The door to Caf…


The door to Cafe Roma is open… People come in and out

and the vision surrounds me like a wishing fountain.


The room was dusty and large, tactless paintings scattered unevenly on the walls. Smokers sat on the balcony with balcony for the smokers. I’d never played chess before. Seems like it’s for geeks. They are staring with such absorption at the pieces as if the knight and bishop were tarot cards with the persons fortune on there.
but it is a sign. People play this game in a coffeehouse? I had no idea. I did not know that people played with clocks out in the open like this.. I would have ignored them had I seen them a year ago, not noticed they were here. I could have done that, yes. For until now, I was as oblivious to the chess players as they were to the outside world… until Aidan the violinist offered me a chair.

The first thing I noticed was the way his eyes glowed with a strange electricity. He looked like he was lit from inside, for when he talked, it really was as though he had an electric wiring inside that nobody else had, and it was pouring out from his retinas in high voltages. He began talking me out of my mental reverie with a monologue that struck me hard. It didn’t happen right away- at first I had a crush on Jeremy, the mathematician with long blond hair and a face that was sculped like Kurt Cobains- (although Jeremy instantly winced at any mention of Cobain.)

With pangs of relief. His words abated contradictions I didn’t know I had… he found my trouble-spots and instantly formed bridges between the groves I had created.. suddenly I had an engineer working inside my mind, making connections and freeways in multiple places, so there would no longer be so many droughts going on inside me..

Dave cornered out chairs with his words; broke the legs and used them as fodder for a huge ladder he was using. I didn’t ask him what it was for back then. There was no need. Glenn Gould was standing in front of me; Glenn Gould, the answer to questions I was holding onto so tightly I still hadn’t let myself verbalize them. Or even turn them into thoughts for fear they might float away.. Dave the Violinist dug out pits for me to hide in, showed me trees for shade, created a mental basin for me to wash myself in.. he gave me many loopholes of thought for which I could escape or understand when he was talking, that I listened for eight hours at a time when we were together.

I should have seen through it right away, but all I wanted was to get away from home. In that sense, I thought maybe I needed a prison, to enforce discipline on me. I figured that I just needed to be locked up, and that as soon as that happened, I would stay in there working. Lawrence was supposed to be a “liberal arts college” for people who want to believe reading the conservatives and straights make them special. The people there pretend it’s the crazed rebellious college of their dreams, but in reality it’s a grey, stodgy, authoritative school, where you have to fill out five sheets of paper if you want to skip over a history course or take one elective that isn’t reprimanded as by the syllabus. The sheep-followers did the best in the class. This was truly the mark of a dangerous new era, where if you asked questions, you were seen as the bad kid in the classroom instead of the bright kid. Behaves Inappropriately, they’d write down on their comment sheets. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it either. If I ever come into power and money, I will tell everybody how enslaving this was, I promised myself.. and tell them to send their kids to Cornish, instead.

I was wandering around in the students lounge when I ran into a piano student I knew back in high school. I did a lot of wandering in Appleton; I would wander the ghostly streets for hours, noticing the factories, broken down empty restaurants, and drunken crystal meth addicts, walking forty five minutes and walking over a freeway just to get to an Applebees restaurant. I knew this guy from high school! He was immediately an undercover at this place! I mean that he wasn’t a complete sheep in wolf’s clothing.. he might pretend to get good grades here, but I knew that while he was probably somebody I wouldn’t talk to outside of this place, I was working on truly seeing, and there wasn’t anyone around that was much better. There were my friends.. Cut-right and Mike, who I would stay in touch with for seven years after leaving the place.. but they both occupied strange social niches. I mean, they had friends.. Cut-right was famous on campus, and always getting into weird situations where girls would stalk him and he’d lay low. But he was my best friend, and we sat together at every meal. There was always some life-or-death tale about him and grades, him and some teacher.. I was responsible for creating the Mike/Cut-right friendship. At the time, Mike looked down on Cut-right. Had I known that three years later Mike would follow around Cut-right in a trance, calling Cut-right his guru, I probably would have walked away right then.

