Feb 18, 2004

unraveling sense

I'm beginning to discover that sometimes with a lot of time....things start slowly to make a kind of sense. It's not easy, but sense starts to unravel slowly, and slowly the threads that were so tightly wound, relax. That's been happening for me occasionally, with things that I didn't understand. About 7 years ago, my best friend at the time....Desiree, with whom I was very close (I was the beneficiary of her life insurance, ferchristsakes) totally Xed me out of her life. It was so disconcerting and disorienting that I can't even begin to describe how.
It made no sense. Mutual friends offered up suggestions, and I could hear the truth in them, but still wanted to know why?? but never got an answer. Honestly, I don't think I'd ever been so hurt in my life....primarily because it was so unexpected and cold. It wasn't like we'd even had a "fight" or anything.

Desiree was in so many ways a godsend for me. She opened me up to so much.
I met her at my mentor, Mary's, house. It was one of Mary's legendary parties. It was hot that night and I had gone with a girl from college. She'd thought I'd asked her out on a date, I later found out (when I had come to pick her up, she'd introduced me very awkwardly to her father) It was a strange (magical?) night all around.

That was the night that Desiree met Will, Mary's son. The two of them were "fated" to be together, she insisted. (They are not together now, needless to say...). Their story is a convoluted one to be sure. She'd had dreams all her life, real dreams of meeting him, and so had he.
They were fated to be together. He was her soul mate. It was the night she also met me.

(What was I, I wonder?)

I remember that night, a slender, very pretty dark haired girl, looking like a cross between a very young
Sonia Braga and Lisa Bonet coming up to me from the crowd. Her voice and mannerisms were much like Lisa Bonet's in fact.
She came up to me and said, "I've read your poetry. It's very good." And then she quoted one of my poems.
I was flattered and surprised, but didn't take much note of it.We talked very briefly that night.
She spent most of that night getting to know the man she had known "before birth."

Later that week, I got an email from some German person. At the time, I barely knew how to operate the email system at school. We had been forced to use email by the Graduate Advisor, and I was still at that time, technophobic. The German person turned out to be Desiree, using her then roommate Gerlinde's (who was German and a source of *many* stories) email address at Tulane. Mary had given her my email address.
We corresponded every day, several times a day. What followed was a intense friendship, one that blurred the lines all too often, I can see in retrospect.

But back to the End:
It was just a few days after her 25th birthday party, she called me up, whining about wanting chocolate and being on her period (something she did more than once a month by the way). I, co-dependant that I am, baked her (another) chocolate cake and
brought it over. We did our usual thing...played with the dogs, (my god dogs, Dalva, Rabbit, and Pixie)
lied on her bed, draped in an old souvenir handkerchief from Goa, under an unframed print of Fuseli's "Nightmare", ceiling poorly decorated with glow in the dark stars....draped in left over sheets that I had stolen from my mother to make a canopy.
We listened to Peter Gabriel, Fred Astaire and Bjork....we talked once more about her pet subjects,
about Yoko and John, how sexually frustrated she was, how sexually frustrated I was, how tempted she was to have sex with either:
1. Ross, her hyper intelligent, very cool, aggressively asshole ex boyfriend.
3.Armand, her very previous exboyfriend who was determined to get her back, but in whom she was not interested in.
3. Paul, Ross's friend, who was a good Catholic school boy, very secure, looked and acted more than a bit like me, had a frigid bitch of a girlfriend.... and a yacht.
It was all very typical.
She and I smoked in her overgrown uptown back yard at dusk, swatting away mosquitoes....where she'd once filmed me in with a laboriously procured 8 millimeter camera for her student film....smoking "like Cole Porter" she laughed.
It was not much different that any number of such nights.
And then one day shortly after, it was all over.
She didn't return my phone call. She ignored my letter asking "why"? No explanation. It was just over.

Anyway....let's just say that for a good 7 years I've been carrying around a lot of baggage due to it...
and a lot of fear of getting close to others again due to it too.

