K + R Carousel: Fall Freshman Year through Fall Junior Year

Silent Conversations

talk3.txt (Fall 1992)

Jeez. I guess I was acting pretty darn miserable yesterday and the day before. That Veronika thing really threw me for a loop. But I figured out a big part of it was the fact that she was coming IN TWO DAYS, and I had to had everything ready by then. (I get a call. "Kirk, guess where I am. New York City." Not some small town with an awesome brand of local beer, whose name I can't pronounce in a far off land, not a thriving metropolis that was the sight of a major battle in a World War, half a day away by plane, but NEW YORK CITY, the Big Apple, the City that Never Sleeps, a scant four hours away by automobile. ) But now I think I may be starting to get a grip.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I've probably way overromanticized that particular time. It was a good time, don't get me wrong, and things tended to confuse me much less than they do now, but it wasn't some Nirvana de Ohio, some Garden of Euclid. And now there's Thomas. Lucky guy, that Thomas. Probably whispers beautiful sweet nothings in her ear, in German, which is no easy task. God, I know I've gone on and had good, full relationships since then so it's a good thing she has too, but still. And yes, any hope of continuing a relationship that had only 4 months into eternity over an ocean was pollyanna to say the least. But still. But still. But still.

I guess I can sympathize a bit. I know the feeling of love lost, never to be regained, but the fact is, there are worlds yet to be discovered. There is a lifetime ahead of you, full of interesting people and places, many of which you'll fall in love with. The nice thing about love is that even if you aren't with a particuar person when you NEED to be close to them, the love is still there. And the love doesn't have to be restricted to one person. What is the thing you have more of the more you give away? Love is silly that way. The more people you can hold in your heart at once, the happier you'll be. And chances are that one of those people will be near enough so you can show them you care. Perhaps this is the psycho-babble of my weird mind, is sounds confused when I reread it, but perhaps the general intent is coming across. Is it?

Yeah i think it is 'cause what you're saying rings true. All of this I know. But it's still very very confusing. I'm really looking forward to talking to Veronika, though. There are so many things that it would be really good for me to know. I think the relationship we shared that summer was probably the first one I experienced that was satisfying mentally, physically, and emotionally. That probably plays a big part in the `Pedestal-ization' of Veronika in my mind. Or maybe that it just seemed really cool to be going out with someone from another country. I think an important thing for me to sort out will be how big of a role all the relatively unimportant stuff played in the `pedestal-ization' process.

Anything else?

Not really. Though I am sorry if I've been difficult to put up with recently. Although I believe it is best to be happy a vast majority of the time, occasionally I feel it's important to know what it's like not to be happy, and to learn to explore the feelings and emotions in the other end of the spectrum.

To write, perchance to stick my foot in my mouth... What to tell you? I think love is the worst and the best thing that can happen to you. The terrible thing about it is the WANTING that invades your thoughts. That's something I have an awful time dealing with. Losing someone you love is also pretty tough, but it hasn't happened to me in a long time; I barely remember what the hurt is like. I remember one literally sleepless night I had, the worst ache in my chest I can remember, but it's never been as bad since then.

The nice stuff about love is pretty obvious, why even go into it, but the hurt which often comes afterwards seems to me not to justify the endevour.

I think the way I justify not wanting to fall in love with people is to pretend I'm looking for the perfect someone to make me happy. I should realize that happiness won't ever be made for me, only by me.

The hurt that comes afterward can be bad. But I'd hate to think of anybody living in an endless and eternal land of dull grays, never risking the pain and hurt in order to taste the joys that life can hold. (*PROSE OVERLOAD WARNING*) Someone once said something (O God, was it one of the dear old Romantics?) about Sucking the Marrow Out of Life, and that's the way I think life should be lived. In regards to love, I think maybe it's best to try lots of relationships, being ready to acknowledge the fact that they might end in sorrow, but always hoping for the one that not even death could end. (O Jeez, Now I'm sounding like `Princess Bride')

I had a funny little Tandy 1100 FD laptop when I came to college...no hard drive, just a 720K floppy, but it was good for taking notes because it had a decent little text processor hardwired in. R. and I had a series of "silent conversations", taking turns typing alternative paragraphs. This was one of the first ones. The first paragraph is by me, I've italicized what she wrote.

Veronika was a German foreign exchange student I went out with my Junior year of high school, the subject of the fictional Cafe at Night that I wrote in the English class R. and I were sharing this semester.

Also I beat Thomas in arm wrestling, a fact I am not proud of being proud of.

talk8.txt (Fall 1992)

hi... i really hope you don't get sick. we'd both be miserable.

don't worry about it. We get sick, life goes on. It's a cold, not polio or something.

i was talking to jan about our relationship. it was interesting. he knows about hani, too, and he told me to do the 'right thing.' i don't know exactly what the right thing is...

'Sokay, neither do I...

No that's too flippant. I dunno. If it's possible, I'd like to avoid what we went through last week. If it isn't possible....I dunno.

of course it's silly to repeat last week's scene- besides, wha would the script writers say? our ratings would plummet!

Hmmmm. Do you think maybe we should throw in a gratuitous romance scene, just to tittilate the masses? (heh heh)

one track mind!!! i thought this was a family show...

Spring Semester Freshman Year

(Spring 1993)

hey rosetta.

i guess there was a mix up in communication that night. maybe not too surprising, i guess. chaos runs amuck. (and if you've ever had someone run *your* muck, you know how painful *that* can be.) (sorry)

i feel like there's so much i want to say. there's this awful stab of emotion that gets forced back in on itself when i read what you write to me.

goddamn, i don't know what to write. i wish i did. i've been sitting at this fucking keyboard for half an hour, trying to think of what i could say that

jesus, i don't even know what it is that i'm trying to say.

