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November 5th, 1998

a story of my life; a fragment from months ago; a tale i never finished telling @ 01:00 pm

From: exit2k@hotmail.com
Subject: a story of my life; a fragment from months ago; a tale i never finished telling
Date: November 5, 1998 1:29:46 PM EST
To: exit2k@hotmail.com, afw10@columbia.edu, mrvisible@worldnet.att.net, sowinski@inetdirect.net, sejohnst@midway.uchicago.edu, shorning@willamette.edu, gbrennan@willamette.edu, emcgarry@willamette.edu, and 24 more…

When we were waiting for Jonathan to get home and we drove out to the
woods, I showed Dominic a bridge I know in a place called Camp Meeker.
It's a tiny town, a collection of summer houses really, and not a camp
at all. There is a river, and the bridge over it is also a sort of dam,
maybe a lock, I don't know what it's called. The bridge doesn't go
straight across, but makes four 90-degree turns, so that there is a
little U-shape in the middle. I had been there with Kitty, on my
nineteenth birthday, about a year before I would meet Dominic and thus
about two years from the day I went back to the bridge with him. From
the bridge you could see the house Kitty lived in when I met her, and I
pointed it's vague whereabouts to Dominic, because it was too dark to
see the house, or anything much. I had practically lived there that
whole summer we were seeing each other, but we didn't go down to the
river often enough for me to know where the house was in the dark.
I felt strange taking Dominic there, a place that so much belonged
to she and I, one she had shown me. I know so few places to go in Santa
Rosa -- or from Santa Rosa because, as Dominic pointed out, this isn't
in Santa Rosa -- and almost all the places I know were shown me by other
people, given to me by my relationships with them, friendly or
lover-wise. It wasn't that I felt guilty about taking something Kitty,
my first true love, had given me and sharing it with someone who had now
replaced her, in some ways, and in other ways entirely exploded the
space in my life she had filled. It was that I wanted the two
experiences to stay separate, that she could be to me what she had been
and Dominic remain only my Dominic and never belong to any space she had
once belonged to. But I did not have enough spaces, did not know enough
places where I could take him while we killed time waiting to find
somewhere to sleep.
Once we got down to the bridge, however, I felt fine. It did not
seem strange or wrong, and I experienced no vivid memories of being with
Kitty there. Kitty seemed like something that had happened long ago,
much longer ago than I had expected it to feel. Almost anywhere I go
around Santa Rosa will have some association with her for me, because I
became who I am now with her, but I went through that process again with
Dominic, and what he did to me was like destruction, a burning that was
forgetting, the way of forgetting that allows one to live and remember
instead of having to go back every time so that you live two lives at
once. I would not have been able go on without him, and now he was
coming back to Santa Rosa to do again to himself what he had done to her
and all the rest. Dominic has seen almost as much of my life as Kitty,
except he has seen it much more briefly. Destruction is always quicker
than the process of building, I guess. Not always.
While on the bridge, Dominic tried to walk down the steep concrete
incline of the dam-lock to the river, but found it impossible. I was
sure he was going to hurt himself badly or at least get wet. When I saw
he had failed, I made my own attempt and found a way down. We walked
along the river for awhile, where there was only the light of the moon,
and found a tree that had fallen across the river. We sat on that
not-man-made bridge for awhile and talked. When I looked back at the
lot where we had parked, a haven of light reflected in shiny pieces on
the river, I wished I had brought my camera to take a picture. I
mentioned this to Dominic, that if I had brought my camera from the car
I would take a picture of That, but he had no response. We took a
different route back and passed a small playground with swingsets and a
merry-go-round. We swung for a while, and though the playground is a
place I associate strongly with Kitty I thought of her very little.
That moment had passed. Besides, I had forgotten there Was a
playground. After a while, Dominic flew off his swing and fell on the
ground. It sounded like he hurt himself, and I got off my swing even
though I knew he hadn't. It's not something he would do, not that way.
I don't remember what I said to him, standing over him while he lay
on his back and looked up at me, but I remember kneeling down next to
him and placing a hand flat on his chest, and that we didn't talk much
that way. I just looked around at the dark surrounding us and tried to
decide if I would lay down next to him or if we should go, and if I lay
down next to him would we kiss again, and how would that change things
-- into a progression, something that was not an isolated moment but a
process? When I took his hand he thought I was going to help him up,
but when that wasn't what I was doing he said, "Am I standing up or are
we lying down?" and I said, "I'm lying down," and I lay on my back next
to him. He put his arm under my neck like a pillow, and we did not kiss
(really I had known we wouldn't) but looked at the stars in the sky, of
which there were not many because it was unseasonally overcast. I
remember thinking something about the stars being far away, but I don't
remember what.
 
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