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Tag: Cleveland

Excerpt From a Diary 45

[Holidays, 1990]

 

Thanksgiving was very quiet this year.  Helena & her family were at Geoff’s family in Pittsburgh.  Jesse & Doreen stayed home – her mother had a stroke & Doreen didn’t want to leave her.  Randy always hunts on Thanksgiving.  Trish is in Germany with Brad, who’s stationed there.  Rocco & Julie were there but only for a short while – they also had dinner at her folk’s.  I went to a meeting in the morning.  Later in the day, I helped my mother with the dinner – not that there was very much to do.  Without a tableful of people, there wasn’t dozens of dishes prepared – no creamed onions, spinach soufflé or even succotash – I missed seeing all the different bowls & platters of food.  But it was a good meal, as always.

***

In my room – reading, writing poetry, listening to music very softly on the stereo.

***

I finally heard from the manager of the building on Euclid Heights Avenue.  I can move in January but since the first is a Tuesday, I can actually move in the weekend before that – he said that the tenant was moving out mid-December but it needed painting & a few repairs.  But it would be ready by December 30th for sure.  I am so excited!  It is a really cute little place.  Perfect for me.  Top floor – fabulous view – lots of light – perfect for plants.  No porch & a tiny kitchen but you can’t get everything.  & nothing says I have to stay there forever.  It’s alright for right now.

***

I feel so bruised today.  My lungs ache when I breathe.  So horny it hurts.  But sleep came easily.  With dreams – dreams filled with sex – sex with Doug Conover of all people – sex with others too – dinner in a Chinese restaurant – a bag of weed I was trying to hide – acrobats hanging from streetlights – & more sex.  I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all.

I took a shower.  The hot water coursing through the massager felt good on my back, my legs, my crotch – afterwards, I applied my body lotion, patted on my baby powder & dressed in a pair of  long underwear, my pink flowered skirt & tight hot pink sweater & pink socks & went downstairs.  Bob was arranging fruit on a platter, a bag of still-warm bagels on the counter.  The coffee was brewing in the percolator.  Bob said good morning to me but my mother pointedly ignored me.  She hates it when I wear my tight pink sweater.  It’s one of my favorite tops & it always cheers me up to see myself in the mirror with it on.

I poured myself a cup of coffee.  I had a bagel & a banana.  I put on my boots & jacket & went out for a walk.  My mother can spread her bad mood over the entire house like peanut butter on bread.

***

Some days you just can’t cheer up on demand.  Clothes don’t change your mood – nothing does.  You just have to wade through the muck of depression no matter what.

***

Right now I’m in the perfect mood to write poetry.

***

In the food court of the Halle Building, enjoying a cup of coffee before I go to work.  I am wearing my new grey suit, the white blouse I was married in & my riding boots.  I had my hair cut on Thursday.  It’s much shorter than it’s been in years – what used to be called a Dutch Bob.  I’m not sure I like it but it’ll grow back.

***

Almost done with my lunch hour.  It’s snowing out – very pretty.  I wanted to go for a walk after I ate but the heels on my boots are so worn down – I don’t want to wear them down further.  I need to have them fixed.

I should go to the ladies’ room & get back to work.

***

The tenth anniversary of John Lennon’s murder.  I’m watching The Compleat Beatles.

I’ve been sick – we’ve all had it – first Bob, then Mom, now me.  A mild stomach flu – cramps, diarrhea, intense fatigue.  I slept over 13 hours last night – went to bed at 9 p.m. & not up until 11 a.m.

I had a bunch of crazy dreams – dreaming about Pat when he was young but I was his dream – I can’t really remember right now – it seemed like it was somehow prophetic – but I’m not sure anymore – I wish I could remember it.

***

I am getting my assignments done too quickly.  My first assignment was supposed to take three days & I finished it in one.  The filing assignment was supposed to be a three-day assignment – also done in one day.  Another assignment was supposed to take two weeks & I was done in three days.  Deb says all she has for me is handing out flyers in the Public Square.  What a drag!

I was not in a very good mood as I went home.   Bob noticed my mood & said something so I started to tell him about my problem with my work assignments & he interrupted me, saying, “What you need is a meeting.”

NO.  What I need is not a meeting.  AA meetings are great but they do not solve everything.  They do not solve the problem of being an efficient worker & there’s not enough work to do.

I did go to a meeting & when I got home, I fell asleep almost immediately but I had nightmares all night & had to wake myself up constantly.  Needless to say, I feel very tired & out of it this morning.

Later.  Deb just called.  She’s got a job for me – a real job.  I’ve got to run.  I haven’t had a shower or anything!  Oh well!

Evening.  My new assignment is at Hospice of the Western Reserve.  Their receptionist has been sick for over three weeks & the paperwork is really piling up.  June, the administrator, is handling the phones – which ring off the wall – & I’ll do the paperwork & filing until it’s caught up.   Then I’ll be trained on the phones.

***

A complete bitch of a morning.  I need more sleep – last night’s Dharma class wasn’t – is never – over before 9:30 & then everyone hangs out & talks forever – by the time I get home & wound down & in bed it’s at least 10:30 & of course I couldn’t sleep.  I guess I could leave earlier but honestly – waiting for a ride from Val is easier than getting the bus home & probably faster anyway.  Then when I did sleep, I had a bunch of anxiety dreams – I was running away from someone – I had no idea who – I was just running.

The alarm goes off at 6 a.m.  It’s just not enough sleep.  Not for me in early recovery.

Afternoon.  A Christmas party here at work – potluck.  I had a little of everything & I am stuffed.  The homemade cheesecake & Danish puff were excellent.  Now that I’m not drinking anymore, I love sweet stuff.

A funeral is driving by.

***

Much better this morning.  Although I couldn’t wear what I had originally planned on – my stocking had a run – so I am wearing black slacks & a red sweater.  But I feel much better than yesterday – much better rested.  I went to bed at 9 p.m. after a sitting in meditation for forty-five minutes.

***

I called in sick to work today.  I know I shouldn’t have.  But I had a migraine – & it was pouring rain & I thought fuck this & went back to bed – no, first I called off work – then I went to bed.

It was a tough weekend.  Really up & down.  Up – shopping – Christmas shopping at the Arcade –  buying clothes for myself at various thrift shops.  Down – sitting in the cold rain 45 minutes waiting for a bus, trying not to think that in Buffalo, it would be snowing instead of raining.  I got home & there was a letter from Teddy – real self-pitying & bitter – so I made the mistake of calling him to try to make him feel better & of course it was a total mess of a conversation – I was depressed the rest of the weekend.

I couldn’t sleep & when I did, I had nightmares.

My headache is hanging in there but I’m going to work on Christmas cards – I haven’t sent a single one yet.  I haven’t had the time – or the energy.

***

I’m so tired.  I can barely stay awake.  I just want to go home & sleep.  I’m so sick of filing – I can’t help it, I think it’s a little silly to continually file stuff for people who are dead.

We got a tree last night.  Bob & I went.  Mom was in one of her moods again & went to a woman’s meeting on the West Side.  “Let her go,” he said.  “She’ll be in a better mood when she gets home.”  He’s so mellow.  I told him that & he laughed.  “I used to be a monster,” he told me.  I remember Jesse saying the same thing about him.

The tree is set up in the living room but we have to wait for Mom to get the ornaments down from the attic so we can decorate it.  It needs to settle & get used to being in the warmth anyway.  It smells so good – I love the smell of pine.  The smell of New England.

***

I can hardly wait to get home but I have to go downtown to the temp office & pick up my paycheck & by the time I get home, it’ll be way past 6 p.m.  Mom & Bob don’t even wait for me to have dinner – I just reheat whatever they had.  But at least there’s something there.  Soon I’ll be cooking for myself – having to come up with something when I get home from work – no matter how tired I am.  I’ll be eating a lot of soup & sandwiches!

***

It never rains but it fucking pours.  I got my period.  Of course I don’t have any tampons – none at home, either.  Life sucks.  Now I have to put paper towel in my underwear & hope it doesn’t move around too much on my way to the store.  I miss having a car!

***

A completely boring day.  I’m reading charts – making sure that things are filed in their correct places.  When June comes back from Mentor, she & Toni will go to a meeting & I’ll be on the phones – but it’s real quiet today anyway.

My breasts ache & I have cramps.  I just want to sleep.  I could easily sleep another four hours a day.  I’m longing for my bed with its soft flannel sheets & my heavy quilt on top.  I’m drinking a completely vile cup of coffee – it’s my third on today – & I’m still not awake.  I guess that’s life.

Afternoon.  At Toni’s desk, playing receptionist.  I just ate – more food left over from the party tray.  I just remember the two oranges in the fridge – I can’t forget them.  I’m full or I’d eat them now.

I’m feeling a little better.  I’m still cold.  Anya – one of the nurses – says I’m running a low fever & probably have a low-grade viral infection which is why I constantly feel crummy.  That & my period – which is enough right there.

I’m reading poetry as I sit here.  I should be reading charts.  But I get so sick of medical terminology.  I like the social worker reports & what Sister Marguerite writes much better.

I’m supposed to do to the Zen Temple tonight & hear a lecture by Eido Roshi with the rest of the Dharma group.  I don’t know if I’ll go.  I don’t really feel like it.  It’s raining buckets – of course it may stop later on – but I would really like to get home, get comfy & have dinner.  Get to bed early – read a little – & sleep all night.  When I get up tomorrow, I want to put on my comfy clothes again & bake cookies & decorate them.

***

I did go to the Zen Temple.  Although I honestly can’t remember a word Eido Roshi said.  Because when I arrived at Robert’s house to join up with the rest of the Dharma Group & ride to the Temple, there was Pat.

I have to admit – I have been wondering when I would be seeing him – where I would be seeing him – at a meeting or at the Dharma House or maybe getting a coffee at Arabica.

He looks good.  He looks healthy.  I realize now what a waste product he was back in February & March – how strung out he really was.  Jesse was right when he said that Pat was a “major coke head”.

He gave me a huge smile when he saw me & then a hug & I didn’t know what to say.  I didn’t have to say much because as usual, he talked a blue streak.  He’s living with his brother but he’s going to be moving in with John Bembo & live at the Dharma House & meditate all day long.  “When I’m not working,” he laughed.  Of course he doesn’t have a job yet.  He’s going to a meeting everyday & he feels so much better – so much better – than he used to.  He’s so grateful.

“I still love you,” he whispered.

***

I am tired but I can’t sleep.  I woke up an hour ago.  It was a restless night with crazy dreams.  In one of my dreams, my mother was wearing a sun-dress – pink & white stripes – a halter-top, the back completely open – cut daringly around the breasts – something my mother would never wear in a hundred years.  She was very tan & her hair loose & curly & she looked magnificent!

I watched the light filter in through the crack in the draperies & listened to the rain.  Boy, does it ever rain down here!  I miss the snow of Buffalo.  My stomach began to growl so I got up & dressed & came downstairs & ate.  I’ve been reading poetry – another cup of tea & I’ll go back upstairs & meditate.  The other night at the Zen Temple, Pat started instructing me on proper meditation, like I haven’t got my own meditation instructor already.  Val was there & he just laughed.  I had to laugh, too.  Some things never change.

I had my hair cut yesterday – very short.  It looks really nice.  I just didn’t feel that the haircut I had was me, although it looked really nice.  It’s quite curly – getting rid of all that extraneous hair released the natural curl.  Now I look in the mirror & I see Cori – the Cori I am now.

***

A beautiful day.  Four inches of snow fell last night.  The whole world is transformed.  I feel so very happy.  A jazzy little version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is running through my head.

I’m at work.  I have a really light workload today.  Create some charts – stamp some envelopes – cover for Toni on the phones while she goes to the doctor’s.  I’m leaving at noon.

No one has noticed my hair!  Oh well.  Sister Marguerite will be in soon & she’ll be sure to notice.

Later.  At Toni’s desk.  Toni noticed my hair as she was walking out.  “You cut off your hair!”  It’s funny how people don’t notice things until they’ve had a cup of coffee & a muffin.

I talked to Danielle last night.  She says Teddy is doing just fine.  Don’t listen to his tales of doom & gloom.  She says his mother offered to fly him down to Florida for the holidays but he refused.  & to think that last week he was singing the blues about having a lousy Christmas!  Cuz he was all alone!  If he wants to be lonely & alone for Christmas, then so be it!  He deserves it!

***

Christmas Eve.  At work.  I can hardly wait to leave at noon.  I had major insomnia last night.  & then when I did get to sleep, I had nightmares.  Something about a gang of rapists trying to get into my house – I didn’t recognize the place – & then when they did get in, they were smashing all my snow scenes & other Christmas knick-knacks – I was yelling for Teddy to help me – apparently, he was in the next room – but he never came.  I woke up crying & screaming.  I hate these nightmares.

Another dream I had was about The Canteen – I stopped in after work & I did a courtesy dance – stripping out of my office clothes – then I talked to a few admirers, telling them that I didn’t dance anymore, I worked “at Hospice”.  Then I sat at the bar with John Canton – I had a beer in front of me & I watched the bubbles rise in anticipation – but when I took a sip of the beer, it was bitter & nasty.  I sat at the bar with this terrible taste in my mouth!  The taste of disappointment & disgust!

Night.  In bed.  Totally exhausted.  Downstairs, Jesse & Randy are watching a movie with Bob.  Doreen stayed in Buffalo with her mother – Jesse brought the kids so Bob could see his grandchildren.  Tomorrow Helena & Geoff will be here with their kids & Rocco & Julie.  Tish & Brad are still in Germany.

I got another letter from Teddy – another self-pitying, cry-baby letter.  If I hadn’t talked to Danielle the other day, I might have fallen for it but I know better now.  He isn’t interested in getting over his grief or moving on.  He wants to feel bad & he wants to blame it all on me.  Well, he can go ahead & do whatever he wants – it’s his life.  Me – I want to move on & live as fully as possible.

***

One of the nicest Christmases I’ve had in years.  Jesse gave me a camera!  I have wanted a camera for years!  I used to use Teddy’s but of course it was his.  This new camera is a small Canon 35 mm & I have already taken a full load of film!  I can see that I am going to go broke buying film & getting pictures developed!  Jesse laughed.  “Take your time, learning how to take good pictures can’t be learned in a day,” but I was just so happy to finally have my very own camera.

& I got high.  I know I shouldn’t have – but Jesse & Randy were going out & I knew – like the druggie that I am – that they were going to catch a buzz – & I said, “Can I come with you guys?”  I used the excuse that it was too noisy with all the kids but they knew, of course – that I wanted to smoke some weed.

It was weed that Randy grew this summer up where he’s living now in Appleton – my grandparents’ hometown! – & it was killer shit.  I haven’t gotten high since March & I only needed a few tokes to feel totally stoned.  But it was such a nice feeling!  I couldn’t believe how nice it was!  Totally different than drinking – or snorting coke – really the best feeling.

I asked Jesse about Doreen.  “Is her mother really that sick that she couldn’t come along?”

Randy snorted.  “Doreen’s mother is in a nursing home & she doesn’t need Doreen to look after her!  Doreen’s turned Jehovah Witness & she doesn’t celebrate Christmas anymore!”

I couldn’t believe it.  “Really, Jesse?  She’s one of those people who knock on your door & give you those stupid newsprint magazines about how the end of the world is gonna come?”

He laughed.  “Doreen’s lost her mind.  But hell – she doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas or birthdays or anything else, she doesn’t have to.  That saves me money – I don’t have to buy her anything.  But I’ll be damned if she takes that away from the kids.  Which is why I brought them down here.  Santa Claus might be a myth but it’s one that little kids need.”

“Big kids need it too,” I laughed.

***

Sleepy morning.  I could have easily stayed in bed all morning & slept happily with my Santa bear – another present.  But no – I had to work this morning & I was on the bus & going to Hospice to work at 7:30 this morning.  But oh yes.  I am so sleepy!  Even after a cup of Sumatran coffee & two cups of tea.  I almost fell asleep on the bus.

It occurred to me that by smoking those few tokes with Jesse & Randy that technically I’ve “relapsed” & I should tell my AA home group & my sponsor JoAnne but I don’t feel like I relapsed.  I didn’t get drunk – I didn’t take a drink – I didn’t even get stoned, really – just a nice little buzz.  I don’t see what’s wrong with marijuana.  & I slept well last night – the first night in weeks & weeks that I didn’t have any nightmares.  If marijuana can cure my insomnia & keep me from having terrible nightmares, then it’s well worth it.  & it’s medical in that case – not just getting high for the fun of it.  Which is altogether different.

Afternoon.  At Toni’s desk.  It has been snowing all morning.  About 4 or 5 inches have fallen.  It’s slowed down now – falling very slowly & lazily & the sun has come out.  It’s so beautiful – the snow on the tree branches – the frozen crystals sparkling in the sun.  I am the only one who thinks so.  Of course, I don’t drink in it but even when I did drive, I never complained because I enjoyed driving in the snow.  It was a challenge.  I understand that it’s a drag for other people but why not try to get as much enjoyment as you can?  But I think people enjoy complaining about driving more than they enjoy driving.  I also think they enjoy psyching themselves out – getting themselves all nervous & afraid.  They feed on those emotions until they’re so crippled they can’t see the beauty of the day.

An hour later.  It’s gotten dark again & it’s snowing.  Another inch has fallen since I last wrote.

I realize that I really enjoy being a receptionist.  I’m going to start looking for a receptionist position.  I’ll mention it to Deb but I’ll look on my own as well.

***

I had to run for the bus this morning.   I got up at 6 as usual but I was so tired that I ended up having to rush – take a shower, dress, make-up, make breakfast, my lunch, get on all my winter gear over my office gear – & it was 7:20 before I was out the door – so naturally I had to run for it.  It felt good – it’s a little warmer than yesterday – up to 15 – still brisk but nice.  I feel good.  I am wearing the cutest outfit today – black tights & a black turtleneck under the yellow gingham & black & red flowered calico dress Mom made me years ago – & my little black flats.  Red shoes would be adorable with this outfit.  Or little red or black booties.  I look like a little doll.  I don’t look anywhere near 30 years old – I look more like 25 – maybe younger!  I’m telling you – I love this haircut.  To think that Teddy told me that short hair would make me look old – I look younger than ever!  I bet I’d get proofed in a bar.  Not that I would walk into a bar – I can’t imagine taking a drink at this point now.  A few tokes off a joint is one thing – a drink is entirely different.

***

On my way to Buffalo with Bob.  We’re going to the house I shared with Teddy to pick up my stuff.  I have no idea what’s going to happen here.  I don’t know if Teddy has packed up the stuff I asked him to – I sent him a list in the Christmas card I sent him – or if I’m going to have to pack it all when I get there.  I really hope he isn’t going to be a drag.  Jesse is supposed to show up later on to help transport things to my new apartment in Cleveland.  I asked him on Christmas if he would help with my books – I think they’ll all fit in his van.  I don’t really have anything else.  All the furniture belonged to Teddy.  All I have are books & tapes & pots & pans & dishes.  & the plants – I want at least half of the plants.

***

Very sleepy.   I’m all moved into my new place but it’s been really tough.  I don’t know what I would have done without Bob & Jesse & Randy.  Yesterday Teddy didn’t have anything done – he didn’t have any boxes for me or anything.  I sent Bob to the nearest liquor store to pick up some empty boxes – you can always get boxes at a liquor store – & then I started going through the cupboards.  I wanted my dishes, my pots & pans, my Tupperware.  Teddy went ballistic.  He said he wasn’t going to have anything to “eat off of” & he had paid for the Tupperware “too”.  I gave in on the Tupperware because I wasn’t going to fight all day.  But I wanted my dishes – they had been my mother’s.  & I wanted my pots & pans – I have to be able to cook too.  I left him a few – I’m not an asshole.  Plus I hate that Teflon shit – he can have it.  I wanted the Revere Ware & my cast-iron frying pans.  & all my baking pans.  He’s not going to be baking cookies & cakes & pies.  I mean – get real already!

I wasn’t taking any furniture – he could have all that.  It was mostly his anyway.  Only the bookshelves were mine.  But he just made it really hard – being in such a pissy mood.  Even Jesse had to say something.  “You could have packed up her books at least,” he said. “Anyone can pack books.”  & he wouldn’t let me have any plants.  He argued that it was “too cold” to transport them that far.  We didn’t have any room for them anyway.  Jesse said he would bring them down when it gets warm.  I really hope so – I have perfect windows for lots of plants.  But it’s all over now – I’m in my new place – with furniture that Bob & Mom gave me out of their house – not a whole lot but enough for me.   All I need to do is unpack & decorate – the fun part of moving.

***

I can’t find my watch.

I am very tired.  I have been unpacking & putting things here or there & then deciding that I want them over there instead of here & moving things constantly.  Putting up a few pictures & setting up my desk.  Unpacking books.

I made a marvelous chicken soup – with carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, celery & onions.  Very filling.

It has been raining non-stop.  It rained all last week – then turned to snow – snow a lot this week & now rain all weekend.  There is extensive flooding – the worst in 30 years.

I have to find my watch.

***

The rain turned to freezing rain & then to snow.  Very cold.

I have to say that I feel very good this morning.  I slept pretty well last night – after taking two Benadryl – they really knock me out.  I know this is dangerous behavior for a drug addict but that’s life.  I have to sleep.  Without sleep, I’m done.  & I hate hate hate not sleeping.  Especially when I have to get up to go to work in the morning.  If I didn’t have to get up in the morning, it wouldn’t bother me as much.

Later.  Nothing to do.  I’ll have copies to make when the Mentor office calls back with the patient I.D. numbers for our new cases but meanwhile, I’ll sit here & sip my Coca-cola & eat some candy!

