Excerpts From a Diary 4
I feel a little better. I just got out of the hospital – the psych ward – I can’t believe I was in there but I couldn’t stop crying – Eddie was the only one who seemed to care – even my roommates were like – well, that’s the way she is – but after 10 days of non-stop tears & missing classes, he said, “Cori, you’ve got to do something” & he took me to the ER. They weren’t even going to take me. I wasn’t actively suicidal. I was like, “What do I have to do? Slice my wrists? Where’s your knife Eddie, I’ll do it now.” I was really insistent & finally they admitted me. Honestly I can’t imagine slicing into my beautiful skin – or even just cutting it a little bit like some of my friends do – but I wasn’t allowed to use a razor or even shower unattended the whole time I was there. I couldn’t wait to get back to the dorms & take a long hot shower by myself & shave my legs & underarms & wash my hair! I felt so itchy & grotty!
I actually have almost no hair left. It was a few days after the John Cale thing – I got drunk & decided to cut my hair – I ended up with almost no hair at all – I wanted a real punk look but instead of looking tough & cool, I ended up looking like a toddler. Make-up didn’t help – in fact make up makes it worse – like some obscene little girl – a pervert’s wet-dream – I started laughing & then I was crying & I couldn’t stop. That’s what started the whole crying thing.
I suppose it’ll grow back in but meanwhile I look like a freak. That’s ok. I feel like a freak.
I had a really good therapist – a resident from UB named Marc – who helped me withdraw from my classes so I don’t fail all of them & I can complete them over the summer or whenever – & two weeks of relative quiet – compared to the dorms – & no partying. I had to go to the AA meeting they had at the hospital – which was OK I guess – I don’t deny that I drink too much but I’m not sure if I’m an alcoholic or if I even have a drinking problem – although I do admit it’s really nice waking up without a hangover. I’m not sure about the Twelve Steps – I don’t know if I’m powerless over alcohol or anything else – although my life is definitely unmanageable – but whose isn’t – & I don’t know how turning my will & my life over to God is going to help me – I grew up Catholic & I’ve been doing that my entire life. In fact, I can tell you right now that God does not care.
The food sucked. Hospital food makes the dorm food seem like gourmet dining in comparison. What I really missed was smoking weed. Eddie told me to deny that I smoke it if they ask about it – which they did. He said it would open a whole ’nother can of worms if I admitted to smoking marijuana so I should just deny doing it. Just say I drink at parties on campus & when I go out & leave it at that. & that I’m distraught over breaking up with my boyfriend. Which is all true.
My mother never came to see me. I guess she was taking Tish to some colleges out west for interviews but still it hurts. Like I don’t matter. The only person who came to visit was Eddie. He came down a bunch of times. He even brought me flowers. He’s a real mensch.
I guess what I really needed was the rest. I was totally exhausted – at the end of my rope with Jon & his games – I couldn’t go on anymore. Marc told me that when I get back to UB, I am going to have to deal with Jon again but I don’t know about that – it’s not like I was ever an actual staff writer on the Spectrum – I just hung out & helped out. So if I don’t go over there – to the Spectrum office – I won’t see him – I won’t have to have to get my heart broken every time I see him. I don’t have to go over to Main Street at all.
But can I stay away?
Eddie went with me to talk to my teachers. He’s in my contemporary poetry class anyway. Our teacher, Mr. Barrett is really cool & says I can have the entire summer to make up the work but if I can get my final paper in by the end of the semester, I don’t have to do anything else at all. I was wow, that’s more than fair. So I am doing a paper on the poems of Mina Loy. I really love her.
My other teachers weren’t as understanding but having Eddie with me really helped. It’s amazing how a guy who has never put the moves on me can be there for me, every step of the way. I call him “Eddie the Angel.” He has long curly hair parted in the middle & big blue eyes & he looks like a Renaissance painting of an angel. He has the best weed I’ve ever smoked. I think that’s really the only reason he’s going to school – to sell weed. I’m so glad I met him.
