Tuesday, May 11, 2010


He is pretentious and verging on ridiculous, but he is colorful – Mario the sort of person I should be with despite everything – just like Gillian, the dramatic blonde girl who had looked so alluring at a distance and even more so when sitting across from me this spring talking sex and dysfunction and art and the Dali Lama – so pleasing as the colored lights of a seedy Italian restaurant garden played on her sweet and perhaps untrustworthy face and her rounded arms and what I could see of her front and back that was not covered by a sleeveless T shirt. Gillian the right sort of woman to have in my life – so very different from the people I came from, and so very different too from the girl who for a time, until recently, had been the wife I thought wrongly could have had no connection with those people.

And now I am in Vermont again, where this adventure began less than a year ago when I was at the bottom of my deepest depression, this place from which, thanks to Peter’s suggestion last fall, I began these take-no-prisoners travels in time that had brought me so much already, not least the obliteration of my depression – gone forever it seemed clear – along with the figurative obliteration of my blood connections, the ties that I had not realized until this year had bound me even as I, the family rebel, had been setting up scenes in exotic places that seemed as far as anywhere I could be from where I had started out.

During the second evening back in Vermont, which I spend with Peter and Julie at their frame house back in from the Rutland strip, we talk about the lay of the land in this part of the world. Peter tells about rural poverty in this otherwise prosperous seeming underpopulated place. This bit of reality makes the place seem more complete. I tell them I am getting ever more serious about moving up here. I may be finished with things I need to do in New York. I am certainly finished with writing, for writing has been useless to me in this time of change. I repeat again a needed declaration that it is from the visual world, not the stuffy world of letters, that I get my information and sustenance and inspiration. I ask them if they know about a drawing or painting course I might take up here, since I have been thinking of taking such course in the city (not that I myself might be an artist but that it could help me enter more fully into the art I am seeing). They say there is an admirable woman who teaches privately. Not what I had in mind, for I had been thinking of Manhattan art schools, though maybe this would work.

We also talk about the time Peter was in the city and went to ACOA meetings with me. He asks me about Abigail. I tell him she still has her humorous edge. She recently did a riff on that sentimental thing about letting a lover go and if he comes back it is meant to be and if not that was meant to be too. In Abigail's version, if he doesn't come back, hunt him down and kill him. Peter laughs. I am a little surprised that when I say this out loud it does not seem funny to me.

I get back to Donna’s house late and do not see Mario or his wife or his dog or Donna herself. I have not seen her since we got back from that minister’s meeting. And Mario and his wife are out all the time, which must mean they are finding plenty to do. This is all working out well.

I am on my second cup of coffee and not very awake yet when Mario comes into the kitchen. He is upset. This is not working out, he says. This is terrible. When they came in last night, while I was still over at Peter and Julie’s, they were accosted, he says, by Donna. She is not, he says, keeping herself to the basement as promised. She scolded him, he says, for leaving unnecessary lights on, and she complained that they were not cleaning up the dishes when they were finished with the kitchen. I cannot live this way, he says.

I stay non-committal, though I do say I don’t think Donna means them any harm. And at this Mario explodes. How can I of all people be so insensitive. How can I, after all the things I know from ACOA, support someone being so tyrannical. Can’t I see how Donna reminds him of his awful mother? And I say nothing, and Mario gets angrier, as if I have betrayed him. Then he says outright that I have betrayed him.

Next, he is all charm again, telling me that he had not wanted to say it but this, today, is his birthday. I ask him how old he is and he shrugs and says he is not saying, which tells me he has turned 60.

Then he gives a distorted smile and says Donna is furious with you. She says that you wheedled her into telling you all sorts of awful things she wanted no one to know. You squeezed it out of her.

I leave and drive over to Peter’s place to arrange to move over there right way rather than wait a few days as we had all planned.

I may hunt up an art teacher. And also take up horseback riding again. And I may have to take my search for what happened into the darkest part of New Hampshire. I can’t be bothered by Mario throwing a fit.

Good riddance Mario. And Donna?

Then a nagging thought: that maybe I am just racing through things that in the past it took me years go get through, that the movie of the present may be nothing more than a speeded up version of a movie of the past.

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