I have a nice evening planned.  I’m going to a meeting & then back home to my new place for my first New Year’s Eve alone & the first sober one in a long, long time.  Fifteen or so years.  I must admit – part of me is longing for a line in the worst way.  But I keep telling myself – if I were in Buffalo, we’d probably be smoking the shit, not snorting it – & what a way to spend your evening – waiting for your next hit off the pipe & depressed when it runs out.  Even with lines – you always want more – & you’re depressed when it runs out.  I’ll be glad when the holidays are over.

Noon.  At Toni’s desk.  Yuck – my coke’s getting warm.

It occurred to me – it’s been occurring to me all day long – what a year of change this year has been.  From the start – since New Year’s Day – the first New Year’s in years I had woken up without a hangover.  Also –  the first time in years I had quit drinking – even if it was only to try to lose a few pounds.  & of course – there were my awakening feelings for Pat – he was around so much – selling us weed – but also just to hang out – later, he told me that he was unable to stay away.  I remember watching “The Sandpipers” with him & the sexual tension was simply unbearable.  That was long before we ever even kissed.

Evening.   Home.  Dressed in red sweats, red V-neck sweater – festive red!

I’m about to bake an apple pie.  I bought some vanilla ice cream to go with it.  I’m taking it to the meeting later on.

Dancing & singing in the kitchen.

1990 – the year I finally did something about my unhappiness & my drug addiction – I never knew I would end up here – in a small apartment in Cleveland Heights – happy to be sober – getting ready to go to an AA meeting on New Year’s Eve.

What will 1991 bring?  When I read my diaries – especially 1989 & early 1990 – I know where & when I how I hit bottom & I hope – I sincerely hope – & I will – I will with all my might, my intelligence, my emotion & my physical body – that I will never ever go there again.  Resolution for 1991 & the rest of my life.  So mote it be!

Excerpts From a Diary 43

[Summer, 1990]

[June]

Yesterday Teddy called me & told me that when he got home from work on Wednesday, there was a note on the door from a lawyer representing Del-Van Motors.  Teddy went over there & talked to D.J. – according to Teddy, they’re looking for Pat & wanted to know if he knew Pat’s address or any information as to his whereabouts.  I told Teddy I didn’t know where Pat was – which is true.  But I thought that something was wrong with that story – why would a lawyer leave a note on the door?  Why wouldn’t he just call Teddy & leave a message on the machine?  So I called D.J. myself.  It turns out that Teddy went over to Del-Van Motors himself – he was looking for Pat.  There’s no lawyer – nobody put a note on Teddy’s door.  But it is true that D.J. & Del-Van Motors are looking for Pat.  It seems that Pat owes them several hundred dollars – not $37 – like he told me – a while ago – I always thought $37 was a stupid amount of money & that there was something wrong with that story – but whatever.  Talking to D.J. filled in some of the blanks & untangled some of the crossed tales that Pat has been telling me.  Neither of them – Pat & Teddy – are telling me the truth – or the whole truth – just telling me what they want me to know & embroidering the rest as they see fit.  I’m not mad – I’m too exhausted to be mad – I’m just disappointed – honestly – I’m not even particularly surprised.

In their scramble to hold on to me & keep me from the other, both of them are losing me.

***

I just talked to Jesse.  It was wonderful to talk to him.  He’s in Atlanta.  I was like – Atlanta!  Bob sent him there.  He’s detoxing – coming off a 10-year addiction to painkillers – but also coke & booze – we connected on so many levels.  A sober Jesse would be a mighty friend to have.  Better than a lover.  Much better than a lover.

***

I got a letter from Pat today.  It was very short.  Apparently, he’s in Cleveland.  He’s staying with his brother.  “This is going to be a short letter, because at this point you certainly don’t need me.  You need space.  Your world is crowded enough…My dream showed me the motivation, the karma of us…We will be together again, if not in this world, later on.  We were together before this world & we will meet again…I love you completely…enough to perform the ultimate act of love, to let you go.  It’s already happened & I didn’t do it…I’ve loved you forever & I will continue to do so; there is no choice in this matter…I feel a universe of gratitude toward you.”

At first I felt sad.  I even had tears in my eyes.  Then I saw the envelope.  It was addressed to “Cori McBride Mitchell”.  I thought, what the fuck – I have never used the name “Mitchell” – ever.  I have always been “Cori McBride”.  Then I reread the letter & I got mad.  It was like my eyes were opened.  Or unclouded.  I wanted to talk to Lance but he wasn’t in so I talked to Angie.  She was really glad I saw it – really glad I saw through the words of love to the manipulation beneath it all.  I still feel sad – a little – I hate the end of any love affair – especially one that felt as good as that one did.  I also feel really stupid.

***

I started working on my Fourth Step.  Lance says that this is one of the most important steps.  “Most people never get beyond this point,” he told me.  “They start doing their inventory & get depressed about themselves & go back out again.  But you’re not going to do that, are you?”

“No,” I said.  “I’m not going back out.”  But I’m not going to do a crazy-ass inventory, either.  I can do one now & I can do another one next year & I can keep doing them.  It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time.  People go out because they want to do the perfect inventory – so they don’t have to redo it – as a housewife, I know that houses need to be cleaned on a daily basis – some things are weekly or monthly or seasonal – but it’s ongoing.  An inventory is no different.  I don’t know where people get the idea that you do one inventory & you’re done.  In the Big Book, Bill Wilson clearly lays out the whole concept of doing “fearless & moral inventory” of your “character defects” in business terms & I don’t know any business that does one inventory & that’s the end of it.  You do yearly inventories – monthly inventories – you keep a close eye on your assets & deficits.  Or else you’d be out of business right quick.

***

Yesterday Teddy drove the motorcycle from Buffalo & met with Lance & Angie & me, of course.  I felt it was a very good meeting – a good beginning.  After the meeting, Teddy & I went out for a bite to eat.  It was so nice riding the bike again!  I took him to a Greek place that was nearby – I know he hates seafood.  His idea of a fish dinner are fish sticks & French fries that you heat up in the oven.  As we were leaving the restaurant, I said, “Maybe we should try again?”  The look on his face – well, that’s what he wants – but not the old marriage – a newer better one – well, we’ll have to see.  I’m not in any hurry.

I wanted to take him to Manchester-by-the-Sea & show him where I used to live but there wasn’t enough time.  I can’t believe I’ve been here over two months & haven’t gotten there once.  But I’m not allowed to go that far on my own & it’s not exactly close by.

***

I know it seems like I hardly ever write anymore.  Basically I have to write so much for group that I don’t have time for the diary – or it seems redundant – it’s all about my feelings & my thoughts – just like a diary.  But all based around the Twelve Steps & other basic concepts of recovery.

***

I got a letter from Pat.  He’s in a rehab program – in AA – he’s got a sponsor – he’s feeling better.  He thanks me.  I’m not sure why he was thanking me but whatever.

My heart felt so strange.  I had just finished writing about my relationship with Jon.  Pat made me feel like I felt with Jon – for good & for bad.  When it was good, it was insanely good & when it was bad, it was devastatingly bad.  Soon I’ll be getting help from Dr. Barb – a sex therapist – & all these unresolved relationship & feelings & emotions will be resolved – over & done with – put to rest.  Hopefully, anyway.

I wrote 3 poems.

***

[July]

I am allowed out more now.  I walk all over Lowell & I am getting really strong.  I even run a little!  I found a great little bookstore & bought The Women’s Spirituality Book, by Diane Stein.  I have been reading it all afternoon.  It’s really nice to read something that isn’t recovery.  But it is – it’s all goddess – you can’t separate spirituality & recovery.  & the goddess wants me to be healthy & whole.

I don’t know what to do about Teddy.  He writes me these long rambling letters – all in pencil – I really believe he loves me but I don’t know what to do about it.  Part of me wishes that he hadn’t come here & met with my counsellors but it’s part of the program & he wanted to do the right thing.  He really is trying so hard.  I shouldn’t expect perfection – sexual or otherwise – at least not right away!   I have dozens of erotic books, novels, poetry, manuals – maybe after we have been together for a while, we can work at synchronizing our sexual patterns – he can become more intuitive, more imaginative & I can become less demanding.  There are also other ways to feel like the Goddess.  I have come to rely on sex – & performance, dancing & singing – to feel that way – but there are others.  It is a matter of imagination, creativity, desire, execution, change.  “She changes all she touches & all she touches, changes”.  I prayed for change.  My affair with Pat was the key – the beginning – the ace.  Now am working through the rest of the pack.  It all takes time.  A never-ending journey.

***

I tested negative for HIV.

***

A tough day.  I feel so tired out lately – like the flu without the symptoms.  I started seeing Dr.Barb – the sex therapist – & I don’t like her.  I thought I would but I don’t.  I’m not sure why I don’t.  There’s something about her – she’s disingenuous.  Like she’s not really a woman or something.  Maybe she’s not.  You never know with some of these women.  I feel like she’s a peeping tom – looking through the eyes of a beautifully dressed woman.  & she’s really interested in my father.  Way more than she is in me.  Her first question to me was, “What does it feel like to be the daughter of a famous author?”  Like – how do you answer that?  I never thought of my father as a famous author.  He was just my Daddy.  & he wasn’t a famous author until 1970 – he really wasn’t really famous until just before he died – & his death is really what made him a household name.  Mom told me that he had to borrow the money to get the dream home in Manchester & he was still in debt when he died – which is why Mom had to sell it off – she said that his fame didn’t do any of us any good at all.

So how does it feel to be the daughter of a famous author?  It doesn’t really feel like anything at all.  Especially fourteen years after his death – I can barely remember the sound of his voice – only sometimes – like how he said “Low-ell”.  If it wasn’t for photographs, I probably would have forgotten what his face looked like long ago.   Sometimes I’ll see one of his books & I’ll turn it over to see his face on the back of the dust jacket & it’s always a kind of shock – the 70’s haircut, the tweed jacket – I wonder what he would look like now.  Would he have lost his hair or would he have a silver mane?  Would his eyes still be even more crinkled along the sides from laughter & time spent in the sun?  Would he still be attractive to women of all ages?  Would he still have that famous McBride charm?

She wanted to know if I was angry at him for dying drunk behind the wheel & was that why I started drinking.  I hear this question all the time, so I was ready for it.  “I was drinking long before he died,” I answered.  Which isn’t exactly true – it isn’t a lie – but it’s not like I was getting drunk at age fourteen, either – I had some beers now & again.  Like all suburban teens.  But it shuts them up.  All of them – Dr. Barb, Lance, Angie – they all want easy answers.  Like I became a drunk & a druggie cuz my dad died drunk behind the wheel with a young woman not his wife when I was sixteen years old.  Like it was some kind of abandonment that I can never get over.  The truth is – I felt abandoned long before that.

***

I finished my Fourth Step – it’s a fucking novel – I tried to keep it a short story but it was very tough.  I also tried to keep it in outline form – like Bill Wilson says in the Big Book – but once I got writing, I just kept going.

I presented it to Lance & we went over it.  He wanted to know how I wanted to “do” my Fifth Step – he asked if I had a sponsor to talk it over with.  I have a “temporary sponsor” here in Lowell – a woman named Sharon – but I don’t really want to read my Fourth Step to her.  I mean – she’s nice – but I only got her because it was required – not because I felt like we were AA soul mates.  Besides – it’s not like I’m staying here – I know that eventually I’m going back to either Buffalo or Cleveland.  So there’s no use in getting really close to anyone.

I said I would feel better just doing it with him.  So tomorrow, I “take the Fifth” as the saying goes.

***

Working with Dr. Barb brings up all the old stuff with my stepfather & his ever-present hands.  & the Brady Devine & his friends raping me that night in Gates Mills.  A lot of this stuff I have pushed so far down into my consciousness that I barely remember any of it & I don’t like remembering it at all.  Dr. Barb says that most women alcoholics are victims of sexual abuse & the earlier that we deal with the pain & we start to heal from it, the easier our recovery will be.  But most of us want to run from the pain.  Well – why the hell not?  Once you start remember this stuff – without any drugs to moderate the pain – all you do is think about it – over & over & over again.

I don’t like talking to her about this stuff.  She seems like a voyeur.

***

I want to go home.  Even though I am still in love with Pat – I know I am – but there’s no future in that – & I still love Jesse – I always will but there’s even less future there – Teddy still loves me – & I do love him – & I am so homesick – for my kitties & my books – & there’s plenty of AA meetings in Buffalo – I want my own house, my own kitchen, food I can eat – not to have to go to group everyday & meetings everyday & think about nothing but recovery, recovery, recovery!  I want to have some fun!

***

I took off today – without permission – we’re supposed to sign out but I just left.  I took the train to Boston & then up the coast to Manchester-by-the Sea.  I walked around for a while – I found our house – of course there’s another family living there now, so I didn’t want to hang out – but I wanted to see it.  & then I went to the beach.  I wore a bikini under my sundress so it would be easy to strip down & lay out in the sun & swim in the ocean.  Which is what I did.  It was like heaven.

But I CAUGHT HELL when I got back to Blue Star Rehab.  Leaving without permission – being gone all day – it was like I had done the worst thing imaginable – even though I have done everything else they have asked me to do & never fucked up once.  I had to do a breathalyzer when I came in – even though a fucking moron could have seen that I hadn’t been drinking – & I had to do a urine too & I’ll have to do another one in a few days as well.  I just wanted to go see my old home!  & go to the beach!  & I was never allowed to – I’m 30 fucking years old! – so I thought, fuck it, I’m leaving.  I don’t see what the big deal is – I’m fine, everyone can see I’m fine.

***

They are making a big deal out of me being gone all day yesterday.  Both Lance & Angie are on my side but it’s coming from higher up than them.  I’ve been here four – almost five – months & you’d think I’d be able to do things on my own – like an adult, not a child.  The outpatient clients get to come & go as they please.  But those of us who live here – for whatever reasons – we’re treated like we’re mentally ill & can’t be trusted.  We have to sign out when we leave & sign back in – there’s a curfew – I’m so tired of this.  I wanted to get sober & that’s what I did.  I want to go home now.

***

It is settled.  I am going home Friday morning.   Nobody is happy about this but I was almost out of insurance anyway so I was going to have to start paying out of pocket or leave – & I don’t have to money to pay out of my own pocket!  So now it’s AA all the way!

***

It’s incredibly hot & humid.  Nonetheless, I am packing – I can hardly wait.  I’ve been so homesick.  Teddy is coming to get me – I don’t know what to think about that.  I will try again.  But if it doesn’t work, I’m going to leave – I told him this.  I am not going to be unhappy & start using again.

I am going to miss it here.  I really am.  I never thought I would come to love Lowell – such a funny little city – with all the little canals – “Low-ell”.  I wonder if I will ever return here.

***

(Buffalo, NY)

Four months without a drink – except for those few joints with Jesse when I first left Buffalo in March, I haven’t had any kind of drugs, either.  I expected Teddy to have a joint ready for me when I got home, but he said he didn’t have anything & wasn’t I supposed to be sober now?  I didn’t know what to think.  I am sure he has weed somewhere around here.  I never expected to stop smoking weed – not forever – not for the rest of my life.

“The End of the Innocence” is playing – I feel very emotional.  I should feel serene & secure in my sobriety but I feel shaky & insecure.  Pat’s spirit is with me no less than a dead man.  What do I feel?  Really?  Like I let myself down again.  I just wish chemical dependency hadn’t gotten mixed up into it all.  How could I remain true to my emotions when I had to dissect every feeling & express it & explain it & put it into its proper little box?  Don Henley is mocking me: “How bad do you want it?  Not bad enough.”  I thought I did.  I really did.  I still do.  Part of me hopes that things don’t work out with Teddy so I’m free – free – free for what? – Pat?  I have no real reason to think that we would have a good life together – a happy life – a life filled with motorcycles & camping & joints & shopping like I have with Teddy.  No real reason – except love that made me into the Goddess & he into a god – oh here I go again – homesick or not, I have to ask myself – what the hell am I doing here?

The other reason I hope it doesn’t work out with Teddy is so that maybe I can go back to Massachusetts.  Not to Lowell but to the coast.  I so long to live on the ocean.

***

Drinking coffee.  Thinking about projects – editing & revamping “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Seductress” – maybe change the title – thinking about what poems to send the Buffalo News – making a novel out of the Chaotic Bliss diary – what names for what people & why – how to tell it – diary or third person – plans for a quilt – plans for a recovery sampler – using one of the AA slogans.

Thinking about Pat & trying not to.  Maybe this house is charged.  Maybe I wove a stronger spell than I ever imagined.  Maybe it’s just my addictive/addicted personality coming back.  Maybe it never really left.

Last night I was on fire.  I could not stop thinking about him.  It was like we were together – in the dream realm – floating above consciousness.  Teddy was out cold next to me.  I moaned – lost in my reverie.  Then I sneezed & Teddy woke up.  I reached over & touched his cock.  Even hard, it seemed small compared to what I was remembering – I told myself to shut up – Teddy ate me out & then fucked me – I was gritting my teeth – I couldn’t believe I had come to this – Oh Pat – I can’t believe this – Me! – merely enduring sex! – after all the crazy kinky sex I’ve had! – what’s the matter with me? – or is it Teddy?  Everything he does seems like – textbook –

My heart hurts so intensely I can scarcely believe it.

***

Yesterday Teddy received a letter from Pat stating that he was not sorry he had an affair with me & that he had never considered Teddy a friend, only a business connection & that Teddy had deep-seated problems that needed attention –  especially sexual.

Needless to say, Teddy had a fit.  He wrote a letter back to Pat which I had to admit is a really good letter & really to the point – not Teddy’s usual meanderings.  Personally – I think Pat is really being an asshole in this case.  I mean – what kind of ninth step is that?  Who makes an amend & tells the other person that they have “deep-seated problems”?  I mean, really?

***

A hot day.  Sunny.  Blue skies.  A day that demands a beach, cool water & waves.  Orange crush & hot dogs.

***

[August]

Money woes mount.  Bills that need to be paid before any paychecks arrive – plus money that ought to be in the bank is not there – I have all the deposit slips & returned checks & I can’t figure out that happened – just shit I don’t need to deal with – I mean, who does?  But where does the money go to?  Is Teddy taking out money I don’t know about?  Are there bank withdrawal slips I’m not seeing?  He always handled all the money but now we’re supposed to be doing it together.  He always did fancy footwork when it came to finances & I’m much more conservative.  Maybe not in the way I’ve made my money but in the sense that I got out there & actually made it.  & used it to pay bills & buy groceries & then play with it.  Teddy plays first & then pays the bills.

Daily headaches & sleepless nights.  Ridiculous dreams when I do sleep.  Unable to wake up.

Feeling more & more unbalanced.  Realizing that drugs & alcohol – especially marijuana – were used to even the scales.   I’m wildly up or wildly down.

***

Reading rituals for Lammas.  Thinking of a solitary ritual.

***

What do I fear most?  Impotence – artistic, literary weakness – being a mediocre poet instead of a great one.  Unhappiness.  My unhappiness in the face of Teddy’s great joy that I have returned.  Fear.  Fear.  Fear.  Time to do a Step 6 – yet the words in the book just swim in front of me.

Loneliness.  Longing.  Want.  Want.  Overwhelming emotional fatigue.

***

Last night I had a terrible fight with Teddy about Pat.  He simply will not believe that it is over – completely.  I admitted that Pat calls the house but I did say that I no longer talk to him.  & not because of him – although I didn’t say that – but because of me.  Because I want it over.  I’m tired of the drama – tired of the soap opera of my marriage.  Today – calm discussions.  An empty feeling I am trying not to feel.  But also the realization that to live with Teddy means no secrets.  & I have always had secrets – even when I was a child, I had my secret life. I don’t know if I can be totally open with another person – it’s not the way I am.  Another thing – even if it means I never have sex again – no outside lovers.  Being married to Teddy means that I have sex only with him – whether or not he wants it – & only when he wants it – the way he wants it.  I do not know if I can do that.  I just don’t know.  I think it’s an awful lot to ask.  I mean –  if Teddy only wants sex once a month or twice a year or whatever it is – that’s ok for him – but why does that have to be ok for me?

On the other hand, I know where Teddy is coming from because it’s not like Pat is “being a gentleman about it” as Teddy put it – he’s been trying to break up our marriage from the very beginning.  I do have to be honest about that – even if Pat isn’t.  The thing is – I don’t think Pat even really wants me.  He just wants me because Teddy has me.  If I left Teddy & went to Pat, then Pat wouldn’t want me anymore.

It’s all so horribly depressing.

***

I couldn’t wake up this morning.  After Teddy left, I went back to bed & had all sorts of dreams – I was at a Grateful Dead concert in Cleveland with Pat – then flying over Lake Erie – I woke up bleeding.  I thought – oh, so no wonder I’m so whacked out lately & then I cried for over an hour.

I’m not falling apart – I’m not!  I’m keeping it together – barely.

***

I called Mark Miles this morning.  We’re getting together for lunch next week.

***

Sitting on the porch.  A warm, breezy, sunny day.  Ribs on the grill.  Just out of the shower – clean, smooth, sweet-smelling.  I have to continually shoo bees away.  Teddy’s in the shower.  I’m reading Anaïs Nin.

Almost uncontrollably moody.  Suicidal, almost.  Wanting to stick a needle into my arm.  Thinking – continually – of walking into a bar & ordering a shot & a beer.  Feeling hopeless – hopeless.

Teddy’s love debilitates me.  He is so happy I have returned.  I shrink from causing him pain.  Meanwhile I am in so much pain myself I can barely stand it.  All I do is think of suicide.  I don’t really want to get drunk.  It’s too slow.  I think of heroin – of faster, more sure ways to waste myself.  I just want to end this turmoil.

