10/4 8:00pm CDT, Chicago: I'm not going to write any more of this in diary form, because frankly it doesn't matter to my story what I'm doing any more. I mean, it does, in that now that We are apart Her image will do whatever such images do, and so we can see if my earlier comments in that regard were actual dung or merely had the appearance of dung, being sham-poo.
The previous joke I regard as a family heirloom, as it was told to me many times by my father when I was just a wee lad. It's because of things like this that I must necessarily be shielded from the public eye, lest my campaign for National Zookeeper be disrupted. I recall an incident long ago when my father gently scolded me for informing a friend that my father had authored (in a single impromptu sitting, no less!) an undoubtedly masterful joke involving one teddy bear jumping on another in an Olympic event called "the broad jump." I hope by telling you that I will not ruin his retirement career as a children's singer.
Yes, I am home now, and though I will be back at the post-school locale shortly, my present location has set to growin' in me a storehouse of psychoanalytic self-accounting, which I suppose is the healthy thing to be spouting when you're in shock, when you are perfectly aware that your mind has blocked off some part of itself, that it's refusing to understand some obvious truths about itself... you know this because if it did, if it were really plain and comprehensible to you that you may never see Her again, there's no way you would be anywhere near this together, you who... I mean... I guess... I who... catharts like others eat and drink. So I will follow up on some Crud themes, confronting and beating the crap out of my inner child, petting the bully-Bear images, and dealing appropriately with the writing style attempts and romantic ideals of my youth, John Denver, and most importantly, my recent past, so as to prevent my subconscious from cruddying it, from distorting, selectively remembering, and reinterpreting it. I was thinking every step of the way (or at least every other step, to leave room), noting all the darn symbols and patterns and analogies and all that crap, so there's little chance of further misinterpretation as long as I can connect mind to mind, my own to my own, merging with myself while externalizing Myself, i.e. the person in the story, who's got to still be with Her, right? He's got to be with Her right? Otherwise I would feel very empty right now, what with all those parts of Me merged with Her in mind and body? Or is the sort of togetherness We achieved more like just synchronizing Our watches?
Consider the preceding as foreshadowing that the character emerging in this manuscript will soon get much more complicated, or at least confusingly portrayed by a proliferation of different pronouns. So geezme... what I was saying, what made this date worth dating even though this is in no way a diary, even though the date for the long night to come would more appropriately be labeled simply "After," was that I edited, or more precisely was going to edit, looked at one page, tried to insert one passage, and didn't do so. This is significant because it expresses both my present mood and the stage to which the "humor" in this manuscript has "progressed." The page in question is the first of sitting nineteen, employing in its first sentence the word segue, which I originally thought to be spelled segway... Well, no, I didn't think that... I just didn't think. So as is tradition, I was going to insert after the word "segue" some comment like "(which I will pronounce `segway' in memory of my dead sea monkey and/or grandfather of that name)," but all that would come to mind, all that would noticeably differ and "pro-gressss" from the comments of this form of the past, comments that must be there to demonstrate a consciousness of the operations being performed (in this case using speech), consciousness of self -- an actually human action... All that passed through my mind were vocalized sound-bytes of the word in various silly voices. `Nuff said.
After the Nuff has been said in the 69,482,180,086,753,093 silly voices generally available to humans and other lower beings: So obviously the required change, the new attitude and consequent actions resulting in the achievement of a proper balance of competing viewpoints, and hence sanity and health, would be attained by knowing when to stop reflecting, or at least stop having to state what has been noted in such reflection. You know as well as I do when I have done something new or questionable with the punctuation; you are as good a Tripe-producer as I. You must fill the gaps; you must remember that I know when I have slipped up, that I have considered your criticisms as best I could. Please, reader, You must have faith in Me, and I will try to believe in You, that You would not betray Me and laugh any more viciously at Me than I would at Myself.
But I will tell you things that you don't/can't/couldn't know, like the fact that I just violated one of My own secret laws, which I must not do, for you were supposed to be guessing at its content. I capitalized Myself against My standard form, and though I feel that My doing so is still lawlike in some way, I do not know the law any more. I will therefore have to reveal to you the old law and its justification (for all things have a justification from some point of view, if only a poor one). To do this, though, I must stop with the mambo jambo and tell more of the story. Trust Me, Reader Love.