I talked to the black haired, cynical boy in the lounge- who later always reminded me of the cryptic, visual artist that Irwin hired to be his Dominatrix and weight-loss instructor, Jeff Birtirt. Birgirt would take Irwin’s credit cards and spend thousands of dollars buying cocaine on them.. at the time he loved alcohol and coke. Not a good mix if you want to keep a lid on your problems from getting the best of themselves.. If you keep feeding that stuff into your soul there will be danger.. It attracts the stuff like a lightning rod. Birgirt was the actor on the stage directing the show. and he was paid to abuse the right man..

Not that I’ve ever seen any of his paintings, but Birgirt probably always favors drawing handcuffs to drawing faces. He wears a lot of black and a residue from AA meetings hang off of him. If you know what to look for, you’ll see it.

The guy at Lawrence, a much more academic version of Birgirt, I guess, started getting all on me and in my business after he saw me playing Bach on the piano, and after he started telling me there was something so strange and familiar about my conversational style, about my arguments, about my memory, about… the way I played Bach. As if there was something I wasn’t aware I had. As always, somebody claimed to see what was in me before I could. He made me feel like a mind, or a puzzle, but no, not a girl. Up to this point, I was just a teenage girl…seen by my friends as the wild girl, somebody who reminded them Drew Barrymore in Mad Love

, somebody they wanted to live through vicariously, but couldn’t actually love.

During the conversation in the lounge with the piano player that seemed a bit devious, and liked a dirty kind of analysis that doesn’t go anywhere, he told me that I had the mind of this radical chess player, somebody I had never heard of, somebody everybody else had heard of. I’d never heard of any chess player before, so the name was news to me. I carried the name close afterwards like it was a map outside of the small town I’d kept my heart locked in. This blacked haired guy was a supreme manipulator extraordinaire. But I knew a life-changing talk when it came my way. I didn’t need God to send me two. And I knew that this guy and I would probably never cross paths again. I didn’t have much interest in seeing his face again… I just had to prove what he said to me. I had to prove if it was right or wrong or warped or true. But I didn’t know much besides music. Like, I didn’t know the rules of chess.. I hadn’t really given it two pennies thought before. All I knew is that I was playing eight hours of piano a day.

But once I got back into Seattle… my hands wiped clean of that awful school.. I couldn’t play at all because I had carpal tunnel. I didn’t think it was from my technique, so much as the misery of living in Wisconsin. My final term there was a haze of obstacles… I always had worn contacts, but that year I needed to start wearing glasses because my eyes started reacting.. my hands stopped being able to play.. my heart stopped seeking adventure and began peering at itself nervously, looking for flaws.. I couldn’t really write or type, but I forced myself to.

Dave the Violinist met me when I was 19.. I had just written this half a hour piece called “Who Kidnapped Bobby Fischer?” with the idea in mind that if Bobby hadn’t had chess, Bobby wouldn’t ha been able to escape any of his demons at all. With the idea that if Bobby hadn’t had something to concentrate his mind on, it would have gone in a million directions, until the exponential process began to turn his razor mind into ten different personalities, and then a hundred, and so on.. until he was a mad man roaming around in a maze, trying to understand the book, the Osbourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, trying to figure out if Cain is evil or good, killing people along the way but tries to not do it without reason.. he tries not to leave innocent bystanders.

The song I wrote is one thread of a melody that splinters.