remember that note i showed you before, the one i copied off of that one loveletter by this 12-year old? maybe i'd want to capture that sense of anxiety, of overwhelming feeling, feeling so strong sometimes you're not sure what it is, but it's tackled you completely, thrown you down full force

i feel like so much was lost last winter. that might be a dramatic misconception, i don't know. but in every every relationship i've been in, i've always worked and worked to keep them as open as possible, which is why it kills so much to see ours ended the way it was. i finally figured out what it was like, though. packing everything, i found a t-shirt way behind the bunkbeds. it was one marnie had given me, cute, all the disney bad guys, i hadn't seen it for months, like since september. but i had forgotton about it, it had never hit me that anything was missing, so it wasn't 'til it was too late that i realized there was something to be missed. that incident didn't cost me too much though, just not being able to wear one shirt. for right or wrong, i feel like that with you i'm missing alot more.

so why am i writing you that? it's nothing new. quite possibly it's missing the point. but jesus, what should i have done different? i dunno. probably alot. more than i would know.

i found some pages from a diary i started back in tenth grade. (around the recovery point from my dork phase) (maybe not such a wonderful recovery) i guess i've always fallen too fast and too hard. (cheesy innuendos aside) i purposefully tried to avoid that with you and failed miserably. sometimes it seemed like the only person i've had a succesful relationship with and still avoided that is marnie. (and that's what does bother me most about that relationship)

christ i miss being able to call you boo'ful.

there's so much i want to say but can't now.

This one took place a number of months after the "silent conversations".

We broke up after I got a fever blister (been having them since I was very young.) I think she was upset that I hadn't mentioned it before, possibly putting her at risk. (I hadn't had one for a year or so prior to this.)


twenty years forward, there's a cafe waiting for us.
when we look back, we'll wonder why we ever parted.
though we have remembrances, we will never speak again.
says I, the future is unknowable.

think I payed way too much attention to the "wonder why we ever parted" line of this, and kind of ignored the rest. I'm not sure if it was a response to the previous e-mail or not.

There is a big fair sized gap before the next messages which happen that summer as I head to Cleveland.

Summer 1993

Re:poetry late on a saturday night (16 May 1993)

well, honestly i don't feel any more coherent now than i did friday night,
but so what, i'll spill some gibberish and see what comes out....
my enter key won't work properly...

lessee -- as i recall, i said that i hadn't met anyone like you on campus. that's true. there is no one who can make me think about things the way you do. no one puns as funnily. i don't know.
but i don't need someone just like you. i don't need anyone at all. i just happen to have someone now.
i don't know what i'm trying to say.
i'm just blithering. i just read a very good book by charles delint. called dreams underfoot. read it if you have the time.

Subject: Re: Land of Cleves (Take 2)

here i am, i'm here
in my mind -- and yours, it seems.
don't hold me too dear,
many dreams
are unrealized.

life goes on in cambridge, massachusetts, usa, earth -- grass grows, bananas rot, one runs out of tissues and cash. cats shed.


i think there is something innately funny about the stuff i just wrote. am i wrong? are you laughing? what do you think about the woody-mia results?

personally, i think woody allen is god. wouldn't that be hysterical if it were true?

I think the first five lines of this one are amazing. I've used it as a .sig file for e-mail and Usenet.

Also, we didn't realize quite how gross Woody Allen would be revealed to be.

Subject: Re: hey

jeeze, i guess my timing for reading e-mail sucks 'cause after reading your latest i think i'm gonna cry.

don't get me wrong -- i've just had a difficult evening, starting with my mother, going through hani, joan, andy, and, of course, myself. it's not worth my sanity to rehash the details for you, but the evening has left me doubting my strength of character and self worth.

i was going to write you tonight just to help myself not be unhappy. i'm glad to have heard from you.

i'm having to get used to being alone. there is no one here who i can really talk to. hani's pretty good, but he's never there when i really need him. i've never been quite this alone for a very long time, and while i don't particularly enjoy it, i think it's good for me. i shouldn't have to depend on having a warm body around to cater to my social needs.

there are people around who i could conceivably be able to socialize with, to ease the lonliness, but my problem is that i'm too picky about people. if there is one thing that bothers me about someone i can't stand to be alone with them... i'm rambling.

i guess i'm having a hard time writing about what's really hurting 'cause it just makes the pain worse. i wish i could let it all out and be rid of it forever and ever. i need a shrink. i'd settle for woody allen. hey, who wouldn't?

kirk, i have one question: why? why in all the universes? why above all the seas? why beneath all the skies of the world?

don't mind me. the timing is just wrong.

i've realized that all behavior is dictated by our chromosomes: the purpose of life is to pass on your genetic pattern and do it as often as you can. therefore, being horny is simply your body's way of making you realize you're supposed to pass on your genes NOW. when gross men stare at women in the streets they're just trying to get their genes passed on through a fit individual. when you find someone attractive it's usually because they are genetically suitable for procreating! does anyone find wrinkled old people attractive? NO! because they can't procreate! if someone has a marked defect do you want them to bear your children? NO! because you don't want defective children! every gross male behavior is designed to attract members of the opposite sex. every disgusting female mannerism and fashion is designed to attract men! and
whoops. nevermind. it's not as impressive when you make stupid typos.

kirk: while i don't know quite what's on your mind, i wish you would tell me. then i could tell you exactly what's going through my gray matter and we'd both be more enlightened. why you first, you ask? because it would be nice, that's all.
is this long enough?
write soon.

Another really large jump chronologically happens after this, from just before Sophomore year to its end, the only year of college that had nothing happening between us for the entire year.

Spring 1994

Re: your mail (27 Mar 1994)

i have no passion.

That's horrible. You *gotta* have passions- especially you. Or else what was all that stuff in those letters during the summer about?

life has pretty much lost it for this year... a cappella is really tiring,

tiring-rewarding or just plain draining?

as are classes,

I know the feeling. But i have one thought that carries me through- I will *never* attend another class in Spanish!

my love life is REALLY strange,

There was something distinctly different about my relationship with you than with any other one I had, including Veronika and Marnie. It's hard to describe though- a Mysticism is the only way I've come up with to describe it. It almost felt like some kind of religion that we were making up as we went along. Nothing really ritualistic, but there was this strange sense I had through all of it.

I'm not sure if you'll understand what I was talking about, or if it applies to you now, or anything. Let me know what you think.

and i'm stressed out already -- and i've only been back one day!

Sheesh, how did you manage that? Maybe it's just back-to-school panic, I had a little of that too. Just assume that everything's gonna work out ok, or that you'll have the strength to deal with it if it doesn't.