Evening.  Reading Anaïs Nin.  Her experiences with Drs. Allendy & Rank are helping me articulate what it is I want out of therapy.  She writes, “I felt torn apart by my multiple relationships, & I would have been able to live fully in each one, had enough love & devotion for all of them, but they conflicted with each other.”  Also: “I had no in-between existence:  only flights, mobility, euphoria; and despair, depression, disillusion, paralysis, shock & a shattering of the mirror.”

I need to learn to live with all this feeling.  How to reconcile myself with my various loves & lovers.  Deal with the feelings associated with the rape.  What to do about Teddy.  How to achieve union – or end it.

& then – how to live alone – if need be.  How to be happy.

No small order.

***

Meanwhile – Teddy wants to make love.  I honestly don’t think he really wants to make love –  he just thinks that I want to so he’s trying to do it for me.  & I honestly don’t want to.  I have been terribly horny – but I don’t want Teddy – what can I say!  It’s not going to work like that!

So last night – Teddy made love to me.  Or he tried.  It was a horrible mistake.  I had to grit my teeth – Teddy was eating me & running his hand up & down my body & I wanted to push him away – I had to involve myself in an elaborate rape fantasy just to cum – because he wasn’t going to stop until I did & I couldn’t cum any other way – I felt so shitty.  Then he fucked me & the tears were rolling down my face & as soon as he finished, I was sobbing – !  I want to feel like the Goddess again!  I want that fire – that finesse – that excellence again!  Oh fuck – what am I going to do?

I’d rather have no sex than bad sex.

I haven’t been this depressed in a long time.  And I have a terrible headache.

***

Spent all day at the Erie County Fair.  We had a wonderful time.  The only time I was upset & frustrated was when Teddy refused to go to on the Sky Ride with me – it’s a double Ferris Wheel – because of his fear of heights – a fear I admit I totally do not understand – especially sitting  in a steel bench with a bar across you lap isn’t exactly unsafe – not like scaling the side of a mountain or even climbing a ladder – but whatever.

I saw Bard Ellison there.  He was selling Encyclopedia Brittanicas.  We talked a few minutes.  He’s going to law school.

***

Writing poetry.  Joni Mitchell on the stereo.

***

I cannot sleep.  I just finished watching a documentary about the Beatles.  I am reading Anaïs Nin & having a glass of milk.  It has been pouring.  Now the rain falls lightly, almost a drizzle.  It’s getting windy.  Across the street, my neighbor’s wind chimes ring hauntingly.

***

Something happened to me.  Changed in me.  In my mind I am moving out.  I have been dreaming & in all my dreams, I am leaving.  When I am awake, I am making a mental inventory – what I will take & what I will leave behind.

***

Pat called this morning.  He got on my nerves – telling me that I should just turn my back on Teddy & my life here – “Just do it,” he said, like it wasn’t going to cause Teddy or even me any pain to leave – & to leave my books & my things behind – “they’re really not important” – funny how my things aren’t important – that I should just buy a bus ticket & go to Cleveland with just a backpack of clothing & live with him.  Yeah, right!  That’s a good one!  I can see how that will turn out!

Besides, I just can’t do that.  I’m not ready.  I want to leave Teddy but I’m just not ready yet.  Maybe I’ll go to Cleveland but maybe I’ll stay right here.  My vision of the future shows a small apartment of my own – maybe on the West Side – or maybe Central Park area – with my books & my plants & my cats – alone.  No man in the house.  AA – a coven for spiritual work – & therapy so I get better.  Working on my poems & my novel.

A nice quiet change – just enough to make my life better – slow change – sober change.  Not a revolution – which is what Pat wants.  I don’t want revolution – I want evolution.  I know it won’t be painless either way but I think my way is the better way.  It’s the right way.  Pat wants what he wants when he wants it – which is right now.

***

I went over to Shera’s the other night.  It was nice – sitting in the semi-darkness on the porch – sipping herbal tea & talking.  I told her all about my troubles with Teddy & how I still longed for Pat & even Jesse.  “Have any of these men asked you what it is you want, what is good for you, what your needs are?”  she asked.  & of course the answer is no.  From Teddy, all I hear about are his needs, his wants, his hurt feelings. From Pat, all I hear about is what he thinks is good for me & how I should go about doing that & how soon I should be doing it.  Both of them are selfish as toddlers.

I haven’t heard from Jesse at all.  Maybe that hurts most of all.  I know he’s back from Atlanta.   He must be really working a good program – he hasn’t called Teddy for weed & he hasn’t called me at all.

It was wonderful over at Shera’s.  A feminine/feminist household.  A beautiful altar, right out in the open, no need to hide it or camouflage it as something else.  Artwork everywhere.  Calm, peace, serenity.  Exactly what I need.

Another thing she said that struck a deep chord: “If Pat can tell you to just run off & leave Teddy & your home without a second glance, that doesn’t say much about his ethics.  You can’t run away from your responsibilities.”

“Pat did,” I said, laughing – but it really isn’t a laughing matter – & really, he left a trail of creditors behind him – lots of people wanting to find him for various reasons.  Another thing – he keeps telling me that he’s going to find a good job selling cars but he’s never made money selling cars before.  I know that all the money he did make went to drugs but he wasn’t selling many cars – who the hell is?  I was feeding him before we became lovers – he was over all the time, wanting meals.  & now he says he’s going to make a load of money & support me?  He says he going to make a grand next year.  I would just like to see that before I go down there.  I’ve had enough of nickel & diming in my life.

& when you think about it – a grand isn’t that much money.  I was making that in one week when I was dancing.

***

How I hate Sundays.  Too long – too boring.  No money.  No joints.  A big breakfast & a lot of dishes.  Feeling fat & ugly.

Later on, we’ll go to Doug & Danielle – they’ve moved – & swim a little.  Until then – reading & more reading.

Newspaper full of Persian Gulf crisis.  Already bored with it.  Tired of hearing about it.

Evening.  We went to Doug & Danielle’s.  I had a nice swim but I really wanted a beer – really pissed & depressed that I can’t even have one.  I really want to blow off the entire program.  Actually I want it both ways.  I want my 6-month pin but I want a beer too.  I don’t want to get drunk – just a beer!  Just enjoy a little buzz.

***

In tears all day.  I’ve been really struggling lately.  It feels awful to be so depressed.  I have to get to more meetings – I need friends in the program – a local sponsor.  I can’t go on fighting like this.  Wanting a drink & unable to have one.  Unhappy with life.

***

I’ve been to meetings every day.  Monday night – a woman’s meeting – only four blocks away!  Tuesday – a meeting at UB.  Wednesday – my home group.  I may or may not go to one tonight but I am going to one tomorrow night with  Marie J., the secretary of Achievement Group.  She said she’d give me rides to other meetings too.  Things are looking up.

Excerpts From a Diary 42

[April-May, 1990]

[April]

I’m sitting at the Buffalo International Airport, waiting for a flight to Logan International in Boston.  This is no April Fool’s Day joke – this is really happening.  We couldn’t get a flight out of Cleveland, so this morning Bob & I drove here at the crack of dawn & now we’re waiting for a flight.  He’s coming with me.  I think my mother & Bob think I’m going to bolt – either here in Buffalo or in Boston – a place I really know nothing about, aside from my childhood memories – so Bob is coming with me.  Mom is too busy to deal with me, of course – Rocco is newly engaged & she’s busy with planning an engagement party for him & his fiancé this coming Saturday.   It was almost all she talked about – how nice Julie is & how sweet she is & how dedicated to her chosen field of social work & how sober she is.  Hearing about how wonderful Julie is almost made me want to go out & get plastered but I remembered how I wanted to get sober when I was talking to Jesse – it’s amazing how fragile that desire is.  I mean – I want to get sober but I just want to escape, too.

They’re having me to go some rehab in Lowell, Massachusetts.  I don’t know how they came up with that one.  I mean – what’s in Lowell?  My father always made fun of Lowell. “Low-ell” he called it.   Apparently some AA friend of Bob’s runs it.  It’s in some old factory or mill or something – I really don’t know.  It’s not very big.  There’s inpatient & outpatient services & I’m going to be inpatient for 28 days & then I don’t know.  I guess we’re going to play it by ear.  I don’t even know who’s paying for this.  I suppose my insurance – through Teddy’s work – I’m just not thinking about it.  Bob says not to think about it – he says my “best thinking” got me here.

Teddy called Mom last night & after talking to her for a little bit, she let me talk to him.  He got a phone!  After months of not having a phone & not being able to work because of not having a phone, the very first day I’m gone he goes & gets phone service!  I was fit to be had but there was nothing I could do about it.  He said that he thought it was a good idea that I was going into rehab.  I told him that I didn’t know when I would be back but I asked him – please – not to get rid of any of my books or anything else that belonged to me.  He said he wouldn’t.  He said that he was going into a program for men who “hit” women – that my mother was insisting on it.  He made it sound like he was doing it to please her because he really didn’t have a problem – any reasonable man would hit a woman like me, right?  I mean – he didn’t say that but I know that what he thinks.  He did say that he wants us to be living together again & happy again but after I hung up the phone, I couldn’t remember when it was when we were ever really happy.

I think that’s the entire idea with everyone.  Get Cori sober & get her back into her marriage with Teddy.  Which isn’t what I want at all.  I mean – I want to get sober but I know my marriage is over.  It’s been over for a long time.  Honestly – I feel more like getting wasted than ever.  I feel trapped.

***

I fell asleep on the plane.  It’s only an hour in the air but I went right out.  It seems like all I do lately is sleep.  It must be the shock of no drugs in my system.  Of course I’m still drinking coffee but it’s like it doesn’t even affect me anymore – like I’ve got the strongest tolerance known to man – I can have espresso & still fall asleep.  Pat always said that caffeine was a drug so it’s only logical that I could & would build up a tolerance to it.  Pat said that caffeine was a drug & so is the sugar that I put into my coffee – he said half & half was, too.  He could talk for hours on how dairy was one of the most addictive drugs to man & so was meat!  Pat could make an argument that anything at all could be used addictively & it was all part of Dukka & Samudaya – the First & Second Noble Truths of Buddhism – that 1. life is painful – mostly because we don’t or won’t realize its impermanence & 2. our insistence on clinging to these impermanent states & trying to make them permanent.  & getting over an addiction was simply the Third & Fourth Noble Truths – Nirodha, letting go & Magga, liberation from Dukka.  Honestly – when he talked about it, it seemed so simple – so why couldn’t he let go of his addictions?  To smoking cigarettes & doing coke?  To sex?  To gambling?  Maybe Jesse was right – it was all just talk with Pat – just something he said to sound virtuous & get unhappy babes like me into bed.  I felt worse than ever.  I couldn’t believe that my search for a better life & a new way of living had led me to Pat.

It took about forty minutes to drive out to Lowell from Logan.  Boston itself looked familiar – as we drove on the various expressways – but as soon as we got out of Boston proper, nothing really seemed real to me.  We were driving away from the ocean.  I felt really sad.  Somehow I had thought that I was going home but I was going somewhere completely else.  “Low-ell”.

Bob talked to me as we drove along.  “I know you’ve been to rehab before & you might think that you know about recovery & you know about AA,” he said.  “Go into this like you don’t know anything at all.  Go into this like you’re a complete baby in recovery.  Because believe me,” he chuckled, “you are.”

I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t know what to say.

“& don’t worry about Teddy.  Teddy’s going to be fine.  Teddy wants you to think he’s going to fall apart cuz you’re not there but he’s going to be just fine.  & if he falls apart – well, that’s ok, too.  It’s about time he faced the music on his own.”

“But we’re married,” I said.  Weakly.  & I only said it to say something – it’s not like I believed it.

“Are you?”  He laughed.  “Is that what you call it?  So – just what is my son Jesse’s role in that marriage?  I’ve often wondered.”

I didn’t say anything.  I never thought that anyone noticed Jesse & my relationship.  I always thought it was completely sub rosa.  I wondered who else knew.

He went on, “If you’re going to get sober & I mean really sober – not just quit drinking & using for a while – I mean a total change of life – if you’re going to get sober, you’re going to have to change everything.  Sometimes the people in your life change with you & sometimes they don’t.  But the fact is – you have to change.  & you have to change the way you live your life.  You understand what I mean?”

“Yeah,” I said, although I wasn’t all that sure just how I was supposed to change – other than stopping the drinking & the drugging.  Which seemed like enough for me at the moment.

“You’re going to have to make a break with your drug past.  That means everyone.  Even your husband, if that’s what it takes to remain sober.  If he isn’t willing to clean up his act, too.  You might have to move.  Find a new career.  Do whatever it takes.”  I must have been looking freaked out – I was just exhausted by that point – because he moderated his message a little.  “But I wouldn’t worry about that right now – just get yourself clean & healthy – everything else will fall into place – here we are.”

He pulled up in front of an old brick building – maybe 100 years old but it could easily be as old as 150 years or maybe older.  There was a star design worked into the brick that was decorative and beautiful.  I had never seen bricks so small & so delicate.  It was one brick building in a long line of old brick buildings.  The front doors were heavy & old & made of oak.  Over the doors was a transom made of granite & etched in it were the words: “The Blue Star Manufacturing Company” with a pentacle in between the words “Star” & “Manufacturing”.  A hand-printed sign on the door said: “Blue Star Rehab”.

We walked in & it was like walking into history.  Everything was brick and wood & wrought iron & just plain old.  The ceilings were higher than anything I had ever seen.  I felt like I was tripping.  Maybe I was.  Maybe by that point – with the swiftness of leaving Buffalo & going to Cleveland & then back to Buffalo to Boston & now here in Lowell – I was completely broken down & now in some other dimension.  But I have to be honest – I really don’t remember the intake – signing the papers – saying goodbye to Bob – going upstairs to the top floor where inpatient was.  I floated through all of that & then I was in my own room & sleeping – for days & days.  Or that’s how it seemed, anyway.

***

Last night I dreamed that I was at Pat’s place – I’m not sure where – maybe in Cleveland – I was in the kitchen – it was a mess – there was olive green appliances & a washer & dryer & stacks of pornography – the phone rang & it was Pat.  “When will you be here?”  I asked.  “I have all my things & I’m ready to move in – ready for our new life together.”

“We have no life together,” he told me.  “It is not our karma to be together.  You must accept this karma.”

“I won’t accept this karma!”  I argued.  “I refuse!  I love you!  It is our karma to love each other!  It is our karma to be together & you know it!”

“It is not our karma to be together.  You must accept this.”  & the phone went dead.

***

This morning I was interviewed by a counsellor.  His name is Lance but he couldn’t look less like a Lance if he tried – being rather pudgy & effeminate.  But really nice – really a nice dude.  Fabulous accent – the accent alone brought back so many memories.  It was like I was 10 years old again & hearing it for the first time.  “Supah,” he kept saying – that dropping of the ending “r” was tripping me back to 1970 & it was hard not to fall into the same speech pattern (“patten”).   He talked with me for almost two hours & I felt like he was on my side the entire time.  It was decided that I’m alcohol dependent, cannabis dependent, cocaine dependent & miscellaneous drug dependent.  Lance is going to be my main counsellor.  I have Angie for my group counsellor & Alycia, the student intern, who drives us to meetings every day.  We go to some meeting somewhere on a daily basis.  “Ninety meetings in ninety days,” Lance told me, “but you’ll be glad to get out of the building & you’ll be glad to be seeing so much of Eastern New England, especially since you’re not from around here.  It’s a way to sight-see while you’re getting some recovery,” which sounded suspiciously like a slogan but I just laughed & said that I would love to see Manchester-by-the-Sea, where I used to live.  So then we talked a little about my life there.  Not very much – my time was up – but Lance agreed that it was a beautiful place & that it had to have been hard for me to leave there.

***

I got a letter from Teddy.  I read it this morning before I went to group but I really didn’t have time to look at it closely & so I’m rereading it now.  He writes in pencil – which is annoying enough – but he says he uses a pencil because he makes so many mistakes & has to erase.  I mean – just cross out the wrong words – or think a little before you write.  Or write a letter & then copy it over.  I guess he doesn’t understand the concept of a first draft. 

He writes, “Ever since we have been together, you have been scared to tell certain things to me for fear that I would get mad.  This is before I ever got mad at you the first time.  In my opinion I think that 1. Your parents were that way with you & 2. You knew inside that what you wanted to tell me was something that you either did was wrong or knew you screwed up or something like that.  You did not want to admit that you had made a mistake.  You said more than once over the years that you were afraid to tell me things because you assumed I would get mad.  But there were plenty of times I didn’t.  What happened in a lot of cases is that I got mad because you tried to lie or cover up.  You assumed I would not understand.  I know I didn’t handle many situations like I should have, but I was at a disadvantage because you were untruthful with me.  I think most of the time you were afraid I would get on your case but most of the time you needed to be told when you screwed up just like I do from time to time.  You forgot that first of all I love you, & I only want to help you face up to your mistakes.  I know I didn’t always handle things well but after all I have my own problems with being immature.  I needed you & still need you to support me.”

His letter continued, “I still deeply love you, a love that is real & true.  With help from God, we could become great lovers as well as companions & friends again.  I think you have lost the feeling & memories of just how good it was & how good it could be again.  Please don’t shut your feelings off & rule out falling in love with me.  With both of us getting the help we need, we could be a great team again.”

I don’t know what to say – I admit I miss Teddy.  But it’s never been right – or has it just been me?  Blaming him when it’s really me – restless, discontented one – falling in love with Jesse – crazy in love with Jesse –

But – to accuse me of lying – I’m not a liar.  I was very careful about that.  I really hate lying & I hate people who lie. But to omit saying anything at all is not lying.  To say you’re going out & not say where you’re going is not lying.  To say you’re going here or there & not mention somewhere else is not lying.  OK – maybe it’s not completely honest, either – but it’s not lying.

& now this stupid thing with Pat – blowing up like dynamite – just gives him ammo.

I don’t know – I don’t know – is it all my fault?  Really?

***

Writing a letter to Teddy.  I have to show it to Lance before it gets sent out – it’s not like my mail is censored but I’m in “early recovery” & there are rules – it’s for my own good – I could be sabotaging my own recovery & not even know it.  & I don’t care – I really want to get better.  & I want to know – really – is it my fault?  The demise of the marriage?  Because – honestly – it seems to me that I acted in a very logical manner & even ethically – given the circumstances.

I wrote:

“I admit I never had any intention of being sexually ‘faithful’ – but I didn’t really think it mattered – I was emotionally faithful – at least until Jesse – & even then I still loved you deeply & was very loyal to you.  & the only reason I lied – if you can call it lying & it seems that you are determined to do so – is because who the hell tells the truth when they’re having an affair?  I mean really?  If we were having an open marriage, it would have been different.  But you made it clear that you weren’t interested in that.  & you also made it clear that you weren’t interested in me sexually.  So I was supposed to be faithful to a man who didn’t want to have sex with me.  I think that was asking a bit much.”  I added, “There’s some kind of emptiness in me – I don’t know what – maybe it’s connected to my need for ‘stardom’ – but I tried to fill it anyway I could – with drinking – with sex – it’s like I can’t see myself except mirrored in someone else’s eyes.”

I continued, “One thing I’ve heard over & over – in AA meetings & now with these new counsellors – is that I’m very hard on myself – too hard on myself – that I set myself up for failure – that I punish myself – that I don’t really believe in myself – that I don’t believe I deserve happiness.  For whatever reasons – my dad dying – that asshole of a stepfather – what happened in Gates Mills – Jon – who knows.  I was very open with you about my problems when we first met & you assured me that you would love me no matter what.  & now I’m the problem?  All I know is that this is all going to take time.  You are going to have to be patient.  Maybe it’s time you confronted your own chemical dependency issues.  Your own neediness.”

I finished the letter saying, “I also think that my problems – like your problems – existed before we were married.  The marriage wasn’t the problem – you & I individually were – & we have to get our shit together individually before we can do it together.”

***

I have just had the worst night since I have been here. I barely slept at all.  In the beginning, all I could do was think about Pat.  I sent him a letter last week – I know I shouldn’t have but I did & everyone in group got on my case about it  – & I haven’t heard anything back.  I wonder if he’s with Amy or with someone new.  Or if he’s even still in Buffalo.  Maybe the letter is just sitting in the mailbox & has been for days. I was in torment & I tossed & turned for hours.

Somewhere in there I did fall asleep & I dreamed I was smoking a joint.  I only did a few tokes & I was wasted.  They could smell it on the floor & it was a real problem.  I was really paranoid in my dream & that’s something I have never been in real life.  It was really amazing – how anxious I felt in my dream.  I woke up & I shook myself out of the dream.  I went to the bathroom & then back to bed – more tossing & turning.

I drifted off into sleep & another dream.  I was wearing my grey dress.  I was arriving at Eric Clapton’s house.  I saw a bunch of Clapton videos yesterday – I’m sure that’s where some of this is coming from.  He & his wife – not Patti, some other chick – were going to some show & they were taking me along with them – Eric & I had to wait for his wife to get ready & we went out to the yard – we were talking, our eye meeting & our hands touching.  The same electricity that Pat & I felt when we were falling in love.  Which leads me to believe that it wasn’t Eric Clapton I was dreaming about – but Pat.

Then the dream changed – Eric & I were watching TV & I was wearing my red & white checked dress that I used to wear in Manchester – that cute one from my freshman year in high school – it seemed like the dream went on forever as the sexual tension built & then he was making love to me – it was so intense & so real – I can remember every detail – it was just like fucking a god.

Then it turned into a nightmare – I was late getting home to Teddy & he was mad at me – he was taunting me about fucking Eric Clapton – “Was it like fucking God?” he shouted at me – we had a huge argument & I woke up crying.  It’s only a dream but nothing is just a dream.  I can’t ignore it any longer.  I gambled & lost.  It’s no use saying, all bets are off, I want to go home.  Because I’m stuck here – stuck going to group every day – stuck going to AA meetings.  Realization comes hard in the cold light of dawn.  & nothing changes it.