And my life had one of those picture-changing moments the day I walked into a café on the ave and met Dave. I already had too many Dave’s in my life… my best friend at school’s first name was Dave, and now.. I stood in the café stunned, like an arrow had just fallen at my feet. Ruby was in the café too, but he was hunched over, playing a speed-thin pale blond mathematician that had been told he looked like Kurt Cobain so many times he hated Cobain. His name was Jeremy, or Ghost. I’d become as close as friends as people get with all three of these guys. But as Dave the Violinist said himself, chess players sometimes think that “hanging out” and “seeing time get wasted” means being closer than real loyalty, than real substance. I knew from Lola that friendship meant work and depth. But I was about to learn about a whole new sort of friendship…

I hadn’t been able to play piano in months, and I laid around home moping, reading everything Dostoevsky wrote, everything Solzhenitsyn, and some of Leo Tolstoy… (I did not read “War and Peace.”) then I hit my Ellie Wiesel phase, and read everything he wrote. Then there was an American stage, and I hit the old American authors, like Somerset Maugham, who wrote “Of Human Bondage”. After meeting Ruby that night too, Philip in “Of Human Bondage” reminded me just a bit of him, because he was so interested in that girl, Ana. He probably liked that it was such a simple and strong first name, the beginning of the alphabet placed twice next to only one other letter..Ruby didn’t remind me of the character inside.. it just reminded me of the way he was acting for a little while.

The story is about a man with a clubfoot who, after getting a scholarship education and growing up in a difficult family where he is not the real son, is obsessed with a waitress named Mildred, a taunting woman who refuses to lie about her own emotions… Philip falls in love with her but also misunderstands her by over-complicating her.. His own eternal optimism is probably the worst part. She is not at all educated. She has a primitive simplicity about her passions that Philip doesn’t understand. It’s funny, because usually there is an exotic girl in the story that the guy falls for.. and in this case Mildred is exotic because Philip has never really encountered this kind of working class girl before..Younger readers may misinterpret Mildred as the villain, or as being heartless because she stays with Philip as long as she does for material reasons. There is a lot going on there between those two characters that deserves further analysis, and has been made into analysis during English classes, I’m sure..

In real life, everybody is so scornful of Ruby.. and it is what makes him lash out. See, I know I’ve had some great times with Ruby… I know I have. So why did it have to be this way? I’m sure that when we started being friends again a month ago, he was disappointed when we didn’t kiss the way we used to. I’m sure he didn’t understand why I didn’t want it as urgently as he did anymore. So he decided I was sick when he knew I wasn’t. Somebody showed him some of my feelings, and he took off in the wrong direction. That’s the part I don’t get.. I always felt worse for him because I know he didn’t have an easy start. And on his birthday, I wanted to go hiking with him.. but I didn’t have the patience to make that day a great day, which is my own fault, because I let some complications get the worst of me. But he spent most of it at work. And I know that somebody else wanted to use them for their own evil bidding, and he denies that anybody else would know how to use him that way. That’s the part that gets me. It’s like Ruby was most vulnerable when he thought one person was controlling him.. most vulnerable to a person other than the one he thought was really controlling him. So he let the really bad person control him. Somebody really, really bad. I know that if I asked Ruby about it that he would make sure he didn’t look me in the eyes. He used to try so hard to understand… But in the end he didn’t understand me at all.. and he saw everything but me and his understanding. That he probably wanted to turn it all around and yell at somebody else, “Stop calling me dumb and stop telling me to raise your rating” but instead he tried to destroy what he loved because it was closer. I know I’m supposed to hold a grudge the way Oshiro says to- Oshiro will tell me one phrase that I should write down, or some pretty words to use to teach somebody a lesson- but it’s not easy to hold onto the sentence at all. I just hope that Ruby will realize that lashing out is the easy way.. and so he will lose interest.

Ruby does not blink very often. His eyes are an open range light-blue force field that he uses to stave off other people’s intruding opinions. People think that he is simple and don’t press. Maybe Ruby has learned how to be the quiet person in the room, only saying one thing that might impress somebody, and then going away into his own thoughts, retreating far away.