Write back?

Man, I hated spanish class.

I vaguely remember sometimes running into her, when her class let out, (she was taking more advanced classes) and mine was starting.

Re: How's everything (9 Apr 1994)

How's everything?

My quote for the week (from Cabaret)
    "Why you're about as 'fatale' as an after-dinner mint."
As soon as I figure out who in the movie said it it'll be on my sig.

i like that a lot.
i feel about as fatale as an after-dinner mint right now.
off to bed....


Sprint and Summer 1994

long rambling letter as promised (17 Apr 1994)

Well, you asked for it...(these boots were made for ramblin':-)

A few days ago I was working with my computer account, getting rid of the piles and piles of files that accumulate like so many digital dust bunnies...I also ran across some letters I had saved over the summer, from you.

Those letters made me think. They were much longer than the common 3-line e-mail plus a smiley that I always see now. They spoke of loneliness, and unhappiness. That summer I wore my feelings for you like a shirt, not that I've ever been able to cover up my feelings at any time, ever. Those letters seemed to speak of a potential for romance, like a stored energy, waiting to be tapped. The timing's just wrong, you said. It let me keep this little speck of hope alive nurtured on e-mail and blind optimism. Your writing was lovely, a flowing stream of consciousness. It spoke of beauty, and of genetic-driven romance, and some of it was about how frustrated you were with how romance could make you feel. That's one of the things that bothered me most- it just sounded like things were so unbalanced, and I didn't like to see you feel so uncomfortable with that part of your life.

Huh- did you ever stop and think what a beautiful medium e-mail would be for love-letters? It's so ephemeral, no ink on paper, just electrons hidden deep inside a machine... and the words aren't just written on a screen- they actually glow.

But anyway, nothing ever came of those pieces of e-mail. You wrote me snail-mail, and said "Enough." I asked if that meant that I needed to stop? You seemed to hesitate for a long moment, and then you answered yes.

We went for dessert, that incredible huge dark chocolate cake, and coffee that fall, but we didn't see each other much over the semester. When I did see you, you were often with a guy. So you had gotten over that uncomfort you had spoken of before, or had given in to it, or made peace with it, or something.

And the whole time there was Marnie. That relationship is a pure safety relationship, or its not. We aren't able to figure out if its lasted as long as it has because of or in spite of the distance between us. And we've never even really had the guts to call it by a proper name, like "boyfriend / girlfriend" It's just been there, and that's either the wonder of it, or it isn't

And so it went. The funny thing is when I think about what happened between you and me in the fall of 92. 'Cause I just don't know. In a way, it did seem like a mystical thing. Like a religion, with me a lone worshipper (well, there may have been other worshippers, but we never congegrated) and you a reluctant goddess. Little rituals were established- especially the communication by the laptop, indirect, like a 2-way prayer. I saw a mysticism and beauty in what you would write, and would throw everything I had into my response- when ever I look back at what I had written, it seems so much better than anything I write now. There was also your body- a mere vessel for the goddess, if as flesh it couldn't be divine than it certainly seemed to be molded absolutely flawlessly, perfect in loveliness and line.

Also your eyes- that's one thing I was reminded of Friday night. To the true-believer/worshipper me, they reflected a part of the universe, something very deep and fundamental. I could just look at them and look at them.

And like so many things, it had to end all too soon. A few times it had almost collapsed under its own weight, but the relationship kept on, somehow, or was reborn. The last ending, though, was horrible, a nightmare. I had never tried to decieve you, or keep anything from you. To be honest, looking back now, I don't think I ever put you at much risk for anything, but with the way things worked out, maybe that didn't matter, it was the idea of it that was so horrible, so gut-wrenchingly bad. (Actually, it looks like now I might never have to get a lipsore like that again, I'm regularly taking this pretty powerful anti-virus stuff- expensiveish, but it works.)

My mind is all confused as to what happened after that break-up, I have memories, focused and out-of-time, of being physically close to you after that, and being oh-so-careful to keep my lips from yours. So I don't remember what those times were about, or how those times ended, in particular.

I just took a break (got new mail) and read what I had written so far. I thought this was going to be some sort of magnum opus, but I guess not.

It's Sunday morning now, about 3:00 AM. I love how still my hall is now, very empty feeling. I put on my new Simon & Garfunkel disc, and wonderful brisk spring breezes blow over me, pushed by the fan, as I sit in the chair. (You know the one :-) It's good, very good.

Do you wonder why I write letters like this? Sometimes I do. I'm usually a really content person, just someone who is very comfortable with life. I got it from my mom, this kind of optimism. Not that life is always going to be perfection, but when it isn't, it will still be ok. My mom's survived alot, and is still the most loving person I know. Sort of like this quote I heard about Dixieland music "We sing because life is beautiful, and even when it isn't, we're gonna sing anyway, cause it's all we got." But these letters seem to be purposefully settng myself up to get hurt. Maybe it's because I believe that life is sweet, and reminding myself of a kind of sorrow makes it taste that much sweeter. Or maybe that's just so-much pseudo-psycho nonsenese that means I'm staying up way too late.

But that wouldn't explain all of it. There must be a part of me, that clownish naive optimist, that still looks at you and senses possibility, however remote and unlikely. The part that remembers a poem that you once wrote, the poem that said "perhaps..." perhaps we will never speak again, and perhaps we will wonder why we ever parted, but that part of me only can see the hopeful part. The part that yearns for your voice, and for your touch. Your refusal to deny the possibility of anything romantic ever happening between us again brings it joy, joy and agony and frustration. If you read this and decide that no, nothing will ever happen like that between us, and if you tell me that, I think it would be like a physical shock. Though if you ever feel that, and are absolutly certain, you should tell me. I could then get over it, though I'm sure I wouldn't want to- sometimes possibilities are all that I survive on.

One thing that I didn't mention in my letter that I wrote yesterday morning- you were absolutely gorgeous last night. I believe that the designer of the one piece whatchamacallit had you in mind as he or she designed it. Specifically you. That, and your eyes...yikes.