***

I got a letter from Pat.  He writes that he feels disconnected from me, unable to fully communicate & says that “somehow, someway” he has got to see me.  He says we should not try to “fortify or secure” our love – like grasping a rose – we would get pierced by the thorns.  He wrote that our love “simply is & that is that.”

I thought it was beautiful until I showed it to Lance, who said, “Just what the fuck is he talking about?”  & I burst out laughing.

Lance said, “Girl, you don’t need that kind of tomfoolery in your life, he’s not saying a word of sense, just a bunch of fine-sounding words that you can dance to & we all know how you love to dance.”  & I had to agree.  It was all fine-sounding words that didn’t mean a thing.  I’m not going to write back to him.

***

A lot has happened.  Because of writing letters & my daily diaries for group, writing my personal diary has taken a back seat.  But that’s the way it is.

I did a formal First Step in group the other day.  I had to stand up & say that I was “powerless” over drugs & alcohol – which I honestly don’t believe – & that my life had become “unmanageable” – which isn’t a question whether or not I believing in that – it’s quite evident.  I mean – my sweetheart of a husband is now a snarling beast – the guru lover I thought was going to save me has proven to be a false prophet – & I’m living in a converted factory & eating the worst food in my life.  They talk about people gaining weight when they get sober but I’m losing weight.  There’s almost nothing I can eat here.

The next day I did a Second Step – “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity” – Again – I always knew that a power greater than myself could do anything at all – include take me in & out of sanity – so I didn’t argue with this or belabor the wording.  Lance says this step is about having hope & keeping an open mind – that recovery is possible & that none of us have to do it alone.

I was thinking about those two steps as the Ace & Two of Wands – the beginning of desire – the desire for a better life – a spiritual life, a productive life, a creative life – clean & sober.

***

I had a big blow-up with Teddy this morning.  Actually –  he was the one blowing up.  He said he talked to his counsellor.  He’s not in group because there’s not enough men to form a group – which sounds suspect to me – because what different does it make how many men there are?  & given how many women complain of being hit by their men – in AA alone – if there aren’t enough men to form a group, it’s because men deny being the problem.  He also said that he told the guy about me & my affairs – affairs?  Now I’ve had more than one? – & what happened with Pat & the guy said that Teddy was to “confront” me about Pat, my counsellors here, my group sessions, & “just how long” I was going to be here.  That just doesn’t sound right.  A counsellor for men with anger problems telling the guy with the problem controlling his anger to make a confrontation with the woman with whom he’s angry?  Really?  Somehow I don’t think any of that is true.  Teddy went on to say that Pat isn’t sick – he doesn’t have cancer – Pat lying to me – he’s not in AA – he’s still dealing drugs – & when I asked him where he was getting his information from, he refused to tell me – which told me that it’s Teddy who’s lying.  Because how would he know any of this?  He was hurt & upset that I would not believe him.  I tried to tell him, “It’s not a question of believing.  I really don’t care.  It has nothing to do with you & me.  As for you & me – I am not writing off our marriage, but I can’t save our marriage until I save myself.”

He just reiterated his demands that I stop writing & talking to Pat or he would come & bring me home.  Like he has any authority over my physical body.  & he doesn’t know that I’m writing or talking to Pat – he’s just assuming that I am!  But even if I am – he has no right to tell me what to do anyway!  But I’m writing & talking to Pat or anyone else.  I really am trying to focus on recovery 24/7 here.

I do miss Teddy.  I do love him.  I just wish he’d change – like I’ve been wishing for the last seven years.

***

In group, I told them what happened with Teddy.  So not I’m not supposed to talk to him or write to him or read his letters for a week.  I had to make a contract with the group.  Angie & Lance say that by focusing on Teddy – Teddy’s problems – his truck – his job – I am not focusing on myself.  I am always worrying about him – how he feels – what he’s gonna think – say – do – about whatever it is.  & I do worry about him constantly.  I have spent a lot of time writing to him – telling him things I’ve learned in therapy – outlining the 12 steps – helping him – trying to teach him & I just can’t take it anymore.  Or his pleading letters – letters telling me how badly he wants me to change – how much he loves me & wants me – all that.  The words have got to stop & the action has got to begin.

I’m not the only one with marital problems.  Both Benny & Curt are having them big-time & Lyle too.  Curt’s moving into a halfway house.

***

I feel bad.  I feel bad because I know Teddy is feeling bad.  Inside my head, I hear a voice: “How do you know?” & I have to answer, “Well, I don’t.”  Maybe he’s pissed off.  Maybe he’s happy.  Maybe – maybe –

The thing is, I have tried to help Teddy & I’ve got to stop.  I can’t help him or anyone else.  I can only help myself.  He’s got to motivate myself & help himself.  I’m in therapy – I’m going to AA – I’m moving ahead & trying to change.  Teddy’s letter seem like he’s changing – he is paying the bills or at least he says so – & I do believe him – I guess – but he’s not in therapy – he’s still totally in denial – he says he wants to learn to love me but he isn’t doing a thing!

I wish I could let it go!  Why is it so hard?

***

I told my story in group tonight.  It was tough – kinda – I know I went real fast – backtracking – so much has happened to me – it was hard to keep it linear.  On Monday, I’ll get “Tough Love” letters from the group & on Tuesday, I have to present letters in reply.

I have one month in sobriety.  So much has happened this past month I can’t believe it.  I’m so busy – the days so by so quickly – one day at a time – it’s amazing.

[May]

I got a letter from Pat.    He forgives me for “breaking” with him – I wasn’t aware that I had done that.  I mean – the letter I wrote to him spoke of recovery & being here for a long time but that was it.  Nothing personal – nothing I couldn’t show Lance or Angie.  Anyway – he writes that he has “complete trust” in me & that I am “mixed with the Dharma” – whatever that means.  He wishes nothing but the best for me.  Both Lance & Angie say it’s one of the most manipulative letters they have ever seen & that I am much better off with Pat out of my life.  “Sober or not,” Lance said.  “Sober or not.”

***

Today I turned 30.  The age everyone said I would never achieve.  How strange to celebrate it inside a rehab – on my second month of sobriety – no alcohol – no family – no friends except the news ones I have made here.

I remembered birthdays of my past – champagne – cocaine – piles of presents – going out to dinner – a beautiful cake – the kitchen help singing to me – being the center of attention – dancing all night long –

This birthday, I went to a meeting & when we got back, there was cake & ice cream in the cafeteria & everyone sang to me.  I started crying but it seems like that’s easy to do nowadays.

So then we played cards for a while.  I love playing cards!  I realized how nice it was not to be drinking – not to have to set it down each time I had to take my turn – being able to play well because I wasn’t buzzed – not being anxious because I wanted to go home & smoke a joint – not being out of weed & out of money all the time – not being all burned out all the time – it was such a freedom – such a good feeling!

& tomorrow I’ll wake up & I won’t have a hangover.  & honestly – I may miss catching a buzz once in a while but I never miss having a hangover.  If I have another hangover ever again, it’ll be too soon & as far as I’m concerned – no hangovers is the one & true reason not to drink.  The one & only reason not to drink.

***

I did my Third Step on Monday – I feel much better – like it isn’t my problem anymore.  I meditated a long time – I knew my decision was true & real.

The whole – “turning our will & our lives over to God” – really goes against my grain because I don’t want to turn my will or my life over to anyone.  Maybe I would – to Jesse – once upon a time – but I don’t know if I believe in that kind of love anymore.  But I had to think – there has to be some kind of deity.  I would rather turn my will & my life over to a goddess than a god – it wasn’t hard to visualize her once I got to thinking about her.  But I kept my visions to myself.

& I don’t think she wants me to give up my will.  I need my will to stay sober.  But AA is a Christian place so you have to keep your mouth shut & just take the good with the bad.  The rehab itself is more open-minded but it still uses AA terminology.

But having the first three steps done, I’ve gotten the first phase done of my recovery here and Lance says I’m doing really well.  I’m homesick but on the other hand I’m glad I came here.  I feel so much better.

Excerpts From a Diary 41

[March, 1990]

My heart is overflowing.  I cannot believe how wonderful I feel.  I’m listening to “The End of the Innocence” & for the first time it means something other than Jesse.  My whole body is humming – singing – vibrating.  My clit is still swelling – is still on fire.  My cunt still feels him – Pat – he has a big, fat cock.  When I first put my hand on it, I was excited – when I saw it, I was ecstatic.  He made me wait before he gave it to me.  He ate me forever – kissing my legs & thighs – before slipping his tongue between my labia lips – he ate me forever – I had no idea – or I had forgotten – how wonderful gentleness feels – a firm gentleness – how nice it is to be led down the path slowly & surely – & how strong – how deep – how full the orgasm was – I had no idea how much I was shuddering until he placed his hands on my hips & pressed me into the couch.  Then he raised his head & our mouths met – his tasting of cigarettes & cunt – the flavor of sex – then he slipped his cock into me – & we both gasped.  We looked into each other’s eyes & we were Goddess & God – & our orgasms were like earthquakes – we held each other tight – as the aftershocks rocked our bodies –

“I always knew you would be wonderful,” he told me.  “I always knew you would be receptive.  You are so alive – every fiber of your body – electric.”

I should not be writing this – this is very dangerous stuff.  But I can’t help it.  I want to relive it – to savor it again.  I am wet – so wet.  & I still can’t believe it’s Pat doing this to me.

“I’ve wanted you for a long time,” he told me.

“& I never noticed – ”

“You were still hung up on Jesse.  That was obvious.”

“I cast a spell last month,” I said, “to attract someone – I really needed someone.”

“I know, I know,” he was kissing me, “I was sending power your way & you were just sending out power – I could feel it.”

***

“Who knows who long this will last/Now we’ve come so far so fast” – Don Henley

Pat’s love flows over me like this song – if he worked out just a little bit, his body would be excellent.  Look how little I have to do!  I look wonderful.  It’s hard to believe that this is the same body I had at Christmas.  I look better than I have in years.  I feel so good.

I can hardly wait to be with him again.

***

I have been thinking about Pat all day.  It is hard not to talk about him – to bring up his name.  I catch myself staring into space & it is Pat’s image that I see.  His twinkling eyes & sweet smile.  The way he winks at me.  The way our fingers touch & the electricity that we feel when we pass joints.  The way we discover each other –

What changes a person – what is it that makes a person you’ve known & liked but never thought about much – into someone who occupies all your thoughts – all day & all night – waking & dreaming?

***

I couldn’t sleep last night.  It seemed like I could barely breathe.  I have even less of a voice now than before – it’s an effort even to whisper.  I could taste blood on the back of my throat & my heart & lungs feel so cold & tight – my first cup of coffee, thick with sugar & half & half, is warming me wonderfully.  I am downplaying how bad I feel – I want to go to Falco’s to meet Mark Miles & talk about my poetry book – & I’m afraid Teddy will try to make me stay home if he knows the truth.

The night went by so slowly.

***

I am still sick.  I feel totally miserable & yet am beside myself with happiness.  Pat is now teaching me – he gave me a book – Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior – it’s a lot like the Medicine Way.  We are always talking – trading our spiritual knowledge & experience.  He wants me to read Carlos Castanadas.  I gave me a copy of Little Birds – I had two copies – & as soon as Mark Miles can get copies made of my manuscript, I’m giving him a copy.  Hopefully, I can get a new cartridge so I can start another book.  Also, I’m working on a “Pagan Prayer Book”.  I have so many ideas – I am exploding with creativity.  I can’t believe I am still sick.

***

It is becoming a bad dream – Teddy asking questions – making accusations – “Are you in love with Pat?” – I could not deny my feelings – but I denied having an affair.  I spent last night buoying up Teddy – oh why does he have to be so weak?  Why can’t he say “Fuck you, you’re my woman, you’re not going to want anyone else” & then prove it to me – be the man I want & need – I mean – gee whiz – he’s been with me long enough to know what that is!  Instead – he whimpers – he cries – he tells me – “If you have another affair, it’ll kill me, I won’t be able to stand it, I love you so much – ”  & I am once again thrown into the role of nurturer – of the strong mother who protects her child.  But Teddy isn’t my child!  He’s my husband!

Later.  Pat & I talked.  I told him how Teddy confronted me & what I said.  “I couldn’t deny my love for you.”

“There is no denying it.  Yeah, we can stop making love but our love is not going to go away.  Pretty soon I’m not going to be able to live without you & you’re not going to be able to live without me & Teddy is not going to be able to ignore it.”  He laughed.  “What we have to do is get a decoy.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if I had a girlfriend, or appeared to have a girlfriend, it would prove to Teddy that I had no interest in you & that would let you off the hook & ease up on the drama with him,” he reasoned.

“That sounds like way more drama to me,” I answered.  “That sounds like something out of a soap opera.”  & we laughed.

He kissed me.  “Drama or not, whatever happens, I’m here for you.  You can depend on me.  You can call me, call on me, whenever you need me, I’m here.”

Of course – Jesse said the same thing.

***

Loving Pat makes me love Teddy more.  I feel so tender & I hate the thought of hurting him.  I want to hold onto this phase – living here with Teddy – with our cats – I need time.  Only time will tell.  I wish I could find another mother for Teddy – another woman who will take care of him – someone who doesn’t need sex, obviously!  I’m just afraid that he will really go off the deep end if I’m not around.  I’m can’t help worrying about him.

***

The one good thing is that I’ve stopped drinking.  All I’m doing is smoking weed & doing coke if there’s any around.  & pills for pain.  But no alcohol – not even beers at Falco’s in the afternoon’s – which I really miss – but no alcohol at all.  That’s because of Pat & all our talk about sobriety & living a better life.  & I feel better.  I really do!  I’m losing weight & working out & I feel like my whole life is getting better.

***

Pat was supposed to be over to take Teddy to work & to get money for the bag – which is almost gone – but he’s probably at home, sleeping.  He went out last night – how I wish I had been with him!  I couldn’t stop thinking about him & our love – how wonderful sex is – & how better it keeps on getting.  He was here earlier in the evening & then went out with Kyle – they were going to Brunner’s & I am sure that they went to Falco’s after Brunner’s & closed the place.  Kyle has the really good weed that we want & he always has piles of coke.  So I know Pat was up all night, partying.  Not drinking of course – but snorting coke & smoking weed.

Tonight he’s going out with Amy – they’re seeing a movie.  I’m so jealous.  I can’t believe it.  I feel a little silly, actually.  I mean – jealousy is so childish – so not who I am.  But I won’t be able to stop thinking about after the show – him taking her home & fucking her – although we made love all morning long – he got hard twice – but I’m so jealous – I hate it!  I hate it!  I know I sleep with Teddy every night but it’s not like it’s sexual – far from it.  I want him – I want him so badly – it’s gonna seem years until Monday morning.

When Pat said that we needed a decoy, I thought he was joking – I didn’t think he was actually going to get one!  I have to wonder – did he already have her in mind?

He says he loves me but how can he go out with another girl when he loves me?  I know that I had an affair with Jesse for years but that was different – Jesse was already married.  & Jesse has always made it plain that if he hadn’t already been married to Doreen, he would be with me.  Pat isn’t married – he’s never been married – at least, I don’t think so.  So why he is seeing another girl?  Does he really love me or is he just saying that?

Night.  I just finished rearranging my books.  It took me three days.  I don’t know why I started on this fool chore – I mean, I was tired of the way they were – but once I got started, I wished I had left them where they were.  1700 or so books taken off the shelves & rearranged is no small chore.  Yesterday I was in the foulest mood – except when Pat was here – tired, achy, dirty – wading through piles of books – both upright & knocked over – but it’s all over now – everything’s in place & looking nice.

But last night – standing in the middle of the giant mess – looking around at the chaos – I had to think – “Why did I do this?” – I think it’s a reaction to the messiness & chaos of my own life – the business with Pat & Teddy’s reaction to it – I can’t clean up my life as well as I can my books.  Or is taking all my books & rearranging them what I would like to do with my life?

***

Just about to take a shower.  My heart feels so heavy – I am so sad – so slow – I cannot find words to describe my feelings – I sit here, the pen on the paper – words flying by my brains like pieces of paper & old plastic bags flying by in the wind – a typical March day – warm, wet, overcast in that nondescript grey-white cloud cover that is the entire sky – no discernible sun – & I think about Pat’s face – overcome with joy as he makes love to me – smiling down at me like the benevolent suns I have been drawing since I was 16 – but there is no sun today – nothing.

I am so depressed I can’t stand it.

The day is grey but warm.  I’m dying to get out of the house.  I’m feeling better & better although I still cough a lot.  I have lots of studying to do which is what I plan to do today.  If only I could concentrate better.  Sometimes I find myself reading the same page over & over again.  Taking notes help.  Later on, I’m going to Pat’s to invite him over to dinner – leftover chili.  But I don’t know when to go over there – he could be still sleeping with Amy – they could be spending the entire day together.  I have never experienced this kind of jealousy before.  Why did he have to go out with her?  Was that really necessary?  I feel crippled with jealousy – where is the confident, self-assured Cori, who’s in control of her relationships & sees things as they are?  It’s like he sucked all the macho out of me & left only woman – soft edges & all – waiting by the phone – waiting, waiting.  Insecure & trembling.  Wondering if he’s true – if he means the words he says in the middle of love.  Knowing that the flip side of a salesman is a con artist.

The old pain exchanged for a new one.  But I’m hooked.  I need my fix – oh Pat – give it to me!

Might as well jump into the shower.  I really miss that huge bathtub back on Minnesota Ave.

***

I am already going nuts with Teddy home sick.  He is as grouchy as a bear.  I suppose I was grouchy too – these past few weeks – but I was alone most of the time – I wasn’t bitching at anyone but myself – I do struggle with myself – I struggle to stay gentle – I struggle not to snap at him – even though he tries my patience!  Sick or not, I am not going to stay here & wait on him all day.  I have books due at the library – I’m gonna walk there later & get some new ones – find something nice for Teddy to read – mail some letters – breathe in the cool spring air.

***

Reading my diaries.  Searching for answers – for clues.  Starting at the beginning – in 1978, when I first get to college – how I ramble on – what a fucking alcoholic.  But it reads real good – a lot better than I thought it would – that whole business with Jon – it took me such a long time to get over him – it affected every relationship I had after that – up to & including Teddy – talking about the “sun imagery” – Brady Devine & then Jon & now Pat – these guys with red-gold or blonde hair & big blue eyes – what is it about the sun that attracts me?  As opposed to the moon or any other celestial being?

Barrett was dark like the moon.  How strange – I hardly think of Barrett at all anymore. But I was crazy in love with him at one time.  Crazy like the moon.

Night.  Almost done with Shambhala by Chögyam Trungpa – Pat’s book – he was adamant that I read it.  Pat wants me to learn meditation – he talks about Buddhism all the time.  He thinks it’s what my life needs – the only thing my life needs.  He thinks it’s great that I’ve stopped drinking but says in the grand scheme of things that’s secondary to daily meditation & learning the Dharma.

I had a job interview today at Bell’s Supermarket today – I don’t think I got the job.

***

Teddy just left for work on the motorcycle.  We have been having unseasonably warm weather – in the 70’s – really beautiful but fucked up, too.

***

Jesse came over this morning & wanted to make love but I said no.  He was really surprised.  He was standing on the porch & I was just out of the shower – I was expecting Pat.  I wasn’t really sure what to say to Jesse – when have I ever said “no” to him? – when Pat drove up in his little Mitsubishi.  Pat got out & said, “Hey Jesse, how ya doing?” like it was the most natural thing in the world that Jesse would be there, standing on my front porch.   Jesse didn’t miss a beat – “Hey, just stopping by on my way to work to see if Teddy had any good smoke – maybe you do,” he said, giving me a look that told me he knew exactly what was going on.  Pat laughed & said, “Well, in fact I do but not on me, give me a call later.”  Jesse left.

I feel bad about Jesse but what the fuck – he’s married, he’s always been married, he’ll probably always be married.  Pat may be fooling around with Amy but that’s not legally binding & when push comes to shove – I’m the one who’s married.  Legally married.  To Teddy.

Oh my god, how did I get into this fucking mess.

***

Pat & I have decided to wait a year before we make any moves.  Although he wants me now – wants to sleep with me – wake up with me – have coffee in the morning with me.  But he isn’t financially able to share his life with me – or anyone else – he’s barely able to take care of himself. I mean – I know that’s why he’s here almost every evening – it’s to have dinner!  He may be in love with me but he’s also hungry.  I have to be honest about the whole situation. Pat’s like everyone else – he knows better than to try to pry me away from my lovely home & my beautiful cats & my devoted husband.  & Teddy has his flaws but he is devoted.  Other than that – we’ve just been going with the flow.

Also – I know he’s still seeing Amy.  I haven’t said anything about it because what can I say.  I’m married to Teddy.  But I’m really hurt.  I’m really hurt that in the mornings, he comes over here to make love to me after Teddy goes to work & he’s probably been with her all night.  Like he’s some kind of Buddhist sex warrior who can fuck numerous women & keep them all satisfied.

I love him but I have never been so miserable in my life.

Anyway – it’s been kinda an ongoing dialogue with Teddy & me.  He’s jealous of Pat – jealous that I’m in love with him – obviously joyously in love – when I’m not totally miserably in love – jealous that Pat & I talk all the time – about spirituality mostly – but also about poetry, music, art, culture, history, anthropology – subjects that Teddy can’t/won’t/doesn’t want to enter into – jealous of the whole thing.  But on the other hand – I have been more loving to Teddy – partly because being in love with Pat makes me love everything & everyone more & partly because I want to prove to Teddy that he’s not going to lose me or my love.

