Saturday, August 14, 2010


In the light of day she tells me again what a fine place I have, as if she is surprised. And she says there is something on her mind that she should tell me about. It sounds like something that might come to light in a meeting. She says it is my khaki trousers, which are hanging on a chair in the living room. “When I saw the khakis this morning I thought for a moment that they were my father’s."

But this passes quickly, I think. Maybe. We hug and we roll about. And then it is time for her to pack up and leave. She says she wants to settle in in her own place, and get to the Sunday meeting at the Corlears School. It is unspoken but I think it best that we not both be at the meeting, for in those meetings you are supposed to say anything that is on your mind. I go to the movies instead, but I hardly follow what is on the screen. And anyway I am exhausted, and tomorrow is another day.

I phone my old friend Max in San Francisco to tell him the good news about finding a girlfriend. I know what Max will think. He knows about how I handled the Far East, how before I got a contract to write a novel for an ultra-respectable mainstream publisher I wrote for a rich but disreputable publisher paperbacks like BANGKOK AFTER DARK and TAIPEI AFTER DARK (though after my respectable
novel was published and I was in the Middle East in what might have been the terminal depression I could not fulfill the contract I signed to write BEIRUT AFTER DARK).

The next morning, Monday, I ride the E-train up to 53rd Street and Fifth and, assuming we had planned this without words, I pick up two cups of deli take-out coffee, one for her and one for me, and a bagel to go wither her coffee. I carry them to the street, where I expect to see her shining in her new yellow boots. But she is not there.

I phone her. She acts surprised that I expected her to be at her sidewalk post today. And even more surprised that I should presume to look for her there. She says, “I didn’t think you’d get all lovey-dovey.”

And back at my place there is note slipped into my mailbox by the dread Abigail who tells me once again how much I am hurting her. This is too much to bear this time, she says. She tells me about the girl talking last night at the Corlears school telling about going up to New Hampshire to look into a fellow ACOA member's "magic kingdom."

And now Linda with whom I fell in love in the Middle East is in town. She comes over to Chelsea for the first time since she told me about Alice Miller's The Drama of the gifted Child and Freud’s Mourning and Melancholia. The second time since we went to the Frick together and she did not see how I could ever not see the horror in the 17th century Dutch landscapes, not just Hobbema but the more conventionally appealing van Ruisdale too, in whose Frick painting there is a furtive figure scurrying into the woods.

I tell her what has just happened. I describe Gillian. I show her the letter from Abigail. This is serious, she says. She puts the blame on Gillian for taking our story public.

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