Sometimes I ache to be touched by you again. You, or any woman? Well, of course partially the 'any': but you in particular. I loved the boldness that you projected, and that green night shirt. You said I was good at touching you, and I always took that as a complement. It is a learning process for me, and I've felt I've learned quite a lot since then, about rhythms and moods, and communication. You've probably learned alot too, more than me quite probably.

Maybe the problem is you never seem lonely, while I often do. Maybe that makes any possibility of a stronger relationship too assymetrical to be likely. Do you get lonely? How close do you let yourself get to people. In that respect, sometimes I think you're very different from me. I'm pretty uniform throughout, laughably easy to read once you get past a thin shell (that shell that lets me get through my job at Eaton without telling the person who refuses to learn the difference between the A: and the C: drive what I *really* think of him...) You, I dunno. Even at the closest I was able to get to you, everything was a swell of currents of emotion, and I don't think I would be able to get at what was underneath.

Ramble ramble ramble.

I still wonder about what happened or didn't happen between us. Everything seemed so secretive sometimes, so furitive. (Is that the word? Something like that.) Like in your car, and you covertly reaching back a hand to hold mine, or at the Museum, behind your back. It was kind of odd.

Ok. Enough of this, time for this naive prince to go to bed.

I hope you'll write me back. And maybe tell me a little more about what went on in your mind, and what you think of all this now. I guesss I could hope for a lot of things.

Goodnight, boo'ful.


I guess this ramble fills in many of the gaps in the "record", so I'm grateful for it.

Marnie was a lovely and incredibly fun high school romance I had, the one the proved life after Veronika, and she came to visit me in Boston, and I visited her as well.

I can think back to the 3am time it talks about below, Simon and Garfunkel, the big satellite dish papasan chair. (My "chick magnet" in college...it was odd to have such a large chair in dormrooms so small, and fellow hallmates would come in and try it out.)

Re: long rambling letter as promised (15 May 1994)

last summer i pined for a love that i thought would withstand the time and the distance. it didn't. right now i'm pining for a love that may not survive the next two days, leaving eight months of emotion in the gutter.

i can't imagine feeling a greater sense of loss than i do right now, sitting at the computer, all my crap still sitting in the car, waiting for more energy to happen to its owner so it can be moved. i have no energy and don't know if i ever will.

i don't like email love letters. i used to have this box, i'll just call it THE box, that was filled with remebrances of loves past. but my love, i use the present because he is, never wrote me anything physical that wasn't on a birthday card or valentine. and i don't like to save my electrons. they gather dust. i threw that box away, today, in plain sight of my love, and i don't know if he understood why i did it. it was because i don't need it anymore. i don't need the memory of love when i have the actual thing in me right now and, possibly, forever.

i suppose, after last summer, i did make peace with my discomfort with romance. but right now, in this moment where pain of the heart outdistances everything else, i wonder why i decided to make that peace and why it shocks me so that love hurts. it does, there's no way around it. so i'm going to have to figure out how to endure this until it passes, if it passes. any suggestions?

it occurs to me that maybe a little background is in order. i have been seeing daniel since september 3rd, that'll be nine months in about two weeks, but i don't know whether our time right now counts as being together. we returned each other's tokens, some of the more important ones, and took our toothbrushes out of each other's rooms. and didn't speak except to fight or cry for about two weeks. but now we're getting it together. or trying, anyway. and i'm finding that, while i couldn't stand his company two weeks ago, when we talk about our problems, it is surprisingly effective in bringing us closer together.

and, like you and i, i'm finding that small things threaten our relationship. a call not made, a word spoken too thoughtlessly, flirting inappropriately. and so it went, and so it goes, and you're the only one who knows...
(apologies to billy joel)

and so i sit, alone, and write to you.
you speak of the joyandagonyandfrustration of the possibilities between us. i know those feelings. when you walked me to the chapel before the concert, i looked at you in love, though you couldn't have known. there is a person there who i have been close to, who i have loved and still do, but there is also a self imposed rule i try to stick to -- never have the same relationship twice. i've only broken my rule twice, and while at the time i've regretted it, i realize that those two exceptions are the only two people i've ever loved out of all sight and mind. and i don't think i love you that way.

you say i never seem lonely. how untrue! i want to laugh, it's so false, but my throat seizes up.

i don't let people get close to me. you're not the only person who has told me they were unable to get at the essence of me, underneath my pearly facade. i put up walls that protect me from outside egos. i'm afraid of something, but i haven't figured it out yet. it alienates some, intrigues others, makes quite a few uncomfortable, but i can't change me, nor would i want to. i like to think of my personality as a challenge. if you care enough to search for what's underneath it all, then i respect you. right now i'm lonely. it's more than just the novelty of coming home after being surrounded by people, it's a lonliness of the soul. i want a soulmate. someone who understands who and why and what and how i am, even if it is illogical or unreasonable. will i find him or her?
that's another thing -- i think i'm bisexual. i'm not sure, yet. it's something that will take some amount of time to figure out.
ok, i'm running down. a day of packing and depression will do that to you. my number here is in my plan, if you've lost it.

I never felt that "small things threatened our relationship", but obviously she did.

This was a surprisingly open letter from her. And later exchanges show how amazingly selective my reading of it was.

sorry it's e-mail (16 May 1994)

Hey did you see Trek Saturday? Catch the reference to the Heart of Gold's Heart of Gold? Seemed improbable enough...

Well, I wasn't sure if I should respond by e-mail or by snail mail or by phone, or what, but then it was too late to call and snail mail seems so slow and my hand writing's horrible, and does this stuff count as a love-letter anyway. So e-mail it is at least until I can try calling you. And e-mail *does* have its strengths: communication is distilled down to *words*, and nothing but: in that way, it is a very pure form of communication- and even if it can have no texure, it does produce luminence, a light that you know will reflect on the recepient

Moving out does suck. Clothing and atari games and cds and enough computer junk to choke a horse and books, books in very heavy quantities. But now I'm settled, got a little wonderful blue-and -white room in my Aunt and Uncle's house and I start work on Tuesday, an hour commute, but it's a good job, one that may easily produce tangible results, so that'll be fine.

Now that I think about it, I think I can see that it wasn't that you weren't lonely: but you were almost never alone. Maybe I had forgotten how different the two can be.

