeming calm–the sunny weather, I suppose is responsible although I have to take some of the credit.
Thoughts that have been trailing themselves for a couple of years resolve themselves into decisions of action, giving clarity to myself. The summer is planned w/ the added necessity of finishing a couple of incompletes–to keep intellect stimulated until fall. The end of July brings Colorado [to visit friends] & Michigan, & September brings the transition from this place to another, by far to be the most difficult. You’re interwoven through all by thought & emotion even though your situation remains unknown, temporarily unseeable. I just hope that time in her continuum & fate in its unravelings will bring us closer together again. This has a fairly dramatic sound to it, but then it’s sort of dramatic times, isn’t it?
My housemate is leaping around the house exclaiming that he feels the changes in his bones (!?) I don’t think he’s aware that that’s where wisdom originates; I think he’s referring to what looks like an incoming thunderstorm, but the reference to domestic wars through symbolism is almost too much to take by myself. But being the partner that has generally always kept things to herself, I feel it’s my duty to remain silent to him on the weather elements posing as domestic symbols. The philosophical question of the day: if the storm’s due in from the west (the Midwest, no doubt) will there be more lightning than thunder or vice versa.
I catch myself wondering if the combat zone was reasonably quiet for you this weekend. Can’t say I could ever hear the sounds of gunfire over Brooklyn, but that’s because Brooklyn has its own ethnic version of WWIII, as you probably know–
It seems that we’ve gone from spinning images of mutual feelings & individual situations to a middle ground of hesitantly expressed, more serious feelings and waiting–waiting, I think, for nothing specific from each other at this point, even though we’ve both hedged at specifics, waiting for time to turn & the webs to spin themselves in or out, at which point we can take up the thread again.
Part of me–a major part–says that I need to clarify what I’m doing w/ my life before I go about intensifying anything, and another part says I’d toss my pen over the end of this couch if I could be w/ you right now. Both are true.
And issues–realizations of what it means to be involved w/ you–I didn’t want to press you, over the phone the other day; it wasn’t my intention. It was that anticipated, but still sudden loss of contact w/ you–your return home–that set the emotions shivering unsureness of all that had passed, of something present. Token received to dispel the confusion. In all due rational thought, issues & realizations are considerations & I’ll mull quietly. It’s a good mulling–
One last thought before the light goes off & my usual strong dreams invade reality–
Do you snore?