He struts ahead confidently, but when he opens his mouth, he is so bashful, you want to

After the chess games stopped, Dave the Violinist led me, Ruby, and the pale mathematician followed. Both he and Ruby stopped to smoke their cigarettes. Ruby sucked on the filter with such concentration that it looked like he wouldn’t have noticed a building burning even if it had been burning down next to him. Jeremy seemed to defer to Ruby, or maybe it was the other way around? At any rate. they were all listening to Dave the Violinist, who was still talking. Dave the Violinist was the only one who really blew me away, but the others seemed interesting in a way an observer couldn’t cheat their way out of seeing. Dave the Violinist ordered a small little bowl of lentil soup while Jeremy and Ruby ordered huge platters of fries and falafels and side orders on them.

In the middle of their conversation, my boyfriend jon from high school in Michigan strode by the restaurant. I screamed out his name and ran out. When we came back in together five minutes later, Ruby said it was like we were both on ecstasy somehow. I think that Jon just has that affect on me, always. Jon and I were always like two tornadoes imploding in one another. Maybe we still would be if we talked now.

Jeremy struck up my interest.. he was so magnetic and yet so different from me. That night, Dave and I went over to Jeremy’s.. and I ended up staying the night at Jeremys. Once the dawn came I bolted. It was the only time Jeremy and I hooked up. He already knew himself while I didn’t; he was reacting to a sickness that had been sprung on by love gone bad while I was feverish… I didn’t know anything, and that ignorance can hold a tremendous power in and of itself that the person herself or himself does not know about.. Maybe it’s even self-protecting,, like some of those weird plants that you eat early enough in life and gain immunity to… Something with both toxic and safe properties depending on different variables. But I was such a self-reflective person; I didn’t care about trying to ditch this power as soon as possible. It didn’t work for me.. How had it ever worked?

At any rate, I ended up trying to learn chess, but not until almost four months later, when Dave the Violinist left the city. While Dave the Violinist was there, he was the only thing in my life. We spent eight hours together every single day. I listened for hours, awe struck up in every part of my being. I had to return to my parents house every night.. but when I got home I’d often end up talking on the phone to him for nine hours. Finally, he decided to leave because he didn’t like the practice spaces there… and there was too much diesel fumes from the buses.. and cities were too close together. He’d spent so much time living in New York City.. some in Canada.. but I guess he wanted to go live in the Countryside. When he left, he didn’t know where he would end up. He hitch-hiked away. The thing is, he thought he was leaving for eight days straight.. so I lived feeling like every day was the end. Until it was, and I rolled over and tried to make the best of it. I didn’t think too much about it. I hadn’t yet realized that some part of me felt like there wasn’t anything as important as having Dave the Violinist near me in the way he’d been. But when I’d come to that realization, I’d no longer be the same person. I’d suddenly be somebody who the old me would have misunderstood yet maybe looked up to in spite of herself. Who am I fucking kidding? How do any of us know this stuff?Four years later, the prodigal man returns from his hitch-hiking. He wants me to stalk this nineteen year old girl named Kate. The whole thing hurts my feelings. I have an electronic piece that I wrote with B that uses two voice mail blips from Dave the Violinist. The piece was called Monstrous Untruths. I have no idea how I picked such an apt name. It was like I could see the future… when I wrote that piece. All my pieces are about somebody. Monstrous Untruths is all about Dave the Violinist. Unwashed is about Ignaccio. Quantum Dilationis about Ruby. Tranquilize Me and Suicidal Elephants On a Chandelier are about Oshiro. A Dream Gone Cold is about Jeremy. Dead End, the saddest thing ever, is about my heavily idealized memories of B, or the recklessness in my life that was governed by that idealism and the shattered pieces I refused to leave behind me when things got lost. Ironically, it’s probably the only piece he has never heard. It doesnt have any of the compositional weaknesses that he saw before in some of my other work. It’s really hard for me to think about my music these days. I don’t know why. Oshiro thinks that I need time to build my confidence back.