I said one time that hope is sometimes all I live on. I still find myself yearning to be with you again. And your last letter refused to take that kind of hope away, which I am in my own way grateful for, even if I'm not being terribly realistic. Even that hint of possibilty sent my brain soaring, drunk on hope.

In your letter you said that I'm not the only person who has told you that they were unable to get at the essence of you. Now that I think about that I realize that maybe there is no simple, monolithic core underneath the swells and currents of emotions: those currents are what make you what you are. At this point, I would sacrifice a lot to be able to explore those currents, to take the time to see and touch and hear and smell and taste those moods and textures, to savor them and to be sometimes mystified by them and other times to look in them and see echoes of what I can see is in me as well. If somehow we decided to start over, to find a romance beteen us, I don't think it would be the same relationship again. The last time was weird- do you remember how surprised I was when, after it was over, how surprised I was when I realized you really had had feelings for me? Now I've realized that just because you don't wear your heart on your sleeve it doesn't meant that those feelings didn't exist. I have learned alot in the year and a half that has passed, and that would show up in any relationship I entered.

Well, this letter has been full of mixed metaphors and compound sentences. That's not bad, though. I hope to see you soon. I hope to be able to talk to you sooner. My Aunt kind of dislikes the idea of the phone being tied up for even brief periods, so in a few days a second line should be activated, and I'll have a number that belongs just to me (hey, I just noticed that that'll be a first for me) and until then the number here is 555-1130 though I will probably try and call you tomorrow.

Please write back, even if only to say you got this and you don't feel like writing through e-mail any more.


Oof, online life via modem. To quote Nate Usher: "ME: the internet used to come in through the phone. It made a terrible noise, like robots screaming. GRANDON: hush grandpa take your pills"

Re: ps (31 May 1994)

On Tue, 31 May 1994, Count Zero wrote:

i'd love to hear your theories.
ps, what on?

Actually, I was trying to be mysterious. I have a theory that I don't pull off "mysterious" very well. :-)

Well, that's half true. (The first sentence, that is, the second sentence might as well have been handed down from Moses on Mt. Sinai) I was watching "Naked in New York" last night, and it had a playwrite in it, and you know how crazy I am about that artsy-fartsy stuff, and I thought about how my computer science major seems to be looming over my english major a bit, and I stumbled across the theory that maybe one of the reasons I'm writing you with such frequency and intensity is that those letters are my main writing outlets nowadays. I've been writing to other people as well, but with you it's more intense, I talked about that in the letter I wrote by hand. Plus the fact I might be still rather bespotted. It happens. That was probably the theory I was talking about last night.

So how are things twixt you and the Wally-meister? It seemed happy enough, though I am easily fooled by surface impressions, unless I'm concentrating.

I have a new theory. Dinah Washington's forte is not the blues. I don't care what the silly liner notes say, I think she sounds cheerful. I think I'm going to slip into some Sarah Vaughn. Aaaah. Much better. (I bought the Dinah Washington mostly for "Is you is o' is you ain't my baby" and was disappointed when I realized I liked the way Tom sang it better. (Of Tom and Jerry fame.)

I have no idea if those incantations I talked about before ever have any effect. You're pretty good at being enigmatic. I hardly ever get to see you in person-like, and maybe that's a message in and of itself. But maybe not. You've never written to remind me that Don Quixote died a sad and wretched man.

So what's a lonely sweet prince to do?

I think I tried to send a teaser e-mail "psst, wanna hear my latest theory". Whaddya know, it worked.

Wally (nickname of Daniel) was the guy she was seeing. He may be someone she was kind of hung up for a longish while, kind of annoying to not even be her most important college romance.

The Don Quixote bit may have been a reference to a Valentine I made for her, quoting Marcella's Defense from the work... she's defending herself from a charge of causing a shephard's death-by-heartbreak my favorite translation of it goes

"Heav'n, you're pleas'd to say, has made me beautiful, and that to such a Degree, that you are forc'd, nay, as it were compell'd to love me, in spite of your Endeavours to the contrary; and for the sake of that Love, you say I ought to love You again. Now, tho' I am sensible, that whatever is beautiful is lovely, I cannot conceive, that what is lov'd for being handsome, sho'd be bound to love that by which 'tis lov'd, meerly because 'tis lov'd."

ambiguity (2 Jun 1994)

Rosetta, don't you see how your letters are filled with ambiguity? The same undercurrents of tone and mood, the dark mass of sometimes conflicting emotions that seems to flow through you overwhelm any single message that could be found in your words- you seem to be describing a relationship in its death throes at one moment, eight months down the drain you say and in the next you speak of hope for this being the relationship that lasts for ever- though you already wonder if it will last the next two days. You throw away a box of memories in one paragraph, and in the next you question if you will ever find a true soulmate. You look at me in love, you say there's a rule that you've only broken twice, but you don't shut off the chance of me finding a way around, or maybe through, that rule.

And ambiguity is what the romantic relationship we had so long ago was all about. It was always hidden away, you were so reluctant to even hint at it to your friends. There was constantly at least two other people who you were suffering waves of guilt for, becase of what you were letting yourself experience with me. You called me one time, it sounded as if, as if you worried about if my feelings for you were real, or something- alost as if you wanted to hear me say "I love you." Things had me so confused then that I was afraid to say that, even though I felt it, felt it so real that it could burn a whole in my chest. Then I was scared of love, and I'm not now. Mystified, startled, wrestling with, but not scared of, not anymore.

You know my feelings. How would I ever be able to hide them? I have the power of not acting them, of bottling them up until they rage themselves into a slumber, but there they will lay. So what was I doing when I asked you to see a movie, was it just an attempt to form a pattern of platonic friendship? You might guess probably not, and be correct. Nor was I trying to seduce you, hopeing that my shear animal magnetism (ahem) would somehow lure you to my arms and my bed. What I might have hoped for was a gradual re-estalishment of a comfort zone, a re-awakaning of a casualness, mental, physical, emotional, that maybe had the seeds of something even more. A chance to someday be held close to you, close enough that I could feel you breathing, a chance to have conversations that were, at times, more meningful than the ones we have now- but many times just talk, casual talk between people who love, a chance to write silly love poems, a chance to run a hand along your body, to marvel at the beauty and form of your areola, a chance to drink tea and coffee and watch Star Trek reruns with you, to take the time to wonder and explore the complexity of what makes you you, to grok even?, a chance to comfort you when lifes frazzles and dazzles become overwhelming, a chance to learn when to leave you to yourself, a cahnce to sit in Goddard Chapel and catch your eye, just for a moment, and see the faintest trace of a smile as you sing, a chance to make you laugh, a chance to be in love with you.