I was up all night last night – with the radio on – sometimes I’d doze & sometimes I’d be wide awake – looking out the window at the night sky. I didn’t even get fatigued until 2 a.m., which surprised me because I had been up for Easter Mass at 6:30 a.m. Today I didn’t get up until 11 a.m. I’m slightly tired now & I have a bit of a headache. That’s because I need food & more sleep, probably. But I’m getting by.
I’m eating cinnamon toast right now & drinking tea & smoking a joint.
I’ve been thinking about some of the other things I talked about with Marc. He stressed that I had to deal with my feelings of abandonment after the death of my father when I was fifteen – but I don’t know if that’s where the feelings of abandonment stem from – honestly – they could just as easily stem from when I was ten & everything changed. His best-seller & getting his prominent teaching job at Lesley University & buying the dream home on the ocean. I never really thought about it. I guess my sense of abandonment & betrayal was greater at age fifteen because of having to leave Manchester-by-the-Sea & move to the Mistake-on-the-Lake – Cleveland – because my mother just had to remarry almost instantaneously – to her so-called high-school sweetheart – that she met at her reunion the summer before Dad even died – so maybe something was going on there, too. Who knows. All I know is that Dick was the correct name for my step-father & I could have been living in the paradise & he would have ruined it. & it was gorgeous in Gates Mills – all homogenized as fuck – but really beautiful. Yes, it was beautiful there – but somehow like all civilized places are – everything is dead & nobody even notices it. Like you’re living in a parallel universe that isn’t even real. I have always felt more alive on the streets of the city – any city – than in the polished cul-de-sac subdivisions that supposedly is the American dream. Wildness calls to me – whether it’s in the city or in the country – but the suburbs have pressed out all their wildness like a crisp white shirt to be worn with a business suit. Water calls to me – wind & sky & rain – & music – music music music – to dance to – I feel so alive when I dance –
I do feel abandoned by Jon – which I said to Marc – but Marc insisted that I clung to Jon – am still clinging to him, emotionally – because of my unresolved feelings of abandonment with my father. “Why did you return to Buffalo?” Marc asked me. “Go to the very university at which your father taught? Where he wrote the book which made him famous?” “I could have gone to Lesley University,” I countered. “I could have gone back to Boston.” “& you could have gone anywhere at all,” he argued. “I’m sure you were recruited by many fine institutions.” I sighed. “I went to UB because my friend Mark Miles was going there & he said it had a good English department. It really didn’t matter where I went. I just wanted to get out of the house. I couldn’t stand my mother’s husband. & she wasn’t much better, honestly.”
Talking about this with Marc has made me think about my father again. I haven’t thought about him in a long time – maybe because Jon has filled my entire life to the point where I don’t think about anything else. It’s true – people bring up my father to me all the time – when they meet me, they’re like, “You’re Bob McBride’s daughter?” If they didn’t have any interest in me to begin with, usually that one fact will make them interested. & then they will tell me how much they love my father’s books – mostly how they read “The Frustrated Freemartin” & it changed their life – some people bring up his earlier, less-known & less-successful novels, “Birds of a Feather” & “Two O’Clock Blues” – sometimes I think people aren’t interested in me at all but as “Bob McBride’s daughter”. If it wasn’t for that, I would hardly think of him at all – it’s as if the morning I heard he was dead in a car crash, he was wiped from my memory forever. & then all the lurid details – which my mother tried to keep from us kids but of course it was impossible to do so – the fact that he was blind drunk behind the wheel of the car – a car that belonged to the woman in the passenger seat – who was a student of his at Lesley – who was his latest affair – after a long career of such affairs – it’s better not to think of a father like that.
The father I remember used to take me to school with him – we lived on High Park Boulevard near the University in a huge old house – I loved that house. The grand piano in the living room & the giant kitchen in the back opening up to the huge back yard. Helena & Ross were already in day school & my mother was always busy with something or another & must have complained of me being underfoot so he started taking me to classes with him a few days a week so she could have some time off – of course when Tish was born, Mom waited on her like she was the princess royal & with Greg – Rocco – it’s even worse. I do believe I was my father’s favorite – at least for a short time – until he became the darling of the media & was seduced away from the family. So maybe there is a feeling of abandonment.