The first time Dave the Violinist comes back after his abandonment, the whole thing goes awry. He doesn’t recognize me underneath the black eye make up. He sees a whole different person. And he is so much crazier and dogmatic then I know him to be. The episode ends with me not letting him back inside the apartment at three in the morning in cold rain. He hustles a ride with Irwin, who returns his stuff to him and drives him to Portland. Dave pretends to like Irwin.. but he doesn’t think the guy has ever really read a book. “The guy has never read!” Dave claims later. As usual, he is using the provocative phrase to get me thinking.. because we all know that Irwin owns a lot of books.

After Dave leaves and things went back, I assume I will never see him again. I feel badly for how things ended up- even rotten. I don’t understand how to compile the memories of him that I had with the new person that showed up on my doorstep, obsessed with some girl Kate. I get the impression that she was a simple girl. Later, when he starts trusting me with more personal admissions, he tells me that he “wouldn’t give me the spit from her lips.”

All that information.. and we are back at a week ago. When I received a call that Dave was in town. And I ran down to his motel… and he kicked me out at three in the morning. And I walked home alone without complaining walking by some of the worst streets of the city during nightime. I invited him to come give me another chance. I promise that it won’t happen again.

And Oshiro says that I put up with more than anybody else would have put up with.

But when I think back on all the good things that Dave did. Every breakfast was already laid out for me. He organized entire rooms for me so the spacing of it made more geometric sense; he spent three hours cleaning the kitchen one random day; and for a week, I only ate his food. I could have done those things for a long, long time. It was the gaps in communication that hurt me. It was Dave always using excuses so he wouldn’t have to explain something to me. Simple things, like “why are you in Seattle” would enrage him… because the answers was too laborious and I should have known that. He didn’t know if I was listening.. but he didn’t explain why. He would scream at me..something unheard of. The Dave I knew didn’t have a temper. Then he would apologize… as long as I apologized first.

But Dave wouldn’t tell me when he was leaving. Was it never, or in a week? I couldn’t live not knowing. But he wouldn’t tell me. He wouldn’t give me a date. And one day I got down and said he could stay.. maybe be roommates with me if his credit checked out. “And I won’t make you pay half of the rent..You dont even have to pay very much at all. you just have to make sure the landlord think you can pay that much and more every month.”

The whiny Dave was in such opposition to the Dave that I knew got in fights all over town. The Dave which had enraged speed-feaks and gotten into a fist fight in the bookstore. The Dave who got in fights all the time with people because of the ferocity of his beliefs. I believed in all of what Dave said. But he wasn’t explaining all the tiny little things to me anymore, and it was breaking us apart.

We got in a small fight, when I wasn’t talking much and he claimed “i was angry at him” and wouldn’t drop it. I was so upset I left him alone in the apartment, and when I got back he was gone, the door had been left unlocked. This was unheard of. It’s just we were communicating so badly with one another. I was impatient with him asking “Do these two bus numbers go on the same road” when he meant to ask “does this bus go back and forth the same way” about both routes; and if he’d only phrased the question in a different way, I wouldn’t have sat there making him angry, making him yell “I wasn’t trying to confuse you! Stop purposefully mistaking what I said!”

When he returned home from practicing that night, it was very late. Instead of trying to make up with him, I was on the bed, talking to Oshiro. Oshiro had taken three hours to calm me down from an upset mood to a calm one. But Dave managed to get my adrenaline back up in just a few seconds…

I hadn’t been sleeping so well. I was going cold turkey from a downer that my body was realizing wasn’t coming back into my system. So I needed total calm. I turned away from Dave, my phone curled around me, Oshiro and us talking in sweet, quiet voices to one another, the separation making us closer. Finally, I lovingly cradled the phone into the receiver. I turned out the lights. But Dave was in the kitchen making clinking noises; and my double bed has no door… it is open against the kitchen. One enters the door and sees a huge room with a double bed in it, and a kitchen. He was taking his long time cleaning spoons and making clinking noises. I tried to block it all out.. the whole world out. Dave came over and asked me what I was doing and I said, peacefully, that I was trying to sleep.

