Saturday, November 26, 2005


Hi, everyone. Thanksgiving break is over and it ended with a most curious dream.

In this dream, I met an old friend, a girl I haven't seen for several years. We were in a classroom talking, and some teacher who looked like Condoleezza Rice came over to listen to us. I started shouting at the teacher, "Get out of here! You don't have permission to intrude on our privacy!" The girl blushed and was happy that I'd do something so forcefully on her behalf.

When I woke up I thought about this for a bit, and I realized that this particular girl and I had not actually lived a life of privacy together, of shared secrets. I wrote letters to her that I never sent (every time I think this now, I hear a Sean Watkins song called "Letters Never Sent"), chronicled our meetings and moments in Masoretic detail, and credited her with attitudes and feelings that were, at their best, holy. My half of our relationship was, to put it mildly, ungrounded, and the secrets were not shared; I was the one with the secret.

My memory of her is suffused with this attitude, enough that sometimes I cannot separate the living person from the marble statuette. The things I remember clearly are shared moments, when we disagreed or moved around together. They are surprisingly brief, and they make me think I never knew her. The memories I made up by myself are literary, not in a positive sense. They are beautiful at times, heartbreaking to remember. Fiction. I remember our last disagreements. Reality.

I try to remind myself of this as I troll around the internet, looking at the footprints she's made, pictures and things she's written, where she is. I could email her this second, for good or for evil. But I have been unsure about what it would mean to me. I've had other dreams, that I'd tell her I was proud of her, proud of what she's become. But frankly, that is all made-up stuff again, my relationship to dead artifacts.

I also try to remind myself that I have my own secrets now, sequestered in the four walls of my home with my wife and my son. I know how much must go unspoken in any conversation with her. Like Levin at the end of Anna Karenina says, "... there will still be a wall between the holy of holies of my soul and other people, even my wife..." and how much more so, with this lady who is practically a stranger to me.

It has a strange hold, memory. She has never given me any sign she knows I exist, not since we talked years and years ago. She doesn't look for my pictures or articles. I don't know if she even remembers me.

Yet I want to write; yet I wonder. And I feel a little bit strange trying to explain this all to Sarah. But I will, and it will be another secret just between us.

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