Perhaps I have been willfully not remembering. When I walk around Main Street Campus. When I take the bus around Buffalo. Do I feel stirrings of the little girl I used to be – holding my father’s hand – walking from the parking lot to his office & then to the classroom, where he gave a lecture on William Shakespeare’s sonnets? Or his plays? Was it a comedy or a tragedy? Or maybe John Donne? Is that where I learned to love the sound of poetry, of meter & cadence, of the sound of words? I used to fall asleep before the end of the class & I would awake to the sound of feminine voices telling my father what a beautiful child he had & what a good father he was for caring for her while he was working. Not understanding the sexual undercurrents at the time but feeling it.
The trouble is – I can hardly remember what he looks like anymore. When I try to remember – try to hear his voice reading one of Shakespeare’s sonnets – the image I get is Richard Burton. Maybe their voices were similar – at this point, I hardly know. I actually went to the library & looked up one of his books to see his picture on the dust jacket to try to remember who he was. Do you know, he actually looked a bit like Richard Burton? No wonder all the women were crazy about him. Not that Richard Burton was especially handsome but he had something – charisma. Even if he was hideous, with a voice like that, he’d be golden. Anyone would be.
Last night I talked to Jon. I was so lonely & so stoned so I called him. He had just gotten in from a 4-hour rehearsal with his band & he was stoned too. It was the first time we’d talked in almost a month. He told me all about his band – how hard they’re working – right how they’re doing mostly covers, but they’ve written a few tunes – he went on & on about them. I still believe that Jon & I are meant for each other but if all we are going to be are friends, then I’m OK with that – as hard as it is.
M., one of the d.j.’s at the Q station asked me to be his “date” to the Cheap Trick concert! I am so psyched. It’ll be backstage, the whole 9 yards. I hope there’s lots of coke there! Something that Jon never had & said he didn’t like. Last night he said he thought he could get tickets to the concert & I said I was already going – like, too bad, too sad. If he hadn’t broken up with me, I would never consider going with M. or anyone else. But breaking up was Jon’s idea, not mine & something he worked on for a long time before it happened. I mean, that’s easy to see now.
Elvis Costello is on the radio – “Watching the Detectives”. Before that was Blondie – “Don’t Keep Me Hanging On the Telephone”. Last night I had another dream about Elvis – or was it Jon? I don’t remember details, but it was nice – I have papers & joints & tea & toast all over the place here. I’m trying to finish my work & I’m so behind – this semester has been a total mess with all the problems with Jon. I’ll be so glad when it’s over.
I went to the Spectrum office. It was the first time I had been there in a long time. Jon was there & he was very nice to me. Nice enough to totally disarm me but I wasn’t going to let it happen. I was following up on something Marc had said to me – either let go of the things I had given to Jon or get them back & end it all – but as long as he has things that I consider “mine”, there’s a tie between us that needs to be cut. So I looked him straight in the eye & said, “I want my Rolling Stone magazines back by Friday,” real aggressive, real butch. But I looked real feminine – Harry G. told me I looked “really pretty” – what he said was “Miss Cordelia, you’re looking really pretty today” – & “pretty” isn’t a compliment I usually receive. “Sexy” – “Hot” – even “Beautiful” – but very rarely “pretty”.
Jon was stretching back in his chair, looking me over & I thought – I felt – like a volcano – oh, I want you – it hurt – but I continued smiling & flirting – no more hurt little girl – it’s all tough girl now. I figure – gotta give him something new to fantasize about. I gotta put it on a level where he wants me again. I’m gonna love him a long long time & I’m not giving up. When I fall in love with someone, it’s a total thing – a total commitment. I can’t just shut the feelings off. & I can’t just go out & find someone new. I mean, I can but it won’t work – I won’t be in love with him – I’m still in love with Jon.
Anyway, Jon asked, “Do you have any pot?” & I said, “Yeah.” “Could you spare me a joint?”
I said, “No.” You should have seen his face! He couldn’t believe I said no to him.