Finally, I took my covers and moved to the other room. The door covered the noises.I told myself this was a sleepover, I was falling asleep now. Then Dave crept towards the door. I could hear his voice… and I didn’t want a noise complaint. But I was trying to sleep..and if I listened to Dave, I’d lose the calm that the last three horus had given me. I know that my adrenaline works on a trigger-hair; I have always known that; and I didn’t want to try to sleep if he jacked it up. But Dave took three minutes to modulate his voice into a yell until he was yelling at me. I squirmed.. and squirmed. Not hearing what he was saying for the first time all week. Finally I tried to close the door. Later he would claim, as was always his pejorative claim, that I provoked him. Dave always underestimated his affect on other people. He felt so helpless, he assumed that his screaming was like somebody else talking. This contributed to some of our problems that week.

I stood up, and my adrenaline was hijacked. My heart, which the doctor already says is crazy fast, even on downers, was double its normal too-fast speed. I yelled back something that didn’t make sense.. and finally Dave went away. I told him to leave me alone or leave. but he wouldn’t leave me alone, he had to talk this out. Instead he just got me upset. I wanted him out, now. And I had gone back on my promise, and I was upset that he had forced me into wanting to use force, my last and only recourse of action. I had wanted to do anything but this.

He went to go to sleep as soon as he had awakened me. But I was so upset. I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night. I talked to Oshiro for four more hours. Finally Oshiro told me to set the phone down. We stayed like that, so if I wanted to I could start talking and he’d wake up.

I walked into the other room and sat down to write Dave a letter. The letter was spit. It was fire and spit and criticism. I was so very torn up, but knew he was unreachable. I could hardly go in there and just have him hold me, but that seemed to be the only way Dave and I communicated anymore. Except at night, when he’d go back to the other room and onto the floor. Dave was so strange about what he would and wouldn’t do. I accused him of trying to take other people’s spiritual tranquility because he had none of his own. I said that I could be tranquil in a war.. but that he needed somebody to obey. I said nothing but servitile, dusting his feet and lying on the ground, made him feel better. I told him to find an oxygen flotation device for me so my smile could be taped on and my eyes inserted with chemicals which would make them stay open in rapt attention the whole time.. so he could finally think he had the attention he wanted. I told him he was more rigid than any rabbi or priest I had known, and that his ideas were verging on fascism since no other ideas could be right and everybody was supposed to live by his ideas. I explained that to love him meant to love death and pain equally and then I said it was the sort of sentence I would make fun of if he showed me the letter but where would he find another young girl to make fun of? I explained that I knew I was really good at doing what people wanted, as I had discovered this to be very true recently, as I had been able to get quite far that way..but that he couldn’t experience joy or pleasure anymore. I told him he should use some toxic ink to write his ideas down, knowing it was toxic but doing it anyway.

In the morning, I had two people come over, a husband and wife. The husband had spent ten years in a jail and could use violence if necessary. Dave started yelling at the girl with me and saying it was all her fault, that she was making me say words I wouldn’t say, that it was all their fault, and me and Dave were fine.. and he refused to leave. Finally, he began to leave. He called his sister shaking and asked her to pick him up. He leaves. I have been up all night unable to think of solutions to compromise.. and before he had gone in the room to wake me up, I assumed we would verbally wake it up in the morning, but when he crossed the door barrier, I didn’t think we could work it out anymore unless he left. I was very upset that I had to use force. I felt terrible.

Dave tries to hold onto me before he gets in the car, but it is too late. For some reason, he wanted to know what it was like to lose me before he could get me. Nobody can get to know that with me without actually losing me in the process… When he touches me I no longer melt. I turn away in the middle of his words, in the middle of his blasphemic description of what happened.

He calls me and leaves a message two hours later.

