I’m beginning to see a pattern.
I wanted to stay home today and not walk around, but sitting at home is depressing, as is asking my mother for rides to the Borders store at the mall, so I just walked there and back.
Six miles is good exercise. I’m surprised my hip and knee are in good shape today, but that’s probably because I wasn’t working and got some sleep last night. I also took a different route to get back home, took the streets instead of the walking paths with the absurd amount of bridges. I’ll probably borrow my dad’s bike tomorrow.
Speaking of my dad: he’s now on facebook. It’s a funny thing, he’s also my friend on facebook. Cool. There goes any bit of privacy, especially because I link everything to facebook, including this blog. I’m not too concerned though. Things have a way of working themselves out, and it isn’t like I have anything to hide. It will be interesting for him to find out I have opinions and stories of my own. I’m sure it is strange for most parents to find out about their kids’ individuality, their separate identity.
I hate spring, mostly because of sports season. I’ve had to hear about the Lakers every day lately. Just get over yourselves already, it’s a game.
I kept reading Munro’s collection “Runaway” today. Got through the second story, which in my opinion, was much better than the first. I don’t know exactly how to describe the feeling of reading Munro – disorientation is a good word. I loved the ending to this second story, “Chance,” and I now have another favorite line besides Wolff’s “They is, they is, they is,” and that line is “I often think of you.”
I got halfway through the story and thought I had figured something out, and felt awfully clever until I went back and reread a crucial part that makes it obvious that what I had figured out had already been told to the reader. This is what happens when I get distracted when I’m reading. I haven’t been able to focus at all lately.
Munro is definitely on my list of writers to keep reading. I want to say she writes effortlessly, and reading her is effortless, but I don’t know if I want to compare her to Chekhov. I’m not sure I really like any sort of comparisons. But Munro is someone who makes me want to write, inspires me even. I can see how she does it, as opposed to reading Nabokov, whose craft I can’t even begin to decipher.
I was thinking of K today, but that’s also because I wrote an essay that included her. I wrote it in February, and it wasn’t directly about her, but it included her in such a way that someone asked me to write an essay specifically about her. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, particularly because I don’t know of a good way to enter the subject. To the person who was interested in her, she’s just the girl I followed to Berkeley. That’s the only point of interest for him, but for me, there’s so much more than that.
I mean, there’s that first kiss on one of the paseo bridges, after we’d gone for a walk, and we ended up there. Why? Why was that bridge important? I guess it was the endpoint of that walk from J’s house, where we had all been playing video games.
It’s hard to believe eight years have passed since that day. I can still remember most of it, or at least the parts that I thought were important: it was my first kiss, and I’m sure I had a lot to learn, but we didn’t stop just because I wasn’t up to par. I was pretty enthusiastic anyway, and a quick learner. On the way back to J’s, a couple of blocks away, she was on the sidewalk, and I was in the street. I don’t know why that image has stuck with me: she wasn’t even taller than me on the sidewalk, and we kissed again, furtively. It’s important that she wasn’t taller than me. It’s why I remembered to write that small detail into the essay I wrote. I have no explanation as to why it is important, except I remember the leaves on the ground, and the headlights of approaching cars.
There were leaves on the ground because it was the fall, and we’d spent the last couple of months together, spending most available moments together. I was pretty hopeless at not being nervous or acting like a bit of a puppy. I have to admit: her sister made me “officially” ask her to be my girlfriend over AIM. And before that, my friend E (the one I was working with recently), who was a grade younger than me (K was a senior, I was a junior, E was a sophomore), was playing one of those childish games where girls match people up and create a sort of family. So K and I were married, which made me really nervous. Another secret admission: I found out later that E did that on purpose. It didn’t seem staged at the time, only really embarrassing to a shy kid who had no idea how to take the next step.
So it was the night after we had officially become boyfriend and girlfriend that we kissed. I remember when K came to J’s house with her sister L. We hadn’t seen each other since talking online. It was really awkward, so I said let’s go for a walk, and everyone said funny things about me, and then we left. They all thought they knew what was going to happen, but what did I know? I didn’t know anything was going to happen. When we came back, the chuckles started again, only this time there was something to chuckle at and something to be flustered by.
When K left that night, we hugged on the porch; no kiss because her sister was in front too, and the car was coming to get her. It was dark, and I watched her walk across the lawn, just the silhouette of her. And then she was gone.
And then she was gone for good, and not even a year later. Oh she went to Berkeley alright, and I was left by myself, just like that. I don’t think you can imagine the kind of breakdown I had that summer, the kind of breakdown that left me literally scarred, so that whenever I take off my shirt for swimming or sex or whatever requires me to take my shirt off, especially taking my shirt off for sex, there’s always a moment when I wonder if I should just put it back on, if the girl’s noticed, if she’s scared and I should tell her it isn’t contagious, it’s just a body, just a body with scars and welts, just a body. Some people have been scared.
I had to wait a long time to impress her, and even then, I didn’t impress her or change her mind about anything. I just wish we could resolve this, could be friends. I can’t believe we were kids, like it didn’t ever happen, except I remember all the good times. We are friends, but only casually. It saddens me.
Just as a reminder to myself: I have to wear my mouthguard every night. I keep biting through my tongue in my sleep.
I should finally admit I have a birthday coming up. 25 is coming up quickly. I was supposed to be married by now, with kids. It almost happened, at least the married part. Almost.
Almost a lot of things have happened. Would you be surprised to know I’ve had only one birthday party in my 25 years? I sometimes wish I could have another.
I should be seeing lots of people on or around my birthday this year, which will make it better than average.