up!" I could still hear her voice saying the words the first time,
the day after my family moved into the house on Cranberry Bog Lane.
I was twelve, she was eleven, and I'd just asked, "So what gender
do you mean --" she was asking now, "you won't grow up at Harvard?
'Won't' means you refuse to grow up there, or it's not possible?"
It was a warm, August evening the summer before my senior year at
Dimsdale High, and I laid back on the cool grass under the oak tree
in her parents' backyard and looked up in the fading light, focusing
until I could see perspective -- the tunnel tree -- where focus alone
can put your head in another world, thank you, Renaissance.
not possible for it to be both," she said, lying back next to me,
our bodies loose in old cut-offs and t-shirts, together but just barely
not touching. She said feeling comfortable with people was like music
-- a feeling for where things are in space.
both," I said.
you refuse to do something you can do, or you aren't able to do something.
Refusing to do something you can't do anyway is only wasted refusal."
in making sense, can't more than one sense exist in the same idea
at the same time?"
did they drop you on your head? Is this the linear relic thing --
logic is a . . ."
of monophony -- how could you forget?"
hard. What I can't forget is how trying your senses can be."
never tried anything with you," I said.
never had to."
I've thanked you over and over in my diary. 'Dear Diary -- today Rebecca
took me down by the brook and showed me how to fly fish. I never dreamed
angling could be so much fun. Dear Diary -- tonight, under the stars,
Julia-Louise and I laid in the dark in her backyard, listening to
our parents' voices laughing and talking inside the house, and played
"button, button, who's got the butt on?"'"
me. Thanks again for keeping my name out of this."
sister, the tight-bunned linguist, would later refer to these exchanges
in a seminal paper called "Playful, Free-Association Homophony-Homonymy
Between Precocious Adolescents." Thanks, sis -- glad to give your
buns a seminal boost, even if it's only to curate butterfly tracings.
it was just a game called "making sense," and being in the middle
of it, where everything connected naturally from one unformed moment
to the next, was like opening your head and watching the cortex associate
on its own. All updraft to a mind evolved to rise, it was a game we
played a lot -- lying side-by-side, or head-to-head, looking up at
clouds, ceilings, trees, the tops of the long grass by the river,
the design in the roof panel in the back of the rusted Volvo station
wagon, snow falling, stars, the clouds of our breath rising in winter
air, and not looking away from away as we slowly talked and watched
our words, weightless in free-association, create the shadow of a
life that floated off the real.
kept a list of all the names you've called me -- profane, neo-profane,
sacred, post-modern literary allusional, illiterate delusional --
keeping track of all the categories was too much for my word processor.
Thank god for spreadsheet software. I think it will save civilization."
it cellulite -- you're a straight-girl dream.
and thank you."
thousand four hundred and twelve -- ballpark."
summer internship at Price Waterhouse Coopers has really paid off.
week at the neighborhood cook-out and t.v. talk-show marathon, asking
'Would you please pass the bread, Whore-all-dough,' was not you at
your best. That's why the community association asked me to feel you
why not Harvard? You don't want to belong to any club that would have
someone like you for a member?"
Allen -- famous southern New Yorker. What -- I can't have a reason
that's original? I mean . . . are you saying that . . . that I'm stuck
. . . stuck in the belly of some gigantic, social beast, or something?
I mean, it . . . it just . . . boggles the imagination."
'nah! and the Whale -- famous Bedford Falls seafood restaurant, known
throughout New England for it's tongue-pierced, baleen fritters. You've
lost your desire for being stuck in someone's belly?"
a Wonderful Life Sentence -- holiday season, prison dining-hall allegory,
where George, the bailee, is put away for tort reform and can't see
anything on the menu that will get him past the concourse and out
on the lamb. I've never been beastly to you, have I? Or is that what
you've wanted all along?"
speaking of concourses, tonight on '20-180' we ask the tough question:
Is it getting harder and harder, in the education banquet halls of
the-business-of-America-is-business America, to find something besides
the glazed, intellectual beefcake?"
for meat you're looking forward to, Esmeralda? Or are you still planning
to get thee to the Sisters of Chased-Titty? And what are you doing
with my zipper?" I asked, lifting my head and looking down -- the
first one to look back from away, and loser of the game. "Not fair."
fair, but handsome. And at the moment," she continued, turning toward
me on her side and sliding her long, spider fingers past the teeth
of my fly, "I think I'll spend the rest of my life conducting experiments
in creation science. Oh! Look what the hand of wad is creating here!"