Then… the next day. The next night. We talk. For nine hours. It is like the old days. For Dave, when he sees the answers, sees all of the answers lined up. I see it in a picture instantaneously which I cannot explain. But Dave sees logical trajectories and has to follow each one wherever it goes. Dave has read my letter. The criticism has helped him. I have won points with him. He is surprised at how accurate it is, but he says he will not tell which parts were the most accurate. He begins to tie things together. He does what he would not do all week; he trusts me with personal stuff. I begin to giggle and I begin to relax. I am glued to his words; I would find it impossible not to listen. He explains about Lyme disease again, and how he lost his eyesight.. and how he had it undiagnosed for twenty years. He answers any and all questions I have about his theories. We talk about art, culture, the future, government, truth, 500 years ago, now, media, mass technology, history, Bob Dylan quotes… everthing is open. I talk about Victor, the french wild child. And he offers me analogies to people in my life. He does not give advice in this conversation. It is beautiful.. and it is not fair. He explains why he is not as inclined to holding onto new friends, explains about what brought him to this point. But he is not staying in Seattle. Mostly, I understand he taught me something more important than anybody.. maybe even the boy from Lawrence. But he couldn’t have taught it to me without all this space or without all these kathartic moments or without all these semi-abandonments within one huge abandonment.

“You dont want friends!” he’d screamed out when he was angry, two nights before. The irony is that he is the one who is always focused on concepts.. while he says i perform too many sociological experiments. Even though he is the one who refers to his own friends as experiements.. the ironies circle around endlessly like shark. In the end I know it’s only because I want friends so badly that I put up with people who yell this shit.

A day later he is leaving. He acts as if he had this date in mind the whole time he was here, and I know he didn’t. He recreated bits of the past to fit in with logical trajectories.. like me, he needs a truthful witness by his side. When he sees me, he kisses me, he holds me, he whispers “goodbye kitty” to my cheek. I stare up at him for the first time… and he tries to tell me to be responsible to myself, not other people. He goes on some rant about me taking care of myself physiologically and I giggle at him and call him funny. My eyes pierce him and take everything in times five what I see. Now he knows why I didn’t encourage eye contact earlier on. I couldn’t do it unless it actually fit our connection. Unless he was actually reciprocating. No matter that his blindness denied him eye contact and that for years his fantasy was just to see a girl make eye contact with him. My gaze is too fierce for many.. and he makes me soften and squirm and fight against what he says. When he says goodbye for real.. it is the first time I have ever seen him be efficient and not try to prolong things. Unfortunately, it’s also probably the only time i really want him to prolong something. He says he sees hope and optimism in me. It’s probably the first time he has seen it in me since the night at the motel. He promises to keep in touch and give me an address. I don’t understand why he can’t stay here.. since, after all, he wants to try and keep friends, not just make friends, yet there is no family despite the seven brothers and sisters and living mother and father who he keeps in touch with. We talk about translation in Milton Babbit’s music versus the meaning of transformation.. Dave provides the trajectories, and I shoot off into the sky with them.

He must want to be like me in some ways.. he says I am inpenetratable or unmovable or unreachable where he is reachable, and vice versa. I want to be like him in some ways.. I wish to disappear from my friends life in a way that they cannot track.. even with the best detective!! Dave hides himself so well. He is impossible to trace unless he allows himself to be traced. For he is not like any modern city person. He only calls you when he is in your city, and even then it is from a pay phone, and he will hardly ever tell you the return number to his motel. He is persistent when most people would give up, and he disappears when most people would appear.

I do not like that he always gets to choose when he leaves me. That even when I wanted to run away from him, I could not, because he was now living in my own home. While I thought about abandoning my own home, I could not do that, even when I am a runaway at heart.

