I don't understand it. Her parents didn't like her seeing me. But everyone said I was a sweet boy. They thought my hair was radical. I admit. . . I was part of a hoodlum crowd, but I was never a hoodlum myself. Not much, anyway, beyond a certain personal hoodlumism. I did smoke cigarettes, and I did drink, but not so much. And I did very early some of the drugs my hoodlum friends did often. But I was always the first one home on a crazy weekend. I preferred my own company to the company of others. At parties, I was always the one sitting in the outer room away from the fray. I was mopey, I must admit, an outsider at an early age. It wasn't a conscious decision, I think, but only that the world around me scared me. And I never trusted the adoration any more than the scorn.
Look at that kid. He didn't know how to write, let alone what to write. Emily. . . she was so profuse. She could pen a beautiful eight page letters like a lover. Where did it come from? She was freer than I, wilder. She was exploring the world without fear. She was hellbent on gorging herself in possibilities. She was a Juliet for Shakespeare. She was, I am ashamed to say, much further advanced than I.
Did it serve her well is what I want to know, or did it turn around and bite her in the ass? See? This is the thing, the dominant question about which I wonder. I want to know. How did her beautiful wildness serve her?
She remains that wild budding flower in my memory. But how does that story unfold. I jump from the exposition to the denouement. I need to know the conflict, the antagonist, the rising action of her life. There is an arc, a curve. I only know that she married a year or so out of High School, and divorced fifteen years later. I know that she remained unmarried for another sixteen years, then married for another fifteen. I romanticize the first marriage, perhaps, and villainize the second, but I have little data to go on.
There were no children.
The arc of her life. . . I can never know, of course, and that is what haunts me. A person's life should be knowable if not valorized. Like Willy Loman, a person amounts to something and must be recognized.
I would practice alchemy if I thought it would work. I would conjure and speak in tongues just to know. I would change everything.
I stayed up too late last night. Never turned the t.v. on. I scanned letters, worked on old photos, listened to music, drank whiskey, sent texts, and then read for a while before passing out. It was the old mania that got me. It is all fun until you get your eye put out.
I dreamed all night.
I'm going to need release soon. I'm locked in the arms of this madness.
I've watched this video about one hundred times now. I can't begin to explain why.
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