“Not even for old time’s sake?”
I laughed. “Fuck old time’s sake, man, why should I give you a joint?” I put on my jacket & left, still laughing. I was half-way down the stairs & I heard: “MacBride!” “Whadaya want?” We met halfway. He said, “I’ll give you a dollar for a joint.”
“Oh geez, you don’t have to do that! I’ll give it to you.”
He was smiling down at me from the landing above. “Are you seeing anyone?” he asked.
“I see lots of guys!” I replied.
“What happened to Eddie?”
“He’s my very best friend & he saved my life but we’re not sleeping together.”
“What – you’ve been celibate?” He was smiling that smile – that smile! I melted –
“Yeah,” I admitted. “I don’t believe you!” he asserted. “Well, fuck you, then!” I answered. Why didn’t I ask him if he was seeing anyone?
The next day. Thumbing up to Lockport with Eddie – to this motorcycle parts place next to the canal – as usual, he’s looking for parts for his Ducati – & after telling him all about seeing Jon at the Spectrum, I predict that within two weeks, Jon will have made a move for me. Naturally I was drunk when I made that statement. But I wasn’t far off. Within Twenty-four hours, Jon called. “I’m bringing over your Rolling Stones,” he said. I was so nervous. When he came, he sat on my bed & I looked through the magazines. One was missing. Of course!
He sat there & I sat across from him on my desk chair & he laid back oh so casually & talked – about problems he was having – not caring about life – & I wanted to touch him, hold him – but I was too proud. Too proud! But I had to be – the way he had hurt me. & I had the feeling that he wanted me to reach for him – he wanted me to make a move for him. But I couldn’t do it – I had too much pride. Later, I told Mark Miles about it & he agreed that Jon wanted me but was probably too proud as well. Usually I make the first move – I make it easy for him. I make it easy for everyone. Jon once told me that when we first met, he wanted to kiss me but he was too neurotic to try because he was afraid I’d reject him – so it was a good thing I kissed him first. Oh – it was so nice – that first time – that first kiss – I remember it so well – how I wish I could be kissing him again – the first time –
On Friday was Springfest, but I missed most of it. I showed up around 4 & I was flirting with Dave M. & John Frederic & then I turned around & there was Jon. It seems like we’re drawn together – I always see him – it’s like I feel him before I see him. & he smiled at me & we talked – I laughed a lot but I was trembling – I guess I was laughing to try to cover up my trembling – I wanted to show that I was just fine without him. But I’m not!
I planned to meet John Frederic at the dance that night, but first I went to J.W.’s house & did bong hits with J.W., Rob J. & Dave M. & watched the hockey game. They’ve all graduated & have writing jobs – J.W. writes for the Courier Express, Rob J.writes for the Buffalo Evening News & Dave M. writes press releases for the Buffalo Bisens for the AP Wire service. I had been drinking & I was very horny & I came onto Dave M. – the first aggressive sexual move I’ve made in almost a year – except for Jon – I felt powerful & good for once. He gave me a kiss that meant thanks for the compliment but I’m not into it. Then I was so depressed I skipped the dance & thumbed home – although John Frederic would’ve cheered me up & so would have the music. I was so depressed I wasn’t thinking right. I thumbed home at 2 a.m. & luckily I was picked up by a guy who lives on the third floor, so I wasn’t with strangers. Although sometimes I think I’m treated better by strangers than by people who know me. On Saturday night, I walked to 7-11 on Millersport Highway & bought two 6-packs of Labatt’s Blue & drank 8 of them walking back to the dorm. I was quite drunk. There was a cop on the floor – he was there cuz someone broke a window & he seemed to like the look of me & he let me know it. We flirted until I got bored. I went into my room & fell into a deep sleep.
Pretty soon I’ll be on my way to the Cheap Trick concert – & M. But I really want to be with Jon before then. I feel like a virgin. I haven’t had sex in over a month. Not since the beginning of March. I don’t even know if I can have sex. I mean, all I want is Jon. I don’t know what to do. Force myself to do it, I guess. But maybe it won’t even be an issue. Who knows.