I didn't go out because I wanted to, but only because the other options seemed worse. I mean, the first time We ran there it was just cold... and long... and we ran down trails which had been made for cross-country skiing but which were obviously unsuitable for such at the time we traversed them because, as my mother always told me, you can't ski in a marsh. The trails also didn't go anywhere near where we wanted to go, so while we had hoped to end up at the nearest supermarket, we ended up somewhere slightly closer to... say... Spain. The good thing about that trip was that we did end up shopping, spending perhaps more than I have spent in my life, which meant that even though it was only the day after that whole Boyfriend-finds-out-and-annoys-everyone incident, the likelihood of my moving out soon had been reduced to about zero.
The second time, which occurred two days later (imitating the every-other-day exercise schedule that She/We had used to keep in more energetic times), We had no such destination, unless you count loss (which is different from "Land of the Lost"). ...Or so I felt... But I was brooding, because I had broken the golden rule, which says don't go to sleep brooding, or your dreams will twist it all out of proportion and deposit it in the follicles of the stubble you wake up with. (It's an ingenious system, really...) Why was I brooding last night? Same stuff, naturally, except at that point She was too tired to sit with Me the required long long time until that magic number disappeared. Jeez... all She would have had to do was ram her tongue down my throat for a few weeks, and I'm sure I would've felt just fine...
So I was brooding, and my options that morning were to either lie around half-asleep brooding, run with Her (which might knock Me into some kind of sensibility), or play Atari. Her roommate's boss was setting up homestead in a cabin somewhere, which at that point did not have electricity, so many of this woman's appliances moved in to take up space in my bedroom during the latter portion of my stay. Among these was an evil Atari 2600, much like the one I played incessantly `round (guess when!), oh, sixth grade or so. And many of the same games... It even had its own little TV attached, so one could play Combat and watch Saved By the Bell simultaneously, producing a generational Crud clash. This evil item was never turned on during my stay; it just loomed there in the corner being symbolic, filling my dreams with Janus (Roman god of Arches)-knows-what and encouraging me to revert to infantility.
We determined we'd bring a DOG on this trip, and She of course wanted Duke, him being the favorite and all. Yeah... I've got pictures... Her and the DOG, havin' a grand old time, asserting their master-slave relationship, conspiring to get my socks all covered with spit. I seen it. "It's because I'm such a naturally affectionate person," She said. Hmmm... DOGS is DOGS is DOGS. I growled. "He fought for Me," She said. Why I oughta... I think it's `cause I'm white.
So it was Me and Her and Yellow Dog (great spirit of sky and sea) traversing many moons through the forest, or rather on the way to the forest (so's not to get ahead of myself). I held Him very close by a short leash clutched tightly and wrapped multiple times around my wrist. Fat guy trotting along... Doesn't pull on the leash like Merc, but doesn't know "heel" either... If he does heel by accident and you praise him, he gets all excited and pulls ahead, thus ceasing to heel and so deserve the praise... Annoyed at myself for reading this metaphorically. We pass the "lake," which is really a dirty little pond, which is presently pretty much iced over and so not suitable for beaver-catching activities, unless they're dead under the ice, in which case they don't flail as amusingly when you bite their necks. I'm wearing way too many layers of clothing, I can tell already. If I had self-control, I could make just the right amount of heat escape from my large nose, and this wouldn't be a problem.
And then I loose control on Him. Off into the woods, He never loses sight of Us, always vigilant, always protective, and always happy. "Awww. I love Duke. He's so swell." But I, too, will be shiny to bursting. If I lose that, what advantage do I have over He who whines from a distance? And I am losing it... I can't keep up; I can't run with Her like She needs... I'm not enjoying It. Yes, I'm only doing this to myself, being self-absorbed. Again. She looks fine: reasonable and happy. She runs ahead a ways, then back to circle around me with a pleasant hello. But would She stay that pleasant? Should She? It fascinated Me sometimes that even though right then I was not being very exciting or funny or even interesting, She still seemed to like Me... as if I had actually built up something, done some things that actually had lasting effect. Strange. I pushed ahead again, but soon slowed to a walk.
But it won't stay... Not if I keep this up. She gives Him slack to no end, but He had more time to build up a reserve of good behavior, and She will resent Him later... or maybe just pity Him... the closeness, in my case, will not stay; there's only so much bad breath one can stand until it leaps out to alienate, isolate, and otherwise get in the way. So even if We want to be nice and say no, love's certainly not an economic relationship... it's... My God, I've gone through all this before, haven't I? Repetitive thought, lack of connection with oneself... this is no equilibrium, baby, this is a rut! The barriers don't have to even be struck anymore, for they've made their impressions in my mind, and I can now reproduce them myself, tailored by abstraction and cumulative force to install a permanent frown, an actual bit of a notion of what I am, and so what it's appropriate for me to do... And by this fabulous equation I find it is appropriate for Me to get the heck away from Her, because I will drag Her down eventually... No need to put them through trauma to leave Her exactly where She started with a different brand of canned meat product for a boyfriend.