Is that so much to ask? Er, well, yeah, I can see that it is. The prose is thick but the feelings are true.

I dunno, Rosetta. Last September, I stare in wonder as something happens between us, and never understand how I related to the other people you held romantic in your life, and tell you with all honesty that I would accept that, that I would never insist on trying to capture your whole heart or soul, but things shake and fall apart, with a bit of medical misfortune that I believe now was blown out of proportion- even still, it filled me with a sick guilt and fear that I rarely feel the equal of. Things are dark for a Spring, and then lighter for the summer. I write you letters, I send you songs and shirts that echoed how I felt. You- almost reluctantly?- tell me enough, that you are not at peace with romance. A truce is declared there with romance, however, that September. Later you say that this one person has managed to be everything to you, has captured the whole of your imagination and love, has been every role that you needed to fill. The year passes, and at the end that relationship trembles- you send me messages that, when mixed with a small amount of wishful thinking, say 'maybe'- delicous, tantalizing maybe. If Wally fills all those roles still, if you feel that now any other romantic fancy would be breaking a trust, if he is all these things, then I'm sorry for interfering, and trying to make you feel things that you can't afford to, and I hope that you to get through any trouble you may have with each other. But if there is any part of you that hesitates, if there is a glimmer of a type of potential there, if through this incantation I have awokened and moved feelings inside of you, I hope you could follow that. But if not, tell me. Either way, if I have made you feel something, could you tell me about that at all? I know this isn't the easiest way for you to communicate, but the effort would mean so much, so much.

You know my feelings now, you probably have for a time, maybe a long time. I don't know yours, and they run in so many more patterns than my own I may never really know them, but jesus, I'd like to try.

G'night, B'ooful.

I'm really reaching here.

Re: your mail (5 Jun 1994)

but there is also a self imposed rule i try to stick to -- never have the same relationship twice. i've only broken my rule twice, and while at the time i've regretted it, i realize that those two exceptions are the only two people i've ever loved out of all sight and mind. and i don't think i love you that way.

how much clearer do i have to be?!?! do i have to resort to cruel words and hurtful actions? don't push me to that!

I'm sorry.
I didn't believe that "relationship with same person" = "same relationship."
I don't believe that "relationship with same person" = "same relationship."

And so it goes.

Later That Summer

Re: How was the 4th? (5 Jul 1994)

How was it for you?

isn't that supposed to be, "was it good for you, too?"

Hey I got a question, one that's been on my mind of late. Is there such a thing as "the perfect (universal) partner"? Or just someone who meets a particular set of someone's needs? Or (and this probably fits in the nicest with my current world-weary-and-bittersweet-yet-fundamentally- optimistic Overview D'amour) just someone who meets a particular set of someone's needs, at a particular time? A time of indefinate length, that is, either decades or hours.


Exactly one month seperates this month and the last one. I think someting wonderful got re-established, but I have no idea how or why.

Memory, or the lack thereof, is a bastard.

Re: Rosetta again? (9 Aug 1994)

it's a song lyric.
picky about my username, aren't we?

Sorry, I didn't mean to be.
Basically trying out kindling to
start a campfire of communication.

Also, I have this fascination with
the name Count Zero and you. Just
one of those phrases that rattles
in your head, like one of those old
aerosol spray cans.


And now, I dunno. "Count Zero", the name of a good cyberpunk book, was a name she used every once in a while. I only included this e-mail because of the aerosol spray can image, which I still kind of like.

Fall Semester Junior Year

Re: ? (9 Sep 1994)

    How do you fall out of love?
        Yours from the edge of ecstacy and a cappella,

i don't know. i've been looking for the answer to that question for quite a while.

T (a 'Silent Conversation')

So anyway... Garrison Keillor wrote, in response to why are we here, about gentleness. Sometimes it seems like there's a part of gentleness that's not inside of you. Not all of gentleness, but a part, a part that is tied into being very open with people, an openness that I'm not sure you think you can afford. Or maybe that's just a form of sour grapes, you have such beauty in so many, many other ways, and I need a way of remind myself of yours and everybody's imperfection.

i think i understand what you mean about a kind of gentleness that's not there. the way i am is open. if i'm not comfortable saying something, i won't, but that doesn't keep me from opening my big mouth and spouting tactless things.

Well, at the risk of sounding all mystical-eyed, it's not just about things that can be said. Maybe theories like this don't matter. But people do fall in love with you left and right.
Something Rick said though made me realize something, about your beauty. Basically he said, in this goofy, pseudo-chauvinist-swine way we have, that "oh yeah, she's a babe." For some reason I entertained, for a time, a theory that not everyone could appreciate your beauty, that I had a different view than other people.
"Another beautiful theory destroyed by ugly fact." Happens to the best of 'em.

i don't know what to write! for so many years i was an ugly duckling, i have trouble believing i've turned into a swan...

Sheesh! You must have a very very high opinion of the subtleties of the tastes of Guys...

well, i have no illusions about the maturity level of the boys i come in contact with, but when i'm complimented i still have a hard time thinking it's sincere. years of being the unattractive one of the class are hard to shed.
and my outward appearance is no substitute for a lack of real social skills. a question: does rosetta have any close female friends?

Well, if it's any comfort, I have one, working on two. (Male friends, that is.) At Tufts, anyways. maybe 2 others around.
What would it take for me to be able to touch you again?

you'd have to be brave enough to reach out. i'd have to be brave enough to say yes.

I miss touching you, and being touched by you.
These days, I'm not searching for love, not for the time being. But touch is something...touch is something I am.
(ooh- purposefully ambigous grammar. English major, ho)

touch is something that is hard to do without.