“Just don’t make any plans behind my back,” he said.

“I’m not going anywhere,” I said.

***

Waiting for Pat to return.  Waiting – he’s at least 2 hours late.  He was only going to take us to Wegman’s – no big deal – but I made myself look really nice – tight jeans, tight hot pink sweater, my “fuck me boots” – that’s what Pat calls them – all nicely made up – jewelry, cologne – boy, do I feel stupid.  Teddy’s mad at Pat – for standing us up – for standing me up – Teddy’s so sweet – he knows how I feel – he’s mad at Pat for disappointing me – for not showing up when I made myself pretty – oh, I feel stupid & silly.  Teddy is a wonderful husband – I am an undeserving wife –

***

I am absolutely beside myself.  It is pouring rain – Teddy just left on his motorcycle – he’ll come home with fucking pneumonia – but he didn’t want to call Pat or pay him $5 for the ride – I am still pissed about last night.  I feel so terrible I can’t believe it.  I know it seems like a little thing – but it’s the principle of the thing – I mean, can’t you at least stop by & say, hey, something’s up – I can’t take you, cya tomorrow?  Instead of letting us wait.  Me, sitting there like a fool.  My heart hurts.  It hurt last night – I haven’t been in such pain in a long long time – oh he cares about me – he certainly does – & he has quite an endearing way of showing it!  I can’t believe my eyes.  He’s here.

Later.  Pat wanted to know if Teddy needed a ride to work.  “He’s gone already,” I said.  “Well, can I have a cup of coffee?  I’ll roll one,” he offered.  “Well – ok,” I said reluctantly.  I couldn’t stay mad.  I never can.  Not when I’m in love.

“I suppose you believed his excuse for not showing up last night,” Teddy said later.  But it’s not a question of believing.  It really doesn’t matter to me.

***

Things are more fucked-up than ever.  I hardly know where to begin.  I’ve got a terrible migraine.  & a hangover –  & I’m totally beat-up – Teddy hit me! – my sweet Teddy-Bear!  I can’t believe it!  I’m sitting at Sammy’s Texas Hots – having a coffee & trying to eat some breakfast – waiting for Jesse to arrive.  I’ve been sick all night but I walked over here to meet Jesse – apparently he & Teddy talked things over & I’m supposed to talk it over with Jesse or something.  I don’t know.  Teddy wouldn’t give me any information & I don’t feel like talking to him anymore, anyway.  I woke up this morning & decided that it all had to end – one way or another.  All of it.  I don’t really care how it happens, either.  All I know is that I can’t go on like this anymore.

Yesterday started out like any other day – Teddy left for work like he always does – it was another gorgeous day, so he took off on the bike – I figured that Pat would be over like he always is, so I took a leisurely shower & made myself look really pretty – I was feeling really good & had music on & was singing & dancing & I really didn’t notice that it was way past the time when he should have been at my door.  But I was in a good mood & I had made a coffee cake so I wrapped up a few pieces & walked over to his place.  It’s only four blocks – not far at all – a quick walk – I’ve walked it a hundred times – but never without calling beforehand.

I didn’t think it would matter.  Cuz he loves me, right?  & he was supposed to be at my house anyway.  He probably just overslept.  Which was reasonable – right?

The door downstairs was unlocked & I walked right up to Pat’s apartment on the second floor.  I knocked on his door but no one answered so I let myself in.  I mean – it wasn’t locked, either.  I set the coffee cake down on the kitchen counter.  I was going to call out his name, but something kept me from doing that.

I was quiet.  I was cagey.   I was on guard.

I walked through the apartment.  I could hear – the sounds – the noises – of love – I didn’t want to hear but I knew Pat’s voice – I knew the sound – the low growl in his throat – when he’s about to cum – & I stood there, outside of his bedroom as he pounded Amy – who was being pretty damn noisy herself – & then I ran – ran, ran, ran, ran –

Of course – I went to Falco’s.  I wasn’t even really thinking about where I was going.  I mean – I could have gone home.  I don’t know why I didn’t go home.  I didn’t want to be alone – I guess that’s why I didn’t go home.  I didn’t want to be alone with the sounds of their lovemaking in my head.  I wanted to be in a bar – with the TV on & the jukebox playing tunes & people talking all around me.  I didn’t want to think.  & I didn’t want to drink – I was too upset – but I did drink – I was in a fucking bar!  & what else could I do?  Even with the TV & the jukebox & the other people talking, I still had the sound of Pat’s lovemaking to another woman out of my mind – I needed more than a few shots of Crown Royal & bottles of Labatt’s Blue to drown that out – before I could relax & have a good time.  & I did – for a while – oh yeah!  I had a really good time!  Mark Miles was there & Rolf Johnson & so many others – I was partying my ass off – laughing & singing & dancing – but by then I was so drunk – there wasn’t anything that was making me think of –  fucking christ – how fucked over I had been – not just by Pat but by every dude in my life – including Jesse – & I was thinking about this seriously – listening to Billie Holliday on the jukebox – hanging onto my bottle of Blue – I was beginning to nod out & even though I was singing along to the tunes – really – Anthony Falco called me a cab & shoved me into it & made me go home.  “Because I love you,” he said.  If he had known what I was going home to, he would have thought twice about that.  & I know Anthony – I know he would have thought twice – he would have thought three or four times – he would have never put me into that cab at all.

I got home & Teddy was already there.  I had no idea it was that late.  I was really drunk.  & ya know – I had done some lines of coke & some pills – I don’t even remember what.  It was that kind of day.  You know – your average get kicked in the guts & go out partying & do whatever is put in front of you kind of day.  & Teddy was pissed off – I mean, I’ve talking about quitting drinking & not drinking & going without drinking & actually not drinking for several weeks now & here I was, rip roaring drunk.  But I had a really good reason – right? – except I couldn’t tell Teddy that reason.  Except that I did tell him.  Cuz I so drunk I was unable not to tell him – I was so drunk – I had to tell someone.  & Teddy – he was my best friend, right?  He had always been my best friend, right?  Except now he wasn’t my best friend.  & I realized that he hadn’t been my best friend in a very long time.  He had only been my husband.   & really – not a particularly good one.

He told me:  I’m a slut – a whore – I’ve got a drinking problem – a sex problem – yeah, me – I’ve got the sex problem!  –  & I’m the worst wife in the world – me! – can you imagine! – with this immaculately house – my fabulous meals!   He went on: Because of me, we have nothing to smoke & no connection & he has no ride to work in the morning & everything sucks because of me.  Naturally I argued with him – I was drunk, after all – which is when he went completely nuts – slapping me across the face, which made me fly across the room into the filing cabinet.  I remember hitting it really hard & my mouth filling with blood.  I slid to the floor.  “Serves you right,” said Teddy.  I went to the bathroom & cleaned up the cut on my mouth – I thought I had maybe lost a tooth but they were all still there – but my mouth was already swollen & beginning to bruise.  I went to bed.

I wasn’t quite asleep – in that floating stage of not-sleep but not-awake – but almost passed out – when I heard something – it sounded like ripping pages – I got up & found Teddy totally destroying Pat’s books – the ones he had loaned me about Buddhism – & a few library books, too.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I had been raised to regard books as sacrosanct.  You treated books with respect!  “I feel better now,” he gloated.  “I feel like I’ve struck back at him.”  I thought he was a complete idiot.  I went back to bed – praying to the Goddess to help Teddy.  Praying to the Goddess to help me.

I was sick all night – getting up to throw up numerous times – but by the morning, it was all over.  Teddy was up before I was – he had coffee made & he was on the phone.  When he got off the phone, he told me to come here to Sammy’s to wait for Jesse.  That he’d been talking to him & that they had a plan.  I don’t know what that means.  He wouldn’t tell me.  He’s not talking to me.  The coked-up guy who would never shut up is not talking.  But whatever.  I still feel pretty sick but I’m trying to hang in there.  I must look pretty bad, because people look at me & look away.  Some people have walked into the diner & then walked right back out.

Here’s Jesse.

***

In Cleveland.  Hard to believe I’m here.  Everything happened so fast & while I don’t really believe in what I’m doing, it’ll help me buy some time until I do know what I’m doing.

That doesn’t make any sense.  But nothing makes any sense anymore.  Quite honestly, I don’t think anything has made any sense in a very long time but I was so determined to hold onto the patterns of everyday life that I didn’t see the unmanageability of my own life.

To continue the story I was telling yesterday – I was sitting in Sammy’s Texas Hot’s, trying to eat two eggs over easy with home-fries and a piece of ham with a cup of coffee with two creams and sugars & a tall Pepsi with lots of ice.  I was sick to my stomach & wanted nothing more than to go throw up but I was determined to eat my breakfast because I knew that I needed the sustenance.  But it wasn’t easy.

Jesse walked in.  For a moment, it was like it was 1983 again & I was flooded with feelings of love – like the first time I ever made love to him & I knew that I was his woman.  & I was confused – why did I go out & get wasted – because of Pat & Amy – if it was really Jesse that I loved?  Why should I care if Pat was making love to another woman?  What was the matter with me?

Jesse slid into the seat in across from me in my booth & gestured to the waitress.  “Coffee and a doughnut,” he ordered and lit a cigarette.  After he received his breakfast, he said, “Teddy thinks you’ve got a drinking problem & you need help.  & you also have a sex addiction.”

I burst out laughing.  “Yeah, right!  That from the dude who only wants it once a year!”

“His attitude is that if you really love one another, sex shouldn’t matter.”

“That’s a very convenient attitude,” I snapped.  “I don’t think you would put up with that shit.”

“No,” he admitted.  “But we’re not talking about me.”

I tried to eat some potatoes.  “So – what does Teddy think I should do?”

“He’s pissed off.  Right now he just wants you out of the house.  I think he’s gonna change his mind & miss you once you’re gone.  I think you need a time-out – ” he chuckled – “& you could definitely benefit from some rehab.”

“Oh – ok.  So I do have a drinking problem.”

“Well, according to Teddy, you haven’t been drinking these last few weeks – maybe a whole month? – which is great – you’ve been staying out of the bars & you haven’t been drinking at home – you’ve been making an effort.  So on some level, you must think that you, do, indeed have a problem.  & c’mon, Cori – ” he lit another cigarette – “you’ve always been a hearty partier.  You can drink almost anyone under the table & you do drugs with the best of ’em.  So don’t act like this is all Teddy’s idea, because you have been talking to Pat about this for a long time – that’s his hook – that’s how he gets all you babes – I’m not trying to hurt you, Cori, honestly – ” he took my hands in his – “he talks sobriety – but I would never call him sober.”

“Well, he doesn’t drink,” I argued.

“Well, that’s good,” Jesse agreed, “but I’ve partied with him plenty of times & he’s a major coke head if I’ve ever seen one.  & I’ve seen plenty of ’em!  & he’s a hustler & a con.”

“You’re jealous,” I accused.

“Let’s get out of here,” he said.  “You’re just pushing that food around the plate.”  He threw a twenty on the table & steered me out of the diner & around the corner to the side street, where his van was parked.  Once inside, he lit up a fat doobie & we smoked.

“Yeah, I’ve been jealous,” he admitted.  “What the fuck – that day I came over & you said no & then he drives up – that blew me away.  I know you’ve had other men here & there – ” I started to protest but he waved me away. “Get real, Cori, it’s who you are.  It’s how men react to you.  You can’t help it.  But this was different – I saw him go after you like you were a project.  I could have told you it was a con, but you never would have believed me – & maybe I hoped that it wasn’t a con – that it was the real deal & he was going to be the right guy for you.”

I was quiet, smoking the joint.  It was making me feel better – settling my stomach – calming my nerves.  “So – what do you & Teddy think I should do?”

“I called my father before I came here & he & your mom think you should go there for a little while – I think once they see your face, they’ll want you to divorce Teddy immediately, but that’s your choice – but they’ll want you to go to rehab & get sober & do all the stuff you were talking about anyway.  & regardless if you stay sober – that doesn’t really matter – just do it for now – you could use the break from all the chaos & when you go to make a decision about the rest of your life – to stay married to Teddy or not – at least you won’t be making that decision when you’re all fucked up on booze or coke or even weed.”  He started the van.  “So right now – fasten your seat-belt – we’re going to your house & you’re going to pack a suitcase – just a few things that you need – & I’m going to drive you to Cleveland.”

“You’re driving me to Cleveland?  Right now?”

“Yeah.  When we get to your house, just go in & get what you need & don’t say anything to Teddy – don’t prolong this.  Just in & out & we’re on the road.  OK?

But Teddy wasn’t there anyway.  I don’t know where he was, but I didn’t care anyway.  I didn’t bother leaving a note for him since I figured he knew where I was going.  I packed the small suitcase with my favorite clothes & a backpack with my current notebook & some favorite books.  My toothbrush, my razor & that was it.  Kissed the kitties good bye & I was gone.

***

I fell asleep on the way to Cleveland.  I was exhausted.  Jesse saw me nodding out & he said, “Go in the back – there’s a bunch of blankets back there – you’ll be more comfortable.”  I curled up on a bunch of old quilts that smelled like campfire & kerosine & went right out.  I was aware of the radio but that was it.  I woke up when I felt the van slowing down & stopping.  I sat up.  “I need gas,” Jesse said & got out of the van.  I got into the passenger seat & looked at myself in the rearview mirror.  I was a real sight!  My mouth was all swollen & bruised & I had a big bruise on my right cheek as well.  But I was feeling better.  My migraine was gone & I wasn’t feeling sick anymore.

Jesse got back into the van.  “Hungry?”

“Starving,” I answered.  He drove across the street to a McDonald’s & went through the drive-through.  I ordered a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, a large fry, & a Coke.  Jesse got a Big Mac, fries & a coffee.  Back on the road, we ate & then he fired up another doobie.  “This will probably be the last one you’ll smoke in a long time,” he said.

We smoked in silence, listening to the radio.  “Every Breath You Take” by the Police came on.  For the second time in the day, I flashed back to 1983 – when it was our song – when I would play it on the jukebox at The Canteen & Jesse would sit there, at one of those little round tables in the back, drinking a Jack & Coke – & even though there were other men in the club – even if the club was packed – the way he looked at me & the way I felt about him, it was like he was the only man in the club.  He was the only man – for a long, long time.

I started to cry, hearing the song.

& it occurred to me that I was repeating the past – going back to Cleveland after crashing & burning in Buffalo.

“C’mon, babe, don’t cry – it’s gonna be alright,” Jesse soothed.  I turned to him.   I was still crying but I calmed down since the song was ending.

“Is it?  Really?  How is it going to get better?  So I go to rehab somewhere & I get sober.  Big fucking deal.  So I’m sober & everyone cheers.  I have no more career, I have no job, no money, nothing.  I have a stupid little AS degree that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on – I need to upgrade every single one of my skills.  & I don’t want to be a fucking secretary anyway!  & I still have to finish my English degree – & what am I going to do after I do that?  Be a teacher?  Me?  Who the fuck is going to hire me? – & my marriage is over – if it ever was a marriage – I do love Teddy but how do you have a marriage without sex?  That’s just being roommates!  & I’m not interested in that.  I want a real fucking marriage.  & there’s never going to be anything with you – ”

“Now c’mon, Cori – ”

“What?  Am I to go on fooling myself?  That you’re going to eventually leave Doreen & live with me & be my old man?  & while I wait for this to happen, what am I supposed to do?”  I demanded.  “I want children, Jesse – that’s one thing I realized when I was seeing Pat.  That I want children very badly.  I don’t have a career as a stripper anymore & I don’t think I even want that back.  & I do want to get sober.”  Honestly – until that moment – I really didn’t know that I wanted sobriety.  But I knew – in a flash, really – that I wanted it.  I really did.  “I want to get sober – I want to finish school – I want kids – I want a decent man!  A real marriage!”

“Well, I think you’ll achieve all that,” he answered, “especially since you sound like you really want it.  But you’ll be back.  You always come back.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing the sober you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpts From a Diary 39

[Holidays, 1989-90]

[December, 1989]

I took a silver dollar from my bank & went to Falco’s. I thought, if I buy myself one beer & nurse it, maybe I’ll run into someone who’ll feel like buying some more.  Sure enough, Rolf Johnson was there – newly wed – not that marriage makes any difference to a guy like Rolf.  If that marriage lasts, I’ll be amazed.  I’ll be amazed if it lasts 5 years.

When I got home, Teddy was already there.  He had good news & bad news.  The good news was a 3-drawer filing cabinet for the office.  The bad news was that when he went over to our old place on Minnesota Avenue to get the messages, Paulie told him to get the phone out of there – because they’ve rented the apartment.  Whatever happened to selling the house?  I tell you, I’m not surprised.  I can just imagine what kind of third world wonders he’s got moving in there.  I mean – the place hasn’t even been painted.  It’s really a dump.  I’ve been in crack houses that look better than that place!  It just leaves a really bad taste in our mouths.  Teddy got everything out – we still had a few rugs there – but he forgot the maps on the walls – for booking parties – so we’re going back to grab them after he comes home from work.  I also discovered that my modeling portfolio is missing.   I hope no one’s home when we go – I want to run down cellar & look for it.  I mean – I’m sure Paulie took it.  Even if they’re home – I’m gonna look for it.  It’s mine – it’s the only portfolio I have – I don’t have any copies!  I’m so glad we got out of there!  What assholes!

***

Lying in bed – watching the Today show.  I feel so sick – my stomach is absolutely killing me – it’s really been hurting lately – could I have an ulcer? – or maybe it’s just the flu.  But it doesn’t feel like the flu.  It just hurts.  I get moments of nausea.  I feel so tired.  I took two naps yesterday & I was still falling asleep at 10 last night.  Maybe I’m just depressed.  I feel so fat & so ugly.

Mark says my poems are great but – Forethought Books doesn’t publish poetry or fiction.  Why the fuck not?  It seems to me that he could have told me that before I got my hopes up – but it is probably my fault anyway – for dreaming & not being business-like – I know better than that – oh well – he’s getting with me on Thursday.  Published or not, I need guidance.

Later.  Missy woke me up.  She wanted to play.  I chased her around for a while before I got into the shower.  I still feel lousy.  I haven’t eaten yet – I’m not hungry – I figure when I do eat, I’ll just have a poached egg.  I’m planning meatloaf for dinner – Teddy loves meatloaf & if I can’t eat it, I can store the leftovers – meatloaf never goes to waste.

I’ve got the Grateful Dead on.  I’m gonna read until “Perry Mason” comes on.  After that – there’s a movie I wanna watch – camped out here on the sofa with my books, notebooks, pens & a stomach ache.

***

It never rains but it pours.  The phone strike is over but we still have no phone.  The checks Teddy wrote to pay the bill bounced – & now they want the payment in cash & you can’t have a phone installed until your bill is paid – so now Teddy wants me to go to Anthony Falco & borrow the money.  He wants me to ask for $200 – to be paid back Saturday night after we work – but Saturday night’s job is only $135.  Teddy said “don’t worry” if we don’t have the whole $200 – “it’ll be OK” – but it won’t be OK – I don’t operate that way.  I’ll ask for $150 – which I don’t want to do anyway.  I am sick & tired of asking Anthony for money.  Personally – I don’t see why we have to pay the bill & get a phone today anyway.  We’ve been without a phone for so long – I don’t see what a few more days will matter.  I’m gonna have to call my regular clients anyway.  I wish Teddy wouldn’t put me into these situations!  I hate asking for money!  I just hate it!

On top of that – my cartridge ran out this morning.  Life sucks!  I’m so sick of being broke!

Later.  Well – in a much better mood!  I went & called NYNEX myself – it’s not NY Telephone anymore – & I set up new service – not one word was said about paying the bill – & since service won’t be on for at least a week – we can have the bill taken care of by then.  Also – I don’t have to go through the indignity of asking Anthony for money.

***

Watching a Marianne Faithfull movie – really dumb – really hokey 60’s bullshit.  I wanted to sleep in this morning but Teddy took so long getting out of here that I couldn’t get back to sleep once I got back to bed.  I got up & cleaned the house – changed the cat litter – took the garbage out – took a shower – cleaned the bathroom – put in a load of wash – later I have to go to Falco’s & get Anthony to cash a check for me – $200 from Uncle Joe.  I hope Anthony will – I’ve been over there several times in the last few days & either I’ve just missed him or he just got back from the bank or something.  It’s so annoying to have $200 & not have it.

Well – I should get ready to go out – it’ll take a while – so many layers to put on – hair & make-up – I really don’t feel like going out – that’s the whole problem.

***

Another full moon – I did a ritual this morning when I was alone & ended up crying.  I wish we had a phone!  It’s a week since I called the phone company – what’s the big hold-up?  It’s such a drag!  Meanwhile – my career is over – this coming weekend is usually a big party weekend – all that money I’m not making!  I could cry!

Our money woes are mounting.  We’re eating well & we have weed so I can’t complain but we’re already behind on the rent & we’ve only been here a short while.  Luckily all the other bills are small & easily taken care of.  The trouble is – it’s Christmas.  It’s just the wrong time of year to be out of a phone – out of work – & out of money!

Anthony couldn’t cash my check.  He says he’s gotten so many bad checks lately that his dad said, no more cashing checks.  God!  When it rains, it really pours!  Anyway – I stayed there drinking all afternoon.  Rolf stopped in – on his lunch break.  I said, “You come awfully far for lunch.”  “The bars are boring in Lockport,” he replied.  I could really fall for him.  He’s so arrogant – really an asshole – he makes me think of Napoleon – the way his lip curls – the way his eyebrows arch – his whole pampered rich boy attitude – the kind of jerk I’m famous for falling for – a different kind of macho – GQ macho – but strip off that suit & he’s the same as the rest of them.  Oh well – nothing will ever come of it – & just as well, too!