All the while, I had stayed in touch with a friend I'd met through Desiree,( her "all but adopted" mother) Lisa. (yes, I know, all these Lisas must be confusing) Desiree had nothing to do with her family when I met her, and had taken Lisa (who was about 20 years older) as a mother figure. They were very close. Anyway, I liked Lisa a lot...and she liked me. So even after my relationship with Desiree ended, I still periodically corresponded with Lisa....mainly at Christmas and birthdays. I always made a point never to mention the prickly subject of Desiree in my notes at all. I've done this for 7 or 8 years now.

About a year ago, I noticed a wedding announcement.......it was Desiree's. I noticed that Lisa was listed as matron of honor. Anyway, to cut a long story short, this summer, Lisa sent me a card near my birthday with a few lines about her dogs and her husband and her new house (which is near me actually) and p.s. ed at the end is a note saying: "by the way, Desiree and I don't talk anymore." I'm not sure why, but it helped put my mind at rest for some reason. You'd think I'd have seen the clues before, but it wasn't until then that it all made sense and didn't just seem like a theory...that this is a pattern of Desiree's. Of course I'd seen her x people out while I knew her....(her parents had been xed out before I even knew her, her sister, Mary, eventually William, eventually even Ross, I think)
But for whatever reason it made more sense when I got that card.
Anyway....it's taken nearly 8 years now...but I think I've finally gotten over it.

Meeting an old friend I've never "met"

Last night my friend Lisa who lives in Colorado and her friend Fawn came into town.... out of the blue.

A few days ago, she startled me with this email:
Hi Jason....
:) How are you doing? I have a surprise! I am coming with my friend Fawn (whom you've met, remember? To New Orleans next week! We will only be in town a short while. My brother bought a pickup truck on Ebay, and it's located in Gulfport, Miss. I offered to go and get it and drive it home to Colorado! So Fawn and I are going to play a tamer version of Thelma and Louise and make a roadtrip of it. What an adventure.... Anyway I would love to get to meet you in peson even if it is just for a meal or drink or whatever. We will be arriving in New Orleans by air about 10:15 pm on Wednesday the 18th, and then going on to Gulfport the next day. I realize that falls right in the middle of your work week. I wish we could stay in the area a while but we have to put 1600 miles behind us in four days, so we can't stay long.
Is it possible to get together?
Can't wait to hear back from you-

Lisa and I have been friends for, we counted it up....6 years. It's hard to believe. We've been corresponding online for 6 years, and had never met...so I *had* to meet her...even if I was dead. It was strange, even though we only got to spent literally a few hours together, it felt like we had known each other forever. I guess in a sense we have, but I've often been amazed at how natural it is to meet after such a long correspondance.

They got in at about 11 pm. I picked them up at their hotel at about midnight, then we went to eat (at 3 am...it was not easy to find a place). I decided to take them down the long way to uptown, so they could at least see part of the city that was more attractive than the interstate. We ended up at the Trolley Stop Cafe, certainly not the best place in the city to eat, but one which I knew for sure was open at all hours.

Needless to say, there had been a shooting at a parade that night. The police were everywhere, but we didn't know that until well after the fact. It just seemed like the city was especially ....ummm "safe."
We had a nice meal.
They got to eat vaguely Southern food at 3 am, and, more importantly, I got the chance to finally meet one of my best internet friends. We talked about our time at the site we'd first met, a prayer circle of sorts, about the city, about Colorado and her family, about our trapper forebearers, about the school system, about men, life and more. They were only going to be in N.O. for a few hours that night, so that was my only chance to see them. They were leaving for Mississippi the next morning to fetch the truck, and then drive all the way back to CO, like "Thelma and Louise" as Lisa put it. I had to go to school the next day too, 5 am I was back up...no sleep....so you can imagine how beat I was.

Anyway, I'd actually met Lisa's friend Fawn before, but never Lisa. Some of Lisa's friends had come down from CO last year I think? Or the year before that? I can't recall...anyway, I met them then. It was an awful trip for them, I know. It was New Years holiday, and the city was crammed with Sugar Bowl tourists. The weather was bitterly cold, colder even than Colorado, and rainy and miserable. I felt personally responsible for the horrible state of the city. I know they hated it. Thankfully, Lisa's own trip was much much nicer, (I hope) if shorter. It's the middle of Carnival of course, but the weather is beautiful now. I didn't want another group of guests getting a bad first impression of "home," you know. As much as I sometimes hate this place, it's still home, after all.