Are you happy about the touch you have in your life now?

the touch i have is odd. i still touch daniel, i'm not sure if that's healthy or not, but it's not a satisfying touch because i'm so unsure of it. i touch other people whenever i'm around them. if i'm not comfortable touching someone, then i'm not really comfortable with them at all. does that sound odd? a lot of trust, for me, is tied up in physical contact. certian people i never touch -- i'm never comfortable being alone with them...

But you seem to be comfortable alone with me?

you're not the average acquaintance!

I didn't mean that to sound as incredulous as it did. Let me try again:
But you seem to be comfortable with me...
Much better- the power of proper puncuation.
I would want to touch you. For the touch itself, and for the learning, and as a way of being closer to another soul and this bluegreen hunk of rock. All of those three are important, I think.

so what can i do?

Is it something you would feel comfortable with? Or comfortable enough?


I'm not absolutely positive about the chronological placement of this laptop "silent conversation", but I'm pretty sure this is when it happened.

- (19 Sep 1994)

dahling- last night was *mah*vellous-

by the time i recieved this, it was the night before last, but i agree...



Re: Boo'ful: (20 Sep 1994)

Hey hey- It's quarter of seven. I'm scheduled to work, in one lab or th'other, straight on 'til midnight. Ick.

I think I could go for pizza and beer right around soon... pizza slathered with sauce and cheese, so much that it's almost sliding off the crust, and beer, maybe Sam Adams?- straight from the fridge, a bottle that looks me right in the eyes and murmurs "drink me" in low sultry tones.

I still owe you for the a cappella cd. Let me start making it up to you one night with th'hypothetical pizza & S.A. (brewer, patriot)?


do i have to choose between kahlua and ice cream and pizza and sam a.?
please, i don't think i could pick!

(or both??)
just gimme a buzz and i'm there.


"Murmurs 'drink me' in low sultry tones"...heh.

Re: ps (28 Sep 1994)

Ok- you know how to get to those places from here, right?
(Silly question, probably-)

So whatcha doin' after the show tonight?

dunno, maybe you can think of something interesting for us to do...


Re: [with apologies to Omar Khayyam] (4 Oct 1994)

A book of Verses underneath my Roof,
Bottles Sam Adams, good pizza- and Thou, forsooth
Beside me singing in my little room-
Oh, my little room were Paradise enoof!

    yours hopefully,

you don't have to try so hard, i just have to find time!


Re: Sunday (7 Oct 1994)

What were you thinking for Sunday? Would you want to go somewhere? Order hot wonderful pizza and drink good beer? Watch West Side Story, and think about how the juvenile deliquents all wear chinos? Or Henry & June, and consider k.d.lang's remark of "Uma Thurman on a Hog Harley: now *that's* heaven."? Have gentle conversation accompnied by Ben & Jerry's coffe ice cream, Kahlua, and seduction? Do nothing? Something else entirely? Mix and match of the above? Or would it be better not to think about it now?
    The world is our oyster!
    (Any asides about 'eating it raw' politely ignored :->

no reply is adequate -- we'll see what happens!


I was still trying too hard.

5 cent philosophy (25 Oct 1994)

This life is like an Atomic Fire Ball (r) - once you get past the stuff that hurts it's pretty sweet.

Virtual Atomic Fire Ball: o


thank you. i have yet to get to the sweet.

I've been sucking these Fireballs down like, well, like they were candy, and have noticed for the first time (not to pull an already straining analogy to the breaking point--) that there is a sweetness even in the part that burns some. I'd want to try and help you find some of that if you'd let me.

(We used to get fireballs (sometimes sticking them in 2 liters of soda, watching it fizz like mad...) when I was in the Pit Orchestra at my school, and one time I had just started a fireball when I realized I should be playing *now*, so I stuck the thing in my cheek and played, and had to let it sit there for the 40+ measures of relentless tuba bassline. Agony! Finally I had *1* measure rest and could switch it to the other cheek. Moral: don't take a fireball if your going to have to stick it in your cheek for 40 measures straight, and always remember that tuba players are really dedicated to their basslines.)

    Call me sometime? Or if you're wandering downhill...         Kirk.

I still like that story and its moral, especially now that I've reconnected to bands with my tuba.

Comfort (26 Oct 1994)

Y'know, all this got me thinking. I think the best thing I can offer you right now is comfort, and being comfortable, able to just relax into things, is something that's important. Physically, the comfort between you and me is obvious; our instincts for touch, the way we so easily slip into eminently comfy positions, even the way I try to make my room an easy place to be in. (The nest chair and the pseudo-Art Deco...) Mentally, the gentle conversation, the occasional jump into the high-brow stuff, the way you've started to use my "S'ok" in talk sessions... :-) Spiritually, well, how uncomfortable can you be when you've shared the Atomic Fire Ball (r) metaphor of life? Emotionally, this is the one I have to work the hardest at. I think I usually succeed- no silly games, no demands for eternal love and devotion- but still, it's not always easy. Sitting in a room with 3 other people who have feelings for you demands that epochs of evolution-driven jealousy be put down by gentleness alone. (Not seeing you at all for weeks at a time can't help that either. I wonder if I should hang out more uphill?)

    Anyway. This e-mail is just my
    latest theory, among many, but I
    think it's a good one.
        Let me know.

ps I'm not sure if I made it clear why I started talking about the alt.fan.wedge group last night- it was because I suddenly thought that my hair looked like Luke Skywalker's, in the first movie. Oh, nevermind :-)
| |/
[o][]===> <-Bad Ascii Art X-Wing
| |\

This was the start of a revival of things between me and her at the start of our Junior years. Maybe things were easier since we could both get single rooms.

What's kind of odd about this whole time is I am starting connecting with "the Russian Chick". And as great a time as I had with her, it was always in the shadow of my feelings for R. And the Russian Chick had another relationship as well... I enjoyed her company during the week but she went off campus with him (not a student) nearly every weekend. And that relationship between her and me barely shows up in this e-mail, even though it was pretty siginficant

Re: Comfort (26 Oct 1994)

as usual, someone who's not me has wonderful insights into who i am and what i need. thank you.

Either that, or just trying my best to woo you into my arms-
(whoops there's that tuba player's mischevous streak again ;-)

can i guest you for "witches of eastwick" tonight?