I believe that we are much closer.. and I am shocked that my fireball brought us closer. I am shocked that we could fight like we did and still have so much to teach one another. Most of all, I just wish that he could still be the person he is.. but without the pain of four years separation., without the pain of his yelling. and without the pain of his not listening and my over-extending to listen, and his manipulation of my over-flexibility; the way I will start bending and shifting ten different ways if somebody around me is rigid. I worked around Dave’s practice room needs.. and so much more. The way I began living my entire life around his schedules and rituals… because they would not change for anything or anyone. I wish there could have been a compromise. But I sense that for us.. this is a compromise. And a part of me feels like mourning, and I’m not sure what I should feel. As I always say, I don’t feel my feelings, I think them. When Dave came back into my life the time before this, I had begun asking to see him in my thoughts.. and I hadn’t been thinking about him for years. I think that he finally heard me that time, but that he wasn’t in the right state. In my heart is the truth that has come with brash loss..and the mysteries that have been solved are now locked forever in my brain as patterns to recognize later.

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2 Responses to The door to Caf…

  1. d.shapiro says:

    OK; i read HALF of this – repeat, HALF – but i’ll get back to it. this is very different & very easy to like, but it’s a mess. -even HARDER to fix than the last piece i reviewed for you. & it reminds me of the inside story of the film Annie Hall: (originally called Anhedonia [the inability to experience pleasure]) in the original, uncut version, there were MANY women; all those smaller parts had more screen time. but Dede Allen was the editor & she just sed ‘choose ONE of these women & make a film about her.’ -now i don’t want you to do this in this case b/c it’s breezy, careless & fun (although it cud always be MORE fun!) these projects are usually called ‘ambitious,’ but i always found that a cop-out; i often prefer a Kitchen Sink novel or film. – but i think you shud get our BOYS in ORDER ~~ they’re all so somber, fun, mysterious & pretentious that i think they need their own MOMENTS, their own special introductions. is it my imagination, or do the names transfer themselves around? who is B? why “”b?” y is dave the violinist ALWAYS dave-the-violinist?; i think that is fine THREE TIMES_TOPS; no more. then dave. he’s already made an ‘impression.’ like i mentioned, this editing is much much harder – stuff forra pro (or someone like me), but i think it wud b worth it in this case – it’s half-memoir/half-projection. & there are some nice descriptions & interpretations. but, as usual, it needs a tunnel explosion, a venal betrayal & a stray dog. the ‘cliques’ shud also be more defined & easier for the reader; chessers, students, musicians, nerds, 1night-boys .. of course, eventually, one – or two – of these boys HAS 2 float to the surface & become a Main Character; hang the others on (them). i dunno, i only read half ..

  2. d.shapiro says:

    PART II: oddly enuff, a gud stopping point: REALLY puts it in perspective; NOW the story DRAGS. -more on this soon. ~there are now abundant spelling & grammar issues, particularly sentence fragments. just undertaking this alone would/will be daunting, let alone the distribution of paragraph information. OK, we lose all the fun Lawrence crowd & that hurts – hurts the story – the FUN PART of the story is Officially Over(!) -SOME readers might not read farther than i did. SO, the Second Half HAS TO BE shorter; it’s like we go from a gay romp to purely analytic description. -more ‘scruples,’ & frankly, much less interesting; too much ‘He-Said’/’She-Said.’ it’s like Part 1 was Less Than Zero & then you tacked on Jane Austen’s Emma(!) other problems: MUST introduce ‘blindness’ MUCH earlier. +don’t write Modern if you mean Contemporary: Modern means 1880-1922, roughly; Contemporary means NOW. +since so many of us know Of Human Bondage, i wuddn’t waste much space on it – just BRIEFLY summarize & write what it meant to YOU and your STORY. +i really doan kno how you can whip it into any kinda shape – i sorta misplaced my imagination (i’ll THINK about it_tho). +if you write anymore on these, or OTHERS, kno that i gotta LOT of books in the mail – about SIX ~ HALF from Maged! – so i MUST busy myself with those, & i’m sucha slow SLOW reader/et cet

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