***

I am so depressed I hate myself.  I can’t stand feeling this this – so disoriented – so horny – so scared – so disgusted.  The realization that my career is over.  I have to start looking for a “real” job – & I have no desire whatsoever to do that.  The realization that I’m fat & ugly & getting old & have a giant zit on my cheek.  I’ve been putting poems together for the Just Buffalo competition but without the $25 entry fee, what’s the point?  Life sucks!  I could smoke a joint & make myself feel better but have so little, I really should conserve it.  I try to tell myself that there’s plenty of people with no homes & no food & no joints – I’m really lucky – I have my health – I have a loving husband & 2 beautiful cats – etc., etc. – but I feel hopeless anyway.

***

I feel terrible.  I barely slept last night – too much coffee after dinner – & Missy kept waking me up – & I was dreaming I was opening for Blaze Starr – I was dancing to “B-A-B-Y” & twirling my red skirts – oh well.  I woke up all congested & coughing.  I also feel a little nauseated – I can’t figure it out.  I’m supposed to get my period on Sunday – it’s probably just PMS – plus the usual depression – Teddy & I are both severely depressed.  He’s afraid we’re going to be evicted.  He tried calling his mother all day yesterday but she wasn’t there – god, what a drag – having to ask for help!  Goddamn Paulie!  What an asshole!  Knowing how we needed that phone & answering machine!  I bet no one’s moved in there!  I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out a way to get back – get revenge – some simple little revenge spell that wouldn’t rebound too badly – but all I can think of is the apartment on fire – & then I’m afraid I’ll end up watching my own place on fire – oh life sucks.  I feel sick to my stomach.

Later.  Danielle just left.  She brought a coffee cake & some real tasty weed – I only wish I felt better so I could appreciate it more.  I’m glad she came by – she left brochures from all the campgrounds they stayed at – all state parks.  She said it was a really good trip.  She also brought me a giant pine cone.

***

Noon.  I feel better today.  Not my cold – that’s still hanging in there – but my spirits are better.  It snowed a foot last night – it looks so excellent – the first thing I did today was shovel the driveway, the sidewalk, back to the garbage & the driveway next door – the old farts’ house – & their sidewalk.  Then I came in & ate & cleaned the house & then I was so exhausted that I laid down for a while.  I got up at 11 a.m. & took a shower, put a load of wash in & then put on my Christmas tape & danced & sang with Shadow – I put on a real show for my babies.  But it doesn’t take much to tire me out – I’m gonna take it easy the rest of the day.

***

Another workless weekend.  It really snowed Friday & Saturday – another foot, easily – I shoveled for several hours Saturday & really paid for it Sunday – massive backache.  Yesterday I baked a bunch of cookies & decorated them & did the same this morning.

Teddy got through to his mother – but no money.  He didn’t come out & ask her – just told her about our woes & she said she had sent a card – which led him to believe that there was money enclosed in it – which there wasn’t.  Oh well.  He should have just asked for help – instead of implying that we need the help.  When I asked someone for help, I don’t dance around the subject, I fucking nail it.  Anyway – he called the landlord & talked things over with him & I guess things are alright.  & I called Bonnie out at her tavern by GM & I’m working there next Friday – I can hardly wait.  Oh, if I only had one more job!  A Thursday night job – but I don’t know how it’ll even happen.  Hopefully, I’ll make good tips at Bonnie’s Tavern – I’ve got to!  I’ve got to!

***

Another depressed day.  These days are almost crippling.  I feel so lousy anyway – I have my period & a cold – I took some cough medicine & went back to bed this morning but Missy wouldn’t let me sleep – meowing, meowing – she wouldn’t shut up!  Oh, I know she wants to play – I just feel so awful – it’s so hard.  I have no appetite – although I know I’m hungry – I’d have an egg but we’re out of bread & what’s an egg without toast?

At least Pat will be over later on with some weed.

Afternoon.  I am beyond depressed.  A certified letter just arrived – from the landlord – stating that we owe $1100 & that if money owed aren’t received by 12/28, we’ll be evicted & taken to court.  I thought Teddy said that everything was alright.  I know that when he sees this letter, he’ll say – don’t worry, everything will be ok – he gets paid on Thursday & the whole check will go to the landlord & so will his next two checks – so all we have to worry about is eating.  & who needs to eat, right?  Also, we can get another loan from the Credit Union next month – he’ll tell me not to worry – things will be alright – but when?  When?  I just hate this!

I’ve been trying to write to take my mind off things but it’s so hard.  Writing about dancing just makes me depressed.  Writing about The Canteen – about dancing, drinking, drugs – about dollar bills stuffed in a g-string – oh, I miss it so!  Oh, those great Christmases of 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985!  Money to burn!  Drugs omega!  Lots of presents for everyone!  I feel so helpless now.  So weak & ineffectual.  So needy.  I keep trying to look ahead & be cheerful but I can’t.  I keep telling myself that we’re lucky to have each other – good food, weed, a nice place to live – things will work out – things will be fine!  & I know they will be fine!  But right now, they suck!

***

War with Panama.  I don’t think Brad is being sent – thank the Goddess!  How I hate these stupid wars!

I talked to Mom last night.  I wanted to ask for help but I knew she would never say yes so I didn’t.  She & Bob are stopping in on Christmas Day.  It’ll be the first time I’ve seen them since the reunion – a year & a half.  I was really depressed when I called her & I kinda wish I hadn’t called but I’m also glad that I did.  She gave me a lecture on “doing the right thing” – which I presume is not dancing & not doing drugs – which is out of the question now anyway – & it occurred to me that I’m almost 30 years old & she’s still lecturing me!! Oh well!

***

Bushed.  Teddy & I have been cleaning house all day.  This place looks great.  Every piece of furniture got polished!  Furniture got moved – every inch of carpet got vacuumed.  The blanket on the couch got washed.  The litter box got changed – all the mirrors were washed & wiped until they were completely streak-proof – the kitchen was scrubbed with steel-wool & a tooth-brush.  Right now, I have sweet dough rising – I’m making cinnamon rolls.  Later on we’ll have spaghetti & Italian sausage meat sauce.

Mom & Bob are stopping in tomorrow.  So are Henry & Mina.  I don’t think we’ll see Sue & Brad or Helena & Geoff & I don’t know about Rocco.  I hope so.  I have gifts for everyone.  Nothing great – just little things I made – small crocheted ornaments for the tree & things like that.  Mom & Jerry sent $100 & Mama & Bob sent a $50 Sears gift certificate.  All of the money I made at Bonnie’s went to the rent.   Anyway – yesterday we were really happy – out Christmas shopping – we bought the cutest kitty condo for Shadow & Missy – also stocking filled with cat toys & bizzy balls – plus I managed to get presents for everyone else – of which I am very proud – just little things but who cares? – It was so much fun just to be out & shopping – looking at all the decorations & the people.

***

Just ate the Christmas pizza.  So good!  It’s been a nice Christmas.  It was really great seeing Mom & Bob & everyone else.  They all loved our place.  & they adored the kitties.

The cats loved their toys – Shadow loves the kitty condo.  They were so funny – just like real kids – waking us up early – scratching at the living room door – then not being able to decide which toy to play with first – then playing with a vengeance – playing until they were so tired out they would hardly keep their eyes open but playing on anyway.  They’re so sweet!  They’re so wonderful!  Such adorable Christmas cats!

***

So far, a nice day.  I went out & shoveled this morning – boy, it is cold out there!  Are we having a real winter this year or what?  I’ve straightened up the house & put in a couple loads of wash & now I’m gonna work on my end-of-the-year lists.  Teddy’s at work of course.

***

Listening to Roy Orbison.  Sitting at my desk – looking out the window.  It snowed again last night – first thing this morning, I was out shoveling the driveway & the walk & sprinkling calcium chloride.  Out driveway is the clearest on the street.  Then I came in – took a shower – ate breakfast – straightened up the house – put in a load of wash – always wash to do – & packed away all my costumes.  Teddy will have a fit when I tell him – maybe I won’t tell him – but what the fuck – my career is over.  He’s always telling me that my career is not over.  But facts are facts.  We don’t have a phone & I have no idea when we’re going to get a phone.  & when we do get a phone, we’ll have a new number – so the number on my current card is now useless.  & even if we do get a new phone – whenever that is going to be – & I manage to get new cards – somehow come up with the money for that – there are hundreds of old cards floating around – so I would have to come up with a new picture & a new color scheme for the card – just to make it look radically different from the old card – so guys know which one is the good one.  & my modeling portfolio was stolen – so that means hiring a photographer & doing new shots – which requires more money.  & then of course – getting a new design & having more cards printed.  Teddy doesn’t think of any of this & if he does, he just thinks it’ll happen magically – the money will just appear or something.  It’s fucking over.  I know it is.  I have a party February 24 – but that’s so far in the future that it might not even happen anyway.  I mean, they might hire another dancer & decide they don’t want me.  That was happening a lot this summer.  So I’m not planning on anything.

Besides – I don’t want to dance 3 or 4 parties a night again.  That was just too much.  It was really cool – I mean – I was proud of the fact that I was physically able to do it – but after a few years of that pace, anyone would get burned out – & I’m burned out.  I can’t do all the coke I need to keep going & I can’t do it without the coke.  & I want weekends again.  I want to go camping – I want to go on picnics – I want to go to Cleveland to visit my family – I want to go to the beach.  I don’t want any more burned-out Saturdays & Sundays – so hungover I can barely function – pulling myself together so I can work the next party.  I don’t want to party all night long.  I don’t want to throw up every morning – all morning long.  & I don’t want to be crippled every Monday morning.

I’ve been working hard on my story.  It’s so slow.  I’m so slow.  If I do a little bit every day, I’m happy.  Actually – I do a lot better if I do just a little bit every day – rather than lots of work on day & then nothing more for several days.  Kinda like housework – do a little everyday – you never have a big mess to clean.

***

Jesse stopped by last night.  He got a quarter gram of coke from Pat & bought some weed – it’s really lousy but better than nothing.  It was really nice to see him

I’ve worked really hard this week anyway – I deserve a day off!  This house is a little messy – needs to be dusted & vacuumed – maybe I’ll get to it later.  Actually this place always looks nice.  I dust & vacuum almost every day – one day off doesn’t really make it a mess.

I’m sleepy.  Maybe I’ll join the kitties in a nap.

[January, 1990]

I feel great.  I slept until 11 a.m. – I couldn’t believe the clock when I woke up – I had so many dreams – so many messages – I am still trying to decipher them all.  You won’t believe who I was dreaming about – Pat.  Probably because the other night when he stopped by to do a coke deal he had a large bump on his forehead – I teased him about banging his head while he was banging that chick he’s currently seeing – & I couldn’t help but wish that I had someone to bang me so exuberantly.  Of course –  I’d never get involved with Pat – he’s a connection – our main connection – our only connection, really.  & you know what they say about love affairs with connections – lose the love, lose the connection.

It was a partying weekend.  Jesse scored a quarter ounce of coke from Pat – Pat’s been here a lot lately – & brought some hash oil & some truly unsmokeable weed.  It was the worst!  We got a sixteenth out of that deal – really nice – Jesse & Pat both hung out & partied for a while.  Pat doesn’t drink – he’s an alcoholic – he hasn’t had a drink in seven years.  Anyway – I find it fascinating – being able to party & have a good time – without alcohol.  I would love to be able to do that.

Teddy & I did up all the coke Saturday night – we were supposed to make it last all weekend – but as usual, that didn’t happen.  What is it about coke that makes you want to do it all until it’s done?  & then want more?  Even though you’re so wasted you couldn’t do more if you tried?

Ariana & her brothers stopped by & they partied too – they had coke too.  It was a really good time.  Ariana & Bernie have split up – she only married him because her father was dying & it was his dying wish to walk his little girl up the aisle & see her happily married.  But I don’t think Ariana was ever happily married to Bernie.  She’s living on the West Side now.  She’s come into an inheritance since her father died & she has a good job, of course – she’s able to support herself.  Something I have never been able to do – perhaps when I was dancing a few years ago – but of course, Teddy was part of the business – & if I had left him, I wouldn’t have had him as a business partner.  Of course, at this point, it’s debatable whether or not he’s actually an asset as a partner.

Anyway – on Sunday, I woke up feeling like shit – totally hungover – I was in bed most of the day – I got up when Jesse stopped by with some crank – man, that stuff stings the crap out of your nose! – He was supposed to come back with more but of course he didn’t & it didn’t matter – I’m even glad he didn’t – on Sunday night – New Year’s Eve – we drank champagne & ate pepperoni & cheddar cheese.  I woke up feeling great on New Year’s Day – the first time I have woken up on New Year’s Day without a hangover in 10 years!  From now on – I don’t drink at all – except at a stag – & who knows when I’ll be dancing again anyway – maybe I won’t drink until my birthday – maybe only until I lose 5 or 10 pounds – I’m not sure – I’ll decide later.  But I don’t want any more hangovers.  I also decided that I will only eat popcorn once a week.  I want to be beautiful by the time I turn thirty – thin, toned, in control & strong.

 

Excerpts From a Diary 37

[Summer, 1989]

[July]

We got home at 3 p.m.  Coming home on the Thruway, I got totally bummed out – cuz of all the Deadheads on their way to the Grateful Dead concert at Rich stadium – I really wanted to go – lots more than I thought I would – & when we got home – Paulie & Javier were just leaving – the whole house smelled like pot & they were meeting friends who had acid – they strapped beers to the back of Paulie’s bike – I was so depressed!  I really felt bad – even though the kitty-cats were so loving & so happy we were back – purring, purring, purring – & after a took a hot soapy bath & washed my hair – I did feel better – but the clincher is this – I finally got my period.  It was so late I was beginning to worry – yes, I’m on the pill but you never know – but anyway – it occurred to me that if I had gone to the concert, I would have gotten my period at the show & that would have been a complete drag – especially if I had been tripping.  So – talk about your silver linings – right?

***

Watching “Magnum P.I.” & smoking a joint.  We just ate cheese, pepperoni & crackers – we have a lot of that stuff leftover from camping.  We eat a lot more when it’s cooler.  We have $10 for tonight’s dinner but we probably won’t eat until later on.

I slept until 9:30 this morning – I could’ve slept longer but I was hungry.  We were out of bread so I went downstairs to borrow some from Paulie – he & Javier were partying – still tripping – Paulie gave me a cup of coffee with TripleSec in it & a fat joint & they preceded to tell me all about the concert – I must’ve gotten a contact high because soon I felt like I was tripping – later on – Javier went home & Paulie went to the store.  Paulie came back with beer & chops & got out the grill & cooked up the chops, covering them with a mixture of hickory-flavor barbecue sauce, steak sauce & Tabasco sauce.  They were killer.  After that, I went upstairs & watched “Kiss Me Kate” on TNT – unpacking & doing dishes during the commercials.  I’ve been out of it all day – I’m bleeding real heavy – really bad cramps – plus it’s a steamer of a day – I should have laid outside in the sun & improved my tan – but it’s too hot – too hot.  They’re predicting thunderstorms for tonight – I’m hoping for a really good storm – lots of thunder & lightning – especially lightning.

***

Just had a great dinner – fried haddock, ranch fries & coleslaw – all from the Bailey Fish Market – on the corner of Bailey & LaSalle.  It was really good.  We gave bits of fish to the cats – who thought it was really good, too!  Now we’re watching the evening news & smoking a joint.  We picked up a really nice bag from Patty O. – only 2 grams short.  Remember Patty O?  From Cleveland?  He’s living here in Buffalo now & selling weed & coke – & cars – that’s his straight job.  I was so surprised to see him.  He seems to know everyone everywhere he goes.

We’re not working tonight – & not doing any blow – unless Jesse’s man comes up with something – but we’ve been waiting 2 days already – Jesse said the dude is beginning to flake out.  That’s the way it goes.  I can’t tell you how many connections we’ve gone through – it always goes the same way – when the connect is new – everything’s great – the lines on the mirror are thick & long – the bags are overweight – he’ll front you a gram, two grams, an 8-ball – he’s in a great mood all the time – he will tell you that he doesn’t snort coke himself – he’s into it “for the money”.  As the weeks/months progress – or digress, ha ha – the guy starts to party more – & the bags start being underweight – & he won’t front you anything anymore – cuz he’s most likely in debt to his man – there’s smaller & smaller lines on the mirror – until they disappear altogether – & then he does.  & then you have to find a new connection.  That’s why you always have to have more than one connection.  It happens like that – with a few variations – every damn time.  Anyway – we’re not partying tonight – not with coke, anyway.  We have joints – & tortilla chips & salsa – & I can & probably will make some popcorn – it’ll be a nice, quiet evening.  Meanwhile – I’m all ready to go – in case a party calls – you never know.

***

Hot.  Sultry.  Supposedly stormy but not yet – it’s clear now – totally clear – it looked stormier this afternoon.

Working hard, hard, hard.  Working on the story – doing a new inventory of books.  Tomorrow I’m going to the downtown library to get another load of books & study reference books I can’t take out.  It’s supposed to be cooler tomorrow – I hope so – the outfit I’ve picked out will be uncomfortable if it’s anything like today – but I should be home by noon at any rate.

***

Raining.  Thunder & lightning.  The windows are closed – the fans are on.  It’s hot – it’s summer – that’s for sure.  But nowhere as hot & humid as last summer – not yet anyway.  Up until today, it hasn’t been humid – just hot.  Well – not since the holiday.

I’ve been working hard – inventorying my books – a slow job – working on the list of names & numbers – writing – housecleaning – closet cleaning – booking parties – creating new outfits.  I’ve been feeling wonderful – not my body – my back & my knees are as bad as ever – but my head is good – I’m happy – unexplainably happy – must be this 6 year – I am just so happy playing with my books – my cats – slowing getting stuff written – sleeping a bit more – maybe – maybe my sleeping is just a higher quality than before – the only problem I’ve had recently is a migraine headache last night – put me to bed – & a foggy feeling this morning – I need an adjustment!

***

Hot, hot, hot – & humid.  Steamy is the word.  It was 74 at 7:30 this morning!  It’s supposed to go up in the 90s today – yuck!  No housework today.  I dusted & maybe I’ll vacuum but it’s already so sultry that all I want to do is sit in front of a fan & read.  I’ve closed the curtains to keep out the light.  Where we don’t have curtains, I’ve hung sheets.  I’m gonna stay cool no matter what.

***

The trick is to get up early & get as much done before it gets too warm – which is now – & then stay immobile the rest of the day – sleep through the afternoon – & then resume work in the cool of the evening.  Not that the evenings cool off much.  Every day, they’ve predicted thunderstorms & rain but it’s held off.  Watch – it’ll be pouring Friday night – when I have 3 parties to do.  I hate this weather!

Totally upset.  No joints – maybe later on – but I feel awful – I swear – food doesn’t digest correctly if I don’t smoke a joint after dinner – the shrimp & French fries I ate feel like rocks in my belly – I feel like shit.  Teddy & I have been bickering all evening.

***

Still no weed.  Pat’s an asshole.  We’ll see him tonight – he’s supposed to be dropping off some coke – but that won’t be 10 or later – probably later – Pat’s always late.  We feel better than yesterday – who could feel worse – besides it’s cooler & a little less humid – it’s windy & looks like it could pour any second – but it’s looked like that all day.  I got a lot done today – inventory, housecleaning, laundry.  I’m dying to smoke a joint – but I guess I’ll have to wait.

***

Noon.  Sleepy.  Menstrual blues.  Teddy’s home from work with a cold.  I got bitten Saturday night – what’s wrong with these guys? – right inside the top of my leg – right into a muscle, which is probably why it hurts so much – it’s totally black.  I’m just gonna hang out with Teddy & watch TV – read, sleep & throw the Tarot – I’m gonna try every spread I have – just for the fun of it.

Evening.  I’ve been throwing the Tarot & trying out different spreads & drawing diagrams of spreads all day – except, of course, when I had to make dinner – & when I took my afternoon nap.  I’m beat – but tomorrow I’m gonna do more – I have lots more spreads to try out.  Besides it’s so much fun.  You can’t help thinking of poems & stories & characters when you handle the cards.  They tell me stories.  The ideas go round & round in my head.  Meanwhile – I study, I learn, I think about everything.  I am not ready yet to use what I know.  But soon – soon I will know what to do & how to do it.

[August]

Teddy didn’t go to work again today.  Now both our throats are sore.  We slept until 11 a.m.  I got up – made coffee – took a bath & did my hair – cleaned the cat box – got the garbage together & took it out to the curb – & now we have steaming cups of coffee & a fat joint – regardless of our throats!

Afternoon.  Watching a really dumb Eddie Cantor movie called “Kid Millions” – with Ethel Merman, Ann Sothern & George Murphy – dumb plot but good tunes – actually no plot.  We’re just eating breakfast – cheese omelette, bacon & rye toast.  Now an afternoon of dumb movies, joints, tarot cards & naps.

A hour later.   The phone just rang.  Teddy was in the bedroom sleeping & I was dozing on the couch & I let the call go to the machine.  I heard this fantastic piano track – it was a song I didn’t recognize – I could pick up some of the lyrics – “so baby give me one last kiss – & let me take one long last look – before I say good bye” – & something about “the end of the innocence” – the piano sounded like Bruce Hornsby but it’s so hard to tell on the machine – oh well – the message is clear.  I’m just glad Teddy is sleeping.  I half expect to see Jesse trolling around the block.  He’s got to see Teddy’s truck parked out front.  But of course he can’t send music to my answering machine & drive by my house at the same time.