But no, this kind of self-pity is only worthwhile if it spurs action, and so it will... And so I did what I could do: I smiled and took off again. I will go even if I bust a gut...
I busted a gut. Well, a leg actually, sort of. After We passed the scary guy cutting down trees, after We decided to turn back because We had no idea where this trail was going and how long it would go, after We passed the scary guy again, my knee decided to take upon itself the pain I was repressing. I kept running anyway... Even though She's totally cool about it, even though She cares about me now, if I stop running I will lose.
"What's wrong? Why are you galloping?"
I was galloping. I was lumbering. I was running like a bipedal Duke. Pathetic.
"You should stop."
"No, I'm okay... are we... uh... there yet?"
"Whatever. I could go for a while."
By this time We had reached the road again, though at a point further away from home than the one We'd left from. "I guess I'd better go back. My knee is not happy."
"Okay. I'll catch up with you." She bounced back into the woods.
Dang it. Why do I have to react this way? Why is it so important? Why haven't I gone running by myself more often? Here goes, kiddies: The Capitalization Secret, The Obvious Secret... You see (and you should see `cause it's bee-leedin' Obvious), being locked up in a room of your own creations isn't too fun. I mean, it can be, I guess, in a narcissistic kind of way: it's all you, no one is in any position to judge it... You can feel... maybe... powerful. But not really... I mean, power only makes sense if you get to affect something that's not you (in some way), and this not you thing has to be, well, formidable in some way... It has to be not you to the extent that it's a little bit against you in a way you can't just write off as lending to its aesthetic perfection... People need -- what? objective criteria? ...Or... well... (George's brother Earl) ...I mean... what's the point if you're not getting any feedback, well, heck, just say it, boy: She gives it all meaning. So when I am near Her, I am Me, but when not, I'm just me, and I'm affected the same way to a lesser extent by association with Him, because He's the part of Her that's set against Me. Besides, "Him" is His name, and He has no other, the numinous bastage, so He's got to be capped; He should get a fricking capitalization medal. So there it was: the original Law, but I've broken it several times now, and going back to edit just makes it worse because dammit I just can't decide what the Law should be. What kind of creature am I? What is it hence appropriate for me to capitalize, hence treat with respect and/or pseudo-religious connotations? god, I miss her. No! I will not write about the present. I will have no more of that reflective insanity, that worrying at the time about what should be private or dramatically effective or... just NO!
I've got to believe there's some meaning behind this, that there is some sense in the capitalization that I have engaged in through a mixture of instinct, habit, foresight, and whim. These are the four pillars making up my emotional life and they must be working for the same ultimate purpose, even if I'm unaware of it. And foresight (my angelic minion Ted) will guard against the tricks of Mr. Lucimephistobeelzadmodeusatan.
...All this I was not thinking of as I walked back down the main road to Her place. The ground was significantly higher leftwards toward the road, so I was walking on a slope, which did not help my hurt knee, which was also leftwards, and resented having any weight put on it at all. This is what I was thinking about, that and ways in which I'd better start to break away from Her. If I was poison, which I am, and I could never make it with Her in the Long Run (which would remain similarly Long, i.e. infected by Him-of-the-Longest-Legs, for at least the rest of my stay, probably until Christmas when He had just made plans to visit, and maybe forever), then I'd better start distancing myself so as to ease the separation, which will be final when it comes. So time to click in the defenses, accentuate the negatives, assert my independence, push my limits, and get cold...
"Hey!" I turned and She was there on the other side of the lake/pond/whatever. Duke was swimming in the water, which obviously was less icy over there, as She stood on the shore. And She stood -- stood out through the haze of my own breath visible in the cold, through my sweat induced by too many layers of protection, through my cold thoughts... "Wait!" She called. "Duke! Come'ere, Duke!" He lumbered out of the water and followed as She disappeared into the woods... but not disappeared: I could make out through the scape of trees a moving form, the glint of Her hair that to Me looks blonde though it's as brown as mine -- I also think of myself as blonde, as I was blonde as a child and only gradually gathered darkness... I blame dust. I blame genetics. I blame my parents. I blame God. I blame myself. As I blamed I chucked rocks as hard as I could out on to the lake, trying to shoot them straight through the ice but usually skipping them out along the surface with an interesting eech-eech-eech-etc. noise. Cool. Soon She joined Me in this activity, while Duke prodded curiously though apprehensively at the ice which did not quite reach the bank, but instead thoughtfully provided a little greenish trough from which the DOG, after a few aborted attempts to skip himself across the frozen sheen, could drink.