from the journals of Chet (8/6/04)

(from a previous entry)Her birthday.

August 6th
Which I observed in Siena, watching the clock tower and appreciating that it marked the date. It was hot. I painted with watercolors. I sat in the shade of the tower, moving slowly, just as it moved slowly, across the face of the piazza, another larger clock. __________.

bookhands from the journals of Chet (8/6/04)

And in the six days which have passed since then, Kyle has left. I have won and lost chess games. I have read Heidegger and Schelling. I have eaten Umbrian cuisine, sometimes mediocre. I have spent hours in the dark with a woman that I _________, only to begin kissing her. I have watched the moon. I have continued correspondence with _____. I have bathed and shaved. I have played 20 questions. I have initiated others into games of guess what number I am thinking of. I have thought about the sailing trip. I have wished for the end of this trip. I have worried about the end of this trip. I have thought that things after this trip would again be bleak. I have remembered the joy of philosophy and felt it so close, ________. I have desired things that I have never done before.

I know that your company is unconditional and so I love you for this. Although I leave you for days saying nothing. In those silences, do you think of me? I think of you and wonder when I should be able to bring my experiences to you, to which you will patiently listen, assisting me in crafting a narrative which will somehow satisfy the events of my life as I know them . . . or at least some approach to such satisfaction.

So _______ invited me yesterday to come with her to the swimming pool, though we both lacked swimsuits. We wore our underwear into the pool, where British children were sounding out the most beautiful tones their voices could muster. _____ did handstands. I swam along the surface of the bottom, liking to feel my body just off of its surface, wondering how long this joy would continue.

It was beginning to thunder and so we began the walk back to Cittá. We walked slowly, uninterested in returning quickly. We spoke of natural disasters. Instead of returning to the hotel, we went to get gelato, me with my underwear in hand. It should have been hilarious. It started to rain, pouring. Since we could go nowhere, we got glasses of Scotch and sat and smoked cigarettes. We guessed the names of respective mothers, fathers. And then finally we returned to the hotel, joined others going out for dinner.

Then there was a long dinner with much drinking. Kyle’s _______ was announced (how had I managed to forget, above, the long conversation I had with Kyle?) and it made me sad, because I can only think of myself. I managed to lose others, walked back to the hotel. I was then wrangled into this and that. And ______ and I met, in the main piazza, with all the others. She asked me where I had been. We let the others get ahead of us, and decided not to return. We walked to a school and climbed the fence. We climbed onto the slide and laid there, talking for hours, until we kissed.

That is the telos of the story, yes? After the rest of that long night, walking Kyle to the bus station, then finally sleeping, at dawn, although only for a few hours . . . Now I am somewhere else. I am laying in my bed, alone. I have not seen ______ for several hours and do not expect to until tomorrow. I wish she would come to my door to see me. Because I have lost a game of chess against Andrew. And there was money riding on it. And though Andrew is so wonderful and reminds me of philosophy and thinking and joy, somehow I am nonetheless nonplussed. I want too much. I wish _____ were not so complicated. I wish I would have observed my own prohibitions, the moments of grace where I wondered if there was a point in kissing her.
I have attracted the attention of my male peers, congratulating me on my conquest (save Kyle, of course, who issued warnings about broken hearts, poetically delivered). But I will not kiss and tell. And the story would only be one of sorrow. What is there to tell? That I have again backed myself into an emotional corner from which I must somehow release myself?

It is 2 in the morning and I must go to sleep. My solace will not be in the words in front of me, no matter how well I express myself. I write, not for catharsis, but ________. To see things the way that they happened and enjoy them once more. To see things the way that they happened and suffer them once more.

This deep well of sadness threatens to rise. It has been waiting.