Night.  I just put Teddy to bed.  He’s been sleeping all evening anyway.  I’ve been busy copying Tarot spreads from the notes in my diaries & the New Feminist Tarot.  I see it’s gonna take me a long time to try each one out – but I’m gonna do it.

***

Teddy went back to work this morning & I went back to bed.  I felt guilty for maybe thirty second before I fell into a dreamy sleep.  I didn’t sleep long but I felt a lot better when I when I woke up.  The light was on the machine when I walked into the dining room.  I rewound the tape & played it.   “All She Wants to Do is Dance” played on the answering machine.  I had to laugh – the man does not give up.

I called Jesse.  He took the day off from work to collect rents.  He wanted to know if I wanted to meet for a drink.

“Sure,” I said.

***

I just came in from the porch.  I didn’t really feel like laying in the sun but I was beginning to look rather sallow – so I kinda had to – it’s always better to look golden when you’re taking off your clothes in front of a room of drunk men.  Plus – the right set of tan lines can be very slimming.  Which I kinda need lately – the way I’m eating & drinking.  I can’t keep the pounds off like I used to.  Although part of me likes me a little more rounded.

***

I had the most delicious dream about Pat.  He & Paulie had painted our living room blue – ceiling & all – & we were all drinking beer & smoking joints.  Paulie went downstairs to get more beers & I went down on Pat – I remember perfectly the shape & largeness of his dick – & the wonderful taste of it – & his glistening semen.  & I remember perfectly how after he came – he cupped my breasts in his hands – & kissed them again & again – until I woke up – too soon –

***

I have a lot to do today – housework, laundry, inventory, writing – running to the Credit Union to pull some money out of the account – always so much to do –

Added to my mixed-up emotions is the fact that Pat is here today to help Paulie paint the house.  I guess Paulie is paying him.  & I just had that dream about him!!

I just spent the last hour talking to Pat – I told him my dream – just looking into those large blue eyes – I was falling in love – I asked him about how he was able to party without drinking – he said he just didn’t want to drink.  “It isn’t necessary,” he told me.

The last time I got sober, it was total abstinence.  But maybe there’s another way?  Maybe I can just stop drinking – & keep smoking weed.  I know once I stop dancing, there won’t be any money for coke & I really don’t mind giving that up.  Maybe just for special occasions.  Holidays or birthdays.

Afternoon.  Jesse just called.  I’ll see him tomorrow – honestly, I don’t know if it’s Jesse who’s buying from Pat or Pat who’s buying from Jesse but the center point of the two is Teddy.  I’m just trying to stay balanced.  But feeling so good – so alive!  Then Teddy called & told me that he’s been thinking about me all morning – am I loved or what?  Who could ask for anything more?

Sitting in my office – the Dead on the tune box.  Outside – Pat & Paulie are painting.  Inside – I’m wet & wild & dreaming – dreaming of big fat cocks & a man with big blue eyes pushing it into me.  Oh – whisper my name – just once!  I’ll be there – I’ll be right there – waiting for you to cum & cum & cum again.

Evening.  I went outside & hung out with Pat for a while – Paulie was on the tope scaffold.  Puns – very bad puns – & dirty jokes were flying all around – Paulie was calling Pat “Norton” – which is wild, cuz I’ve always thought of Paulie as a Puerto Rican Ralph Kramden – Cindy is certainly Alice – anyway he had some weed so we came upstairs & smoked a fat joint – Paulie thought we were looking for something to stuff a bird’s nest hole so he stayed out there painting – anyway, we smoked this joint & talked – told bad back stories & Grateful Dead stories – & the sexual tension was out of sight – it was great – I love that tension – sometimes I think the tension is better than the release – & I’m gonna let this tension grow & grow & grow – cuz I got the feeling that the release is gonna be fantastic.

***

Well – I got totally smashed yesterday.  I got home after Teddy did & we had a major argument – I ended up admitting that I was with Jesse – not that there was anything to tell – all we did was drink & talk & sing off-key – but of course, Teddy was really upset & hurt that was I was with Jesse.  But whatever.  Nothing to do but try harder – be more loving with Teddy – make up for being such a shit yesterday.  I mean – it’s not like I did anything – Jesse & I do more talking about sex than having sex – usually we just get wasted.  But I guess that’s enough.

***

Oh, I’m so upset!  Teddy is such a jerk!  I suppose I shouldn’t have lost my temper with him – but he pisses me off!   I’m tired of him not listening to me – I’m tired of his stupid lectures!  Oh – I wish he’d call back!  He drives me nuts!

I’m watching “Show Boat” – the 1951 version with Ava Gardner – I saw the 1931 version a few months ago – they’re both great – I have been in tears all afternoon – I could play Julie – I could be Julie – “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man of Mine” – it could be the story of my life.  & that other song she sings – “Bill” – oh, I love that song –

Later.  Teddy’s home & we’ve smoked a joint & are now fine & mellow.  I made up a shopping list & sung him some songs from “Show Boat”.  We’re going to the store after I finish my beer.

***

We went to the Erie County Fair today.

Tonight is the full moon.  A full lunar eclipse – which we on the east coast will be able to see – for the first time since 1982 – if only the clouds clear!

Night.  Smoking our last joint.  Downstairs – Paulie & Pat are burning the old paint off the house – a very distinctive smell – I went out on the porch & flashed my pussy at them.  Teddy is reading his Disney book.  “Murder She Wrote” is on – it’s placed in Seattle – at a university that could be Becky’s – in a street scene, I saw a storefront with the sign – “Sacred Circle Gallery” – it must be so nice there!   Downstairs – they’re blasting Janis Joplin – “Summertime” – this could be a movie I’m in – sure does seem like it sometimes – anyway – I always like hearing Janis.

9 p.m.  There’s a ridge of clouds to the east but you can see the bright light through the wispy edges.  It’s clear above.  Soon the whole sky will be lit.

9:15 p.m.  The skies have cleared & the moon is full, full.  Bright & shiny.

9:45 p.m.  The moon is half-obscured.  Really impressive.

***

Sitting on the porch.  Wonderful hot afternoon but lovely cool air – actually no humidity & a lovely breeze – I’m filled with joy – an amazing full joy.  I can’t explain – visually I’m not tripping – but emotionally I am.  Late summer joy!  I wish I was camping!

***

Stomach flu.  Depressed.  No money – no weed – no beer.  A weekend spent down in Lackawanna – after we were doing so well for so long!  Parties cancelling – people being assholes on the phone – petty arguments with Teddy.  Over it all – a constant pain in my belly – it feels so tender.  Always sleepy but I can never sleep – my mind never shuts off – never leaves me alone.  Sometimes I wish I were a bit of fluff.  Sometimes I think life would be a lot easier.

Evening.  We’ve been arguing all evening.  We’re pulled tighter than a bowstring ready to release – I feel so awful.  I’m so sick of never having any weed.  Why is it always so dry around here?  I know it isn’t in other parts of the country.  It isn’t fair.  On the news all you hear is “The Drug Problem” – what drug problem?  The only drug problem I’m aware of is there’s not enough to go around.

***

At last – the end of the week.  This was the longest week I’ve ever lived through.  It was a drag!  Tonight we have one party – tomorrow, three – maybe four – no cocaine all weekend – I mean, there’s no way we can afford it.  Teddy really fucked us but good last weekend!  Oh well – that’s water under the bridge I suppose.

***

Getting things ready for camping.  We’re leaving Tuesday, after Teddy gets home from work.  I can hardly wait to go – I need a break – I need to get away – get into the woods – away from the everything – all the assholes – all the stupid parties – everything – everything!

All the disappointments – lately – all the let-downs.  Oh, this weekend will drag like molasses!

***

I woke up with such a pounding headache – another migraine – or maybe it’s just allergies – I feel like cement’s been poured into my head.  Last night, we got fucked over on another job – this happens so often now I almost feel like I’m being hired because guys know I’m reliable & then try to hire another girl & just use me if they can’t get someone else.  It’s like my good reputation is working against me.  Anyway – last night the guy who hired me told me that because I hadn’t gotten there at 10:30 “on the dot” – that guys had left & they couldn’t pay me my full amount – which didn’t make sense of course – & being me I said so – I said, “What, they left & took the money they had paid to get in?  Because the dancer wasn’t here?  Even though they ate & drank?” – He said yes! – Fucking liar!  I couldn’t believe it – smiling & lying to my face like that – I mean, what kind of bimbo do they think I am?   I said, “That’s not how it works & you know it!”  I was pissed.  Teddy stepped in – “Just so there’s no hard feelings, we’ll leave,” but of course that’s what they wanted anyway.  They probably had another girl coming & didn’t want us intersecting.  As I was leaving, someone pressed $40 into my hand & said, “Thanks for showing up anyway.”  At least there’s still a few gentlemen in the world.

***

Busy.  Packing to go camping – we’re leaving tomorrow when Teddy gets out of work – today I’m doing laundry – packing all the clothes – all the non-perishable food – books, games, etc.  When Teddy gets home, we’re going to get wood & then we’ll pack the trailer.  Tomorrow I’ll make tuna-mac salad – Teddy’s favorite – & finish cleaning the house – & do some writing.  When he gets home, he’ll take a quick bath – I’ll have already taken mine – while I load the coolers & pack the last minute items.  I’m dying to go.  On Saturday night, I worked 3 parties – without coke – & it was the first day of my period, too – so I got drunk – & Teddy & I had a giant argument on the way home which continued at home & into the next day – he wasn’t going to go shopping for the trip but I managed to persuade him to anyway – & shopping put him into a better mood – me, I was hungover & just as soon have done it some other time – except there really wasn’t any other time – I had to get sick twice at Wegman’s.  I came out of the stall after puking & this lady was there giving me this look so I said, “I don’t know if I can do nine months of this,” & her expression softened & she said, “Oh you poor dear” – am I bad or what?

Well – I gotta get back to work – lots to do today.

***

Teddy’s gone already – off to an early start – so he can get out of work as early as possible – which won’t be any earlier than 3 p.m.   After we finished loading everything up, we have to run over to Jesse’s house for the half o.z. he dropped off last night – I knew Jesse would come through!  Everything’s fallen into place.  We blew off getting a bottle of Kahlua – as well as a few other things – to save money – we still have Kahlua in the bottle from the last camping trip – I wish I hadn’t hit on it so much these last few weeks!  Oh well – it’s still gonna be a great trip!

***

Sampson State Park, Romulus, N.Y.  Up early!  Turned on the Today Show to get the weather report.  We can only get 2 stations here – both from Elmira-Corning.  That’s ok – we don’t plan to watch much TV here anyway!  We went to bed early – no later than 10:30 – we were beat!  It was really hot & humid last night – by the time we got here – got set up – & ate a couple of hot dogs – we were really tired.  We didn’t even start a campfire.

We’re on site #169 – great numbers – reduces to 7 – & there’s large old oak tree here.  Most sites were filled – we were really bummed out.  But then we found this one – such good vibes here!

The first joint of the day has been smoked – time for walnut meltaway & cups of coffee!

***

A perfect day.  Riding – boating – eating – drinking – smoking – now listening to “Old & In The Way” – throwing the Tarot – I couldn’t leave my cards at home, could I?  I dream all the time about the people in the Tarot – they have become people I know – in my own life & in the life of the Tarot.  I think in terms of the Tarot.

[September]

Cold & stormy.  Raining & windy.  Seneca Lake is dark blue – chopping – filled with appearing & disappearing white-caps.

I keep hearing acorns hitting the roof of the trailer & tumbling off.  & the sound of raindrops.  I love the sound of the rain on the canvas.

I put Don Henley on.  “The Boys of Summer.”  “I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun – ”   – Who can I see?  Today I’m thinking about Donovan Murphy – “Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac – ” – of course, there’s a Deadhead sticker on our truck – Teddy’s & mine – Teddy, who is sitting right next to me & munching on Cracker Jacks & reading Nashville Babylon.  Every now & again, he’ll tell me some tidbit.  We smoke joints, munch out & read.  Maybe later, we’ll play backgammon – maybe even Yahtzee or Gun Rummy – & most likely take a nap – what else do you do on a rainy day camping?

***

We’re making some burgers.  We forgot to have dinner!  It’s been a gorgeous day – warm, sunny – we had a wonderful time – ended up by fucking – the first time since Labor Day last year – & then sleeping for over 2 hours! – took a long time to wake up, too.  Anyway, we smoke some joints & took a cruise – watched the sun set over Seneca Lake – then made a camp fire – when I realized – “Gee, we never had dinner!”  “No wonder why I’m so hungry,” Teddy said.  We laughed.

***

Another lovely day.  Not so warm as yesterday, perhaps – a bit more windy.  We went for a cruise this morning – stopped & bought a half a dozen donuts.  We just finished breakfast sandwiches– fried eggs with Canadian bacon & melted American cheese & fried onions on a roasted & buttered English muffin– really excellent.  Now we’re inside the camper – Teddy is cleaning roaches.  We’re getting low on everything – weed, money, beers, food.  But that’s alright – we’re going home Tuesday morning anyway.  Needless to say – part of me can’t wait to go – I’m homesick & I miss my kitty-cats so much!

Afternoon.  Just woke up.  Teddy’s still sleeping.  It’s probably the hottest part of the day – right now.  You can hear the drone of the boats on the lake.  I’m drinking a beer – oh – Teddy just woke up.

Evening.  I have been dreaming about Pat – I can’t believe how often.  Someone I was with – once – a long time ago – so long ago it’s almost like we were never together – I’ve changed so much from the girl I was in 1980.   & I may never be with him again – I don’t know what the future holds.  He’s stopped by a few times – but of course just as many times – if not more – he’s here to sell weed or coke to Teddy or Paulie – or to paint the house – he’s painted far more of the house than Paulie has.  I know he wants me – he knows I want him.  He admits he’s playing hard to get.  I admit that I don’t mind.  It’s so tough – having a husband & a lover – too tough.

But it’s really tough having a husband who only makes love to you once a year.

Why do I need this?  I don’t know why but I do.  I’m not so sure that I really want to change, either.  But sometimes change is imposed upon you & there’s no other way – like trying to stop the phases of the moon or the turning of the earth upon its axis.

***

People are pulling up stakes – folding or rolling up sleeping bags – pulling out jacks & going home.  The people across the street were gone by 8 a.m.  The one guy was really attractive – a big guy, a little stooped – must have a bad back – curly hair, mustache – definitely not poster material but there was something about him – he had to be a Taurus – at least a Taurus rising or moon in Taurus – he had those bovine good looks.  A real nice ass, too.

Anyway – we should have this place to ourselves tonight.  We’re almost out of cash – we’re almost out of everything.

Afternoon.  Sitting by the lake on a log that obviously was once driftwood.  It a beautiful day – not a cloud in the sky.  Lots of sails on the lake – windsurfers, catamarans & sailboats – they look so pretty.

I don’t want to leave – but I’m so homesick at the same time.  Always two things going on in me – always conflict.

***

All packed up & ready to go.  Just smoking our past joint.  Teddy’s gonna roll up two roaches while I break the circle I cast last week.  Then a quick pee & we’re off.

We have to stop in Geneva & stop at the bank – at the Bell’s supermarket – & return our bottles – that’s how broke we are.  That’s life.

Night.  Home again.  We got here around 1:30 – Teddy ran downtown to get money from the credit union – then we ordered a pizza.  After we ate, we took a nap – the kitty-cats with us – they really missed us!  It is so nice to be loved the way they love us.  I woke up when Shadows started licking my lips – that rough tongue will wake anyone – oh, I hugged & kissed them a thousand times!  I missed them so much!

I’m real glad to be home.  I’ve already booked a party for Saturday.

Later.  We just got back from an excellent ride on the bike.  We had to go out to Jesse’s for another quarter o.z.  So then we stopped at Imperial Taco & Burrito for a quick bite & at Wilson Farms for some groceries.  It’s a really beautiful night.

Teddy doesn’t have to go back to work until next Tuesday or Wednesday.  We’re going to ride a lot – go on day trips – do the things we’ve wanted to do & never have to time or the money to do – play putt-putt – repot the plants – go to Zoar Valley – etc.  Teddy is still moaning that he wishes that we were still camping but I’m so glad we’re home.

***

3:25 p.m.  We just got back from a cruise to Darien Lake State Park – it was closed – & we were going to go to Evangola State Park but it started to rain so we stopped in at Alton’s for a truly horrible lunch & now we’re home again.  I feel so fatigued.  Lately, it seems all I want to do is sleep.  But I can’t get to sleep or I do sleep but I get woken up too soon, too often – I can’t sleep for more than an hour or two at a time.  It’s really a drag.

I feel mildly depressed – I feel fat & ugly – & I hate my hair.  I guess that’s life.

***

Just finished cleaning the house.  Did some laundry – finished another book on the Tarot – made an old outfit into a new one – what else?  I have been dying to party.  You know – cocaine blues.  Darryl just called – we could go into debt tonight – but oh well – it just can’t be done.  I’ve got three parties tomorrow & one on Sunday – so we’ll get a little bit tomorrow night.  I’m gonna take a bath in a little while & then make dinner.  We’ll take a cruise on the bike tonight – we would’ve gone somewhere today but until about an hour ago, it looked like it was going to pour.  Later on, we’ll stop in at Falco’s.

I guess I’ll go mix myself an afternoon cocktail.

Evening.  I was doing a Tarot reading & the phone rang – I was engrossed with the cards & I let the machine get it – nobody spoke & in the background, I could get the chorus of “The End of the Innocence” – I had been looking at the Strength card & thinking about recovering from addiction & if being with guys like Jesse was an addiction & then the phone rings – does he have emotional radar or what?  Maybe he really does have locks of my hair – maybe he really has me in bondage – but wouldn’t the Devil card be more apropos?

I was wondering why my relationship with Teddy isn’t more rewarding.  The II of Cups card came up & the meaning is “deep love affair or spiritual union” & “relationship with a kindred soul” – & I always think – Who is that person? Who? – Why can’t it be Teddy?  Oh, we’re alike but it’s not like he’s a poet or a musician or artist or something obviously creative.  Maybe that’s why I’ve never really taken the relationship seriously.  I know that sounds terrible & it isn’t easy admitting it.  But it’s got to be true – I love him so very much – but it’s our major difference.  That & sex.  But sex is a creative act – so maybe that’s how it ties in.  I do love Teddy – terribly so – & I don’t want to live without him.  But I want a resolution.  Is it possible?

Another card that came up was the Queen of Swords, in this case reversed –  it was in the position which told of the  “Intellect & working life of the Querent” – which would be me, of course – “A woman lacking in compassion – sharp – jealous – a woman absorbed in patriarchal modes & values – ruthless.”  Am I ruthless?  I guess so.  I go for what I want & I get it.  Usually, anyway.  But I wouldn’t say I lack compassion – I really wouldn’t.  &  – as a stripper – I can’t help being absorbed in patriarchal modes.  After all – the whole marriage scene – the engagement parties, stag parties, showers, the entire wedding production – the rehearsal dinner, the wedding itself, the reception, the honeymoon – it’s all a celebration of patriarchy.  I think I do the best I can to maintain my feminist ideals.  It’s not easy – I admit that.  & I do admit that I’m tough – I’m very tough.  I can be sharp – I can be a primadonna – I can be a bitch.  Sometimes I have to be – they don’t have any respect if I don’t act like that.  They’ll walk all over me if I’m sweet & nice & retiring.  I do admit that I’m bitchy more than I ought to be or even like being.  I could say that I had to become this way because of the business I’m in but not only is this not true but it isn’t even a valid excuse.

“The Heart of the Matter” – the Queen of Cups – another part of me – ya know – I always pick the Queen of Pentacles as my significater – if the spread demands one – cuz I identify with her most closely – the earth & money & creativity.  But I identify with all the Queens – I am all the Queens.  Anyway – the heart of the matter is the Queen of Cups – the Queen of Hearts – which is what Jesse always called me – probably because of that line in “Desperado” – “Don’t you draw the Queen of Diamonds, boy, she’ll beat you if she’s able, The Queen of Hearts is always your best bet” – Anyway – The Queen of Cups is the emotional, romantic, poetic, sentimental, yearning, wanting to be heard part of me – the other side of the Queen of Swords.  I would love to be the Queen of Cups but I have to be the Queen of Swords.  I don’t want to – but I made my choice – I chose Teddy – I chose stripping as a job – as a way to make a living – which means I have to be a Queen of Swords & not a Queen of Cups – & I chose stripping for very practical reasons – Queen of Pentacle reasons – for money – which is really ironic, when you consider than I never have any money – anyway – the Queen of Cups is very strong in me – no matter how many times the Queen of Swords may cut her down, she always grows back.  & because of the choices I’ve made, I’ve had to deny her – sacrifice her – silence her.  & ya know – it just ain’t working.  She wants to be heard – she wants to live – to grow – to thrive.

***

Depressed.  Striving to stay cheerful.  I had three parties last night & two cancelled – we spent all our money on coke – I have a party tonight but $100 goes to Jesse & $50 to Doug – leaving nothing for us – unless I make a lot of money in tips.  Oh, I’ve got to!

The stress of living like this is really getting to me – my stomach aches continually – I just don’t know what to do.  I’m gonna apply at AM&A’s & Berger’s downtown for a part-time position – not that either of those places pay much – but I’ll feel a little better.  I could make lots more as a barmaid but – let’s face it – bars are not good for my health or my marriage.

I’m going nuts.  I feel like I’m being crushed by debt.  I can’t even afford to buy typewriter cartridge.  What kind of writer can I be without a typewriter?

Well – might as well pop a couple of Rolaids & put on my make-up.  Try to stay cheerful – anyway I can.