Sure- I probably shouldn't but a sense of perspective is the one thing I can't afford right now.

have another cherry?

':-) (lifted eyebrow = Huh?)

For some reason, this songs been going through my head all last night and today:

Over the desert
Wild and free
Rides the bold
Sheik of Araby

The desert band
At his command
Follows his love

Under the shadow of the palms he sings
To call her to his arms-

    I'm the Sheik of Araby
        [with no clothes on!]
    Your love belongs to me!
        [with no clothes on!]
    At night, while you're asleep
        [with no clothes on!]
    Into your tent I'll creep-
        [with no clothes on!]
    The stars that shine above
        [with no clothes on!]
    Will light our way to love!
        [with no clothes on!]
    Come rule this world with me
        [with no clothes on!]
    I'm the Sheik of Araby!


Didn't realize the "have another cherry" line was from the movie... the Sheik of Araby song... well, it's funny but a little creepy if you think about it.

[slight ramble] (30 Oct 1994)

Someone just e-mailed me 100 pickup lines. Did that last e-mail I sent you sound like a line? Oh well. It *was* a beautiful day... I'm upset now, because it's so dark so early. When is the shortest day of the year? Not too long from now I hope, I can't stand not having sunlight.

[whoop quick break to see if Rosetta would want to watch the Simpson's Halloween Special.]

[never mind.]

About this weekend.

"She moved so easily / All I could think of was sunlight"

About this weekend- I hope times like that mean our lives could pull together in comfortable, more relaxed ways. In can't be *all* touch and seduction...

But the idea of sharing more with someone that I care for, sharing experiences and feelings and laughing and touching, trusting... it's something that still has the power to knock me over.

Listen: I have an idea, I mentioned it once or twice before, but with things changed it seems more likely now than at any time before, of inviting you to New York, of drinking in the city's bigness with you, the shows and bookstores and people and sheet-music shops and culture and my mom's breathtaking view of sunset over the Hudson (sometimes Salvation Army minsiters get lucky in housing...) and the cathredral at night that you can see from the roof-garden. There's that sophistication that (in my head at least) you and that city share, and for years I've had the thought of the two together in my brain. I know it's a pretty out-there idea, that our relationship would have to grow in a lot of ways for this kind of comfort to be there, but still, it's good for us all to have a dream or two to hang on our wall.

I know this letter is kind of a heap. Let me know if I've struck any chords that resonate in you, or if you just want some ice cream.

And let me know if I'm jumping to quick, racing to an emotion that needs more time to baste, that trying to hard is what can kill things the quickest--

Yours through daylight dreams,


NYC was my official home address during my college years, but unfortunately I spent summers in Cleveland or Boston, working. What a loss! I had some memorable times there with both Marnie and Veronika.

Re: Good morning-- (6 Nov 1994)

How are you feeling? 'talk kisrael'?

not very.
would you like to work uphill?
my room is available.

Tufts is divided into uphill/downhill populations, usually you develop a mild loyalty to one space or the other. I was generally downhill, and she preferred the higher dorms. This is not a metaphor.

(6 Nov 1994, later)


I feel a little shaken up inside, like one of those terribly goyish snow-scene ornaments, that you can shake and watch all the snow twist and twirl in the currents.

I feel as if we're somehow losing our vocabulary, physically, the ability to distinguish between "not now" and "not this".

You can be very quiet sometimes, too quiet, and I don't yet trust my ability to read the silence.

I love you allowing me to be there with you for times like today, when you just need some touch and warmth and gentleness. But it seems that for so long it's been nothing *but* that: and I don't know if it's just a phase, or if it says something more definite about what you want and don't want.

After the last time that the touch was more seductive, more purposefully intense, I asked if any of the new relationships you were entering would be preventing more times like that, and you answered no, and seemed a little touched that I think in those terms.

The past few times I was touching you, sometimes I'd goof, and you'd push me away a little, and I don't have the vocabulary or confidence to know what all was included in that pushing.

I keep thinking about how upset you were when W. tried to seduce you when you were not in that mood.

Please, I know I may seem like I'm over-reacting, but it's on my mind a lot. I need to hear from you how you feel about me, and about this. I care about you, quite possibly more so than anyone else on this campus, and not hearing from you hurts.


Re: ? (7 Nov 1994)

kirkles, don't worry about things so much!


Re: 'morning (18 Dec 1994)

Good morning Rhill (Messages Off)

g'morning, kisrael...

(I must have sent this first letter about 20 seconds after you had logged off...)

Listen, I'm doing a paper on Toni Morrison's _Sula_, and there's a passage that always makes me think of you: [don't take this the wrong way, whatever that means, I'm not trying to use it to woo you, honest. Well, not consciously, anyway.]

Then there was an afternoon when she stood before the mirror finger-tracing the laugh lines around her mouth and trying to decide whether she was good-looking or not. She ended this deep perusal by tying a green ribbon in her hair. The green silk made a rippling whisper as she slid it into her hair- a whisper that could easily have been Hannah's chuckle.

(Hannah is her mother) Anyway, the way you wore that one black ribbon sticks in my head, and probably will for a while... it suited you so well. (And in case you were going through the same decision process, I would say yes, you are good-looking.)

    Talk to you soon?
        love to you,

"Messages off" is what shows up on Unix systems when a person has set it so they're refusing chat requests.

Re: late. (3 Jan 1995)

Roses are red
Seas are blue-green
Januaries are cold.
You know what I mean?

i think i do.

Missed you by a minute (6 Jan 1995)

Thanks for a beautiful way of spending a Friday evening.

It's odd to think of, I tell myself you thinking that you're not ready to handle the emotion, and physicalness between you and me is some kind of complement- but I never meant to ask to take up that much time, or energy, or anything.

So you aren't unique in boldness. Still, you're the only person who can cause a physical change (no, not *that* one) in me, just by thinking about you, a tightness in my chest when I think I'm going to see you. And I'm so envious about what Doug's been and is going to be able to share with you it can make my teeth ache.

The hardest to learn, was the least complicated.

love to you.

Quoting an Indigo Girls line. Though when I think about that song, I'm still not positive I know what lesson they mean.