***

We are starting to talk of moving.  There’s been a “House for Sale” sign in the window downstairs.  I asked Cindy about it & she said Paulie wanted to sell it after he finished painting it.  Paulie has been really pricky to us – overnight he has turned into a total dickhead.  It’s funny how throughout the last 8 years that I’ve known Paulie, I’ve seen him lose every friend he’s ever had, so now it’s my turn.  I know what it is – I refused to have sex with him this month when we were late with the rent.  I just don’t want to do it anymore – I feel like such a whore – I guess it was when Pat started hanging out all the time – painting the house – & Paulie would come up & want to do me & I didn’t want to with Pat right there – that’s when all the problems started.  Hanging out with Pat & talking about AA & Buddhism & women’s spirituality & religion & – I guess I’m getting prudish in my old age but that’s the way it is.  So now Paulie’s being a prick & apparently we’re going to have to move.

I mean – that’s life.  Paulie hasn’t been speaking to us at all.  Today – trying to be friendly – like there wasn’t a problem – I asked him where they wanted to move.  He told me that they were being “forced out.”  “Forced out?”  I asked.  “Why?  How so?”  “Forget it,” he answered & shut the door in my face.  I mean I know what’s going on.  & even without the sex – I mean – being a week late with the rent isn’t going to “force” them “out” of anywhere.  I mean – until recently – both of them – as city employees – had to live within city limits!  That just changed & they can move to the suburbs if they want to!  & I know Cindy wants to – she’s from Williamsville.  Marco is almost school-age & naturally she wants him to go to school in the suburbs.  That’s what I figure they’re going to do!  So what’s this being “forced out” BS?  & what the fuck – they both work & the both make good salaries – it’s not like the rent Teddy & I pay them are going to break their bank account.  What’s the big deal?  Why don’t that sell that car that’s been sitting in the back yard – for the last year?  & what about Paulie’s new motorcycle?  Buy a bike & lose your house?  None of this makes sense.  Could the fact that I’m not giving Paulie his blowjobs be that important?  What’s really going on?

Anyway – who knows & who cares.  I’ve started reading the real estate section of the newspaper.  Actually – it’s kind of exciting!  Moving’s a drag but – maybe this is the change I need!

***

Teddy went back to work this morning – vacation’s over!  It seemed like he was off forever.  I felt like a mother sending her child off to school for the first day – part of me sad to see him go – part of me glad.  Drinking my coffee alone.  Making up a list of chores – mending, straightening up the house, putting the couch back together again – trying to smooth out the sag in the cushion where Teddy always sits – making myself a nice small breakfast – poached egg on toast – not the giant ones Teddy always wants – like steak & eggs or pancakes & sausage or eggs, bacon & home fries.  Oh well!  Time to get busy – I want to get a lot done today.

***

Raining.  Steady rain – it’s been raining all day.  Watching a college football game.  Just ate a piece of apple pie – boy, can I bake ’em or what!

I dreamed I was with Darryl scoring blow last night.  I was picking up an 8-ball to bring home for Teddy.  We were doing the deal in the guy’s bathroom – he was sitting in an empty bathtub as he took care of business.  Darryl cook up a rock as big as my thumb.  I was doing hits off the pipe & worrying that I was taking too long & Teddy would be mad at me.

I’ve got two parties tonight – not until later on.  Might as well take a nap – sleeping’s good on a wet afternoon.  I hope it’s not raining tonight.

***

God – I feel so fatigued – I slept really lousy last night – Missy kept waking me up – stupid dreams – I got up this morning & busted ass cleaning the house – doing laundry – all my costumes – changed the cat box – took the garbage out – stripped & remade the bed – then took a bath & washed my hair.  Now I feel exhausted.  I should get to work on my resume & get it sent into Canisius College but I’m too lazy – plus I really want to go back to UB – I really only want to go back to UB – I don’t know why but it’s like I started out there & I want to finish there.  At least my BA.

I’m gonna sit & read & sip some chicken soup & maybe take a catnap – then maybe I’ll work on it – or maybe I’ll just inventory some books or work on a story or some poems.  I really don’t know what to do – I just feel so worn out.

Afternoon.  I did a Tarot reading & the outcome was the King of Cups & as I was laying it down, the phone rang & it was Jesse again – amazing how that works – I picked it up – he said he went to the doctor & his back is all messed up from pipefitting so many years & he’s got a script for hydrocodone & he’s going to be selling at least half of them.  If case Teddy’s interested.  Or me.  I know that I’m interested but I know I don’t have the money to be spending on pills.

***

Years seem to have passed since last Tuesday.  We’ve been told to get out of our apartment – so we went right out & found a new one – put some money down & sign a lease.  Now I can hardly wait to go.  The place is a lot smaller than this one – we’ll have to store a lot of our furniture – at least until we figure out what to do with it all – sell it or give it away – it’ll be really a hassle moving – eight years in one place – I’ve never lived so long in one place!  We’ve accumulated so many possessions!  I don’t really want to deal with any of this at all.

We stopped in to see Shera – I mentioned that I had was into the Tarot & she said she did readings too – she showed me her Wiccan tools & her altar – I would so love to have an altar like that – but in this new place it’s going to be impossible.  I can’t believe we’re going to live in a place this tiny.  & it’s downstairs too.  I hate living downstairs.

Anyway – Shera & I are supposed to get together on Saturday & make wreathes – I don’t know if it’ll actually happen – but just the fact that we talked about witchy things & she offered to teach me – I feel like life is changing for the better – even as I am so depressed about moving – there is hope

Change, change – happening so fast – after such a long time – it’s hard to believe that I’m moving.  I’ve lived here longer than anywhere I’ve ever lived.

***

I’m so excited.  All I can think about is moving.  In my mind about is moving.  In my head, I’ve already moved in & am unpacking & putting them on the shelves.  It’s gonna be the coziest place.  We’ll have to strip down & essentials – half our furniture will have to be stored or given away – of course we’ll use as much as we can stuff in – & I won’t re-do the collage – at least not right away – it’s falling apart from the effects of gravity – I wish I could keep it together somehow.  I plan to only hang the framed pictures – my personal artwork will be stored.  I won’t need to use my knick-knack shelf as a spice rack anymore, so that will be stored too.  Just about everything is being stored – everything except the books & I have no idea how I’m going to fit them all in.  I can hardly wait to set up the kitchen – the fridge is modern & huge – there’s a large freezer & real hydraters & it’s frost-free – I won’t have to defrost it every month anymore – the only fly in the ointment is that the stove’s electric – but I’ll learn to deal with that.

Oh – I just looked out the window & the sunset’s absolutely killer!  Soft blue & pink & grey & purple & orange – bands of colored clouds shifting hues & positions.

***

Urgh – out of weed.  But in a good mood.  Teddy found a place to store the trailer for only $20 & it’s nearby.  On Sunday, we’re putting the bike away.  It seems like we just brought it out of storage.  But we want to put it away before we go on vacation – we don’t want it unattended while we’re gone – you just never know – Paulie’s such a flake.  The arguments downstairs are never-ending – I woke up this morning to the sound of angry voices & accusations.  Oh well – soon we’ll be out of here.

I read & wrote poetry all day – worked hard on “The King of Cups” – just like my love affair with Jesse – it is getting out of hand – it’s over two pages long!  But it reads well & sounds good.  I’ll set it aside for a few months & then go back to it & probably edit out half of it!  That’s the way it works!  I read every single one of my poems last night – I don’t know about anyone else – but I sure do like what I write – I think it’s pretty damn good!

***

Urgh!  Really frustrated.  No weed – still – got taken advantage of by Darryl – again! – I’m so tired of this!  Here it is – after dinner – & no after-dinner joint – I have a quart of Blue in the fridge but what the fuck – I wanna get high – not drunk!

Other than that – today was OK.  I went over to UB to read.  I had only finished one book when the fire alarm went off & everyone had to evacuate the building.  I decided to go over the UGL & read some more.  On the way over, I ran into a guy – not a student – he was wearing a tie & jacket & was carrying a brief case – he said he worked for Harper & Row.  “Oh yeah?”  I said.  “I’m a writer.”  “Oh yeah?”  he replied.  “May I buy you lunch?”  We went to Norton Union & got pizza & apples.  We talked – he’s 41 – married – no kids – lives in Rochester – deals mostly in textbooks – but he has friends who deals in novels & poetry.  He seemed really interested in my novel – but of course he was really interested in me.  We’re supposed to get together on Tuesday so I can show him some of my work – I wonder what else he would like to see?  I guess I don’t wonder – he was certainly horny enough.  I don’t give a damn about that – I just want to get published.

 

 

 

 

Excerpts From a Diary 30

[January]

Watching some college football game with Teddy.  We just got back from getting some groceries – spending our last $10.  It seems so strange to have no money!  Everything got spent going to Cleveland for Tish’s wedding – I would have just as soon stayed here.  I thought we could stay with Mom & Bob but between Jesse & Doreen & their kids & Helena & Geoff & their kids, there just wasn’t enough room.  So we had to get a motel room.  Which really wasn’t that bad – we were able to party & watch the bowl games the night before the wedding.  I just hate spending money when I don’t have any coming in.­

Oh well – Thursday’s Teddy’s payday & Friday’s mine – so on Saturday we’ll go to Wegman’s & stock up.  Our cupboards are getting bare – with the holidays, all the money’s been being spent on things other than food & I’ve been concocting dinners out of what we have & whatever we’ve been able to get at the last minute.

My stomach’s been killing me all day – woke up at 9 a.m. with shooting pains – absolutely the worst I’ve experienced in years – all day long – absolutely takes my breath away.  Shit that runs like water, only water would feel so much nicer.  This burns.

I finished Legend by Fred Lawrence Guiles – definitely the best biography of Marilyn Monroe I have ever read.  Well researched – well written.

I have to make tacos for Teddy – I can’t imagine eating one myself!  Bouillon for me!  I have to make lists for this week – get things ready for tomorrow & work.  Today nothing got done – I was in too much pain.

***

So.  Tish’s wedding.  It was definitely the nicest wedding I have ever been at.  The church was all decorated in poinsettias from Christmas – all red & white – & Tish was dressed in a very plain white velvet gown that was hand-made for her – it was a Azzedine Allaia design & it was gorgeous – dozens of little pearls going down her back – she had lost a ton of weight & looked fabulous.

Helena was her matron of honor in a sea-green ankle-length gown that concealed her four-month’s pregnancy.  The four other maid of honors wore shiny emerald green knee-length dresses that were typically puffy & looked more like something for a nightclub than a wedding.  Mom was wearing a pale pink Chanel suit – her go-to look – & Tish’s new mother-in-law – who is incidentally the executive secretary of Edmond Durant, so we are well acquainted – wore a shiny dress of deep rose.  Rocco was one of the groomsmen & the rest were friends of Brad & his one brother.  Brad – Tish’s new husband – was dressed in his Marine Corp dress blues.

Jesse & Doreen were there of course & most of the family & friends on both sides & all of Brad’s friends & family.  It was a very large wedding – amazing, given that it was right after the holiday & January weather can be very iffy.  But the weather held & it was a sparkling bright day.

I wore a sheer flowered shirt-waist – shimmery shades of pink & gold & green on a field of cream – with a lace camisole & petticoat underneath it & my boots.  I had a forest green blazer which I removed when the dancing started.

During the ceremony, I sat in church & thought about everything.  I was disappointed in not being chosen to be “in” the wedding but I supposed that you can’t have two matron of honors.  I’m not sure why though – there’s always more than one maid.  It really doesn’t make sense.  These silly rules.

But where had flaunting the rules gotten me?  I hadn’t even wanted to get married so I did everything I could to have an unconventional marriage – getting married in the park, wearing a red dress, wearing my boots.  & within what – six months? – I was deeply in love & having a passionate affair with another man – one of my husband’s best friends.  It was a soap opera – it was worse than a soap opera.

My sister Helena had three children & soon would have four & I knew Tish would be pregnant very soon – at a family picnic last summer, I had overheard Brad saying to her, “We’ll have them just like that” – looking at one of Helena’s youngest toddle across the grass.  & I had felt such a giant hole within me.  No man had ever said anything like that to me – never ever.  My experience was men not wanting children.  Jon insisting on me having an abortion.  Jesse complaining about Doreen being pregnant all the time – although he clearly loves his children – probably more than he loves her.  Teddy has told me more than once than he doesn’t want children – he doesn’t even want cats.  He doesn’t want any responsibility at all.  He would be happy just being my “manager” – which means not doing anything at all – since I am the one who books most of the jobs & I am the one dealing with the public – he just holds onto the money & drives me around – important work but hardly being a “manager”.  & how much longer could I go on dancing?  Teddy talks about me being a “Buffalo institution” but whoever heard of a stripper being an “institution”?  & I really need to get serious & finish up college & move onto some other kind of work.  Whether in law or something else.  But I can’t be a dancer for the rest of my life – as much as I loved to perform – I’m going to be 27 this year & that’s almost 30!  & I swore I’d never dance after 30 – which is three years from now but still.  When I started dancing, it was supposed to be temporary – until I found other work.  I mean – I never did – but dancing took over my life to the point where I never really looked for other work.  It was a good thing that I fell into the law office job.  But I don’t know how much longer that is going to be working out.  There’s all kinds of new people there – new part-timers, temp workers, all kinds of new faces.  I know from working in the bar that when there are new people, old people are going to get the shaft.  That’s how it works.  & I have never forgotten my conversation with Edmond Durant.  Law is a very conservative place & stripping is not.  Even though my work is impeccable, I have been waiting – for quite a while – to be laid off or fired.  I’m surprised I haven’t been.  But I’ll have to go back to school – I don’t mind – I really want to finish up my degree.  I just know that Teddy will have a major fit.

That was another thing I was thinking about in the church.  How I was married to Teddy – who I really do love – but how he’s just not right for me.  He’s enthusiastic about me dancing – but that’s about it.  We never have sex.  It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even bother him about it anymore because I don’t want to deal with the rejection & if he doesn’t want me, he doesn’t want me.  I tell people he’s my very best friend – which I suppose is true – but I have other “best” friends – Jesse – Gigi – even Anna, at the law office – even Tish, my sister standing at the altar, repeating her vows.

I looked at Jesse sitting with Doreen & I knew that I loved him & I wanted him more than any man I had ever known but I knew that it was impossible.  He wasn’t going to leave her.  He might say he would – he was going to let me hang on forever.  But he wasn’t going to leave her.  Not as long as she was the mother of “his” children.

I sat there in the church & thought – I have nothing.  Nothing at all.  No marriage.  No children.  No career I can brag about.  No degree.  Nothing.  Nothing at all.

I had never felt so depressed in my entire life.

***

[April]

I’m in our living room with Teddy & Randy.  Randy is buying some coke & complaining about living at Jesse & Doreen’s.  He’s taking some back to Jesse – who was having an argument with Doreen when Randy left the house – apparently, that’s all they are doing lately.  Doreen is pregnant again & wants to move out of the city.  Jesse doesn’t want to move because the house they live in is more than big enough for several kids, Doreen’s mom & Randy – if Randy stays with them – but Doreen wants to be in the suburbs.  Randy says he’s had it with all of them.  He’s supposed to be joining local 129 up in the Falls so he says he’ll move up to Niagara County to be closer to the Hall for his classes – he says he’s not driving back & forth from Buffalo.  “But I’ve had it with both Doreen & her mother,” he said.  “I don’t know how Jesse puts up with it.”

I have to say that Randy is really good-looking.  In ten years or so, he should be devastatingly handsome.   He doesn’t have Jesse’s blue eyes but his eyes are really beautiful – hazel, almost green – flecked with grey.

Randy brought over a 12-pack of Labatt’s Blue & we’re drinking beer.

I have a tape on – Talking Heads – “More Songs About Food & Buildings” – on the other side is Pretenders 1.  I have “The Honeymooners” on TV – no sound of course.  I love “The Honeymooners”.  Sometimes it’s hard to take – Ralph’s such an asshole but when he gets humbled, his face touches me.  Jackie Gleason has so many great faces.  Norton’s great & so is Alice.  Alice is great at the sarcastic reply.  But gee – I’d hate to argue like that.  Well – Ralph’s a macho asshole – what do you want.

I compare “The Honeymooners” to “I Love Lucy”.  Of course, the families in “I Love Lucy” are a lot more affluent – & “I Love Lucy” had a far larger budget – that’s obvious.  Also, “I Love Lucy” was a lot tighter – everything was totally rehearsed – no ad-libbing, no surprises – well there were some, but they were absolute accidents.  There’s quite a bit of ad-libbing in “The Honeymooners”, as well as blown lines – it’s fun to watch them recover.  Sometimes you don’t even notice until a few lines later & then you realize – a few things don’t fit so well – they’re trying to get that blown line to fit in.  But it’s great – it’s spontaneous – Jackie Gleason & Art Carney really knew how to play off each other.

I think the difference between the two shows are because of where the people had come from.  “I Love Lucy” was created & performed by people who had movie careers – a more formal, structured, organized type of job.  Jackie Gleason started in burlesque.  Shows in burlesque were thrown together pretty fast – the stripper who was headlining & the top comedian & the rest of the act would come into town & work at the local theatre with the local people – skits & comedy pieces were put together based on basic comedy skits used for years & years but updated to fit currents events & the locality & of course ad-libbed to fit the bill.

I would have loved burlesque.  I would have been a star.

Quite a beer buzz on here.  Not to mention lines & doobies.

10 p.m.  The hockey game is on the radio.  I hate listening to hockey – I hate listening to sports, period – unless Rick Jeanneret is doing the play-by-play.  He really makes you see what’s happening – he talks so quickly & distinctly & descriptively & emotionally.  But fuck – you have to watch hockey – any sports.  Besides, it’s not like they’re winning or even playing particularly well or anything.  I mean, the best they can do is lose.  We’re going to end up in last place anyway.

That beer buzz was driving me nuts.  I like a couple of beers – especially in the summer when it’s hot – but beer is such a slouchy slushy high.  Roly-poly – like a typical movie drunk.  I feel so full.  Like a roly-poly Polly-wolly.

I said to Teddy, “We need vodka.”

“We’re broke,” he replied.

Teddy got paid today but of course it’s all gone.

So I went over to Doug & Danielle’s with my empty vodka bottle & a joint & borrowed some of theirs – Doug had just bought a gallon.  We smoked the joint while I fed Davy.  Then I returned home & made a vodka & soda for me & a vodka & tea for Teddy.  Now we’re playing backgammon.  I have lots more to write but I’ve lost 4 games in a row & I have to kick ass & beat Teddy.  I can’t let him win!

***

How I miss The Canteen.

***

“Moreover, he was gifted with an almost photographic memory.” – Wyn Craig Wade, about William Alden Smith.

What a gift!  How often I read this about gifted, great, inspiration people!  How I envy it!  My photographic mind is one that is a double exposure – of half blank – or badly focused – or totally blurry.  Like dreams.  Or certain colors or images stand out unnaturally – again – like dreams.

But I remember so much more than I say I do.  Details – colors – smells – emotions – songs on the radio.  Everyday life is forgetful – la-di-da within my daily course – until something fucks up the habit.  But the fuck-up is why I remember.

***

Midnight.  Lonely, lonely, lonely.  Teddy’s already in bed – he says he’s loaded.  How can that be?  I made his drinks for him & they weren’t that strong & he didn’t have very many.  He needs so much more sleep than I do.  I don’t sleep unless I’m exhausted.  Also – when I wake up – I’m awake.  He takes forever to wake up.  I’m always hungry when I wake up.  Often it’s my stomach growling that wakes me up.

I’m reading a new book about the sinking of the Titanic but it’s hard to keep on it.  “Hogan’s Heroes” is on.  I’m restless – if Teddy was up, I’d suggest a walk.  How can he sleep so much?  I read that Gemini’s need a lot of sleep.  Having so much excess energy, Gemini’s use it wastefully – just blow it – go go go until it’s gone.  I have loads of energy but I use my energy more efficiently.  I’m in for the long haul, ya know.  In high school, people used to say, you won’t live to be 30.  I’d laugh of course – & I guess no one will be sure until my thirtieth birthday, right?  But I know – unless there’s some kind of accident – the motorcycle comes to mind immediately – I’m not gonna die.  I’m not self-destructive.  I am – in fact – very healthy.  Ya know – I eat well – do vitamins – heavy duty “stress” vitamins – work out – dance – I mean, I know it’s wrong – health-wise, anyway – to smoke weed & snort cocaine & I know I’ll pay for that someday.  But I really think that’s a long time away.  I don’t care – everyone’s got to die & no one dies of nothing.  I’m not afraid of that.  Ya know, you make your own deal in the end.

It’s after midnight – I didn’t feel like watching “Hitchcock” so I went around the dial.  A really dopey King Arthur movie is on – “The Black Knight”.  No familiar names in the credits.  It’s pretty bad.  It’s color but it’s that halfway color – the “color” that movies were filmed in the 50’s & 60’s when the budget wasn’t large enough for Technicolor.  It looks like the colorized versions of black & white movies.  They look so tacky!  They make me think of old photos that someone had taken color pencils & lightly colored over them – Nana used to do that.

In this movie, the hues are mostly brown & tan.  There’s blues & reds but they’re dark.  At least it’s not like some of those movies – the hues are reddish/purple.  A lot of horror movies are like that.  Real low budget.  I hate horror films – I hate the old tacky ones & I hate the new gory ones.  Who wants to be scared?  What a drag!  Besides the characters in those flicks are so dumb.  Like – they’re in a house haunted & everyone is disappearing or showing up dead – one by one – or the house is just acting weird – & instead of getting the fuck out of there, they have to investigate!  How stupid!  I’d rather watch a sex flick!  & sex flicks are about the most boring things around!  Ya know how you know – right off – a bunch of guys are really nerdy?  When you arrive at a stag & they have the sex film on & they have the sound on!  Sex films should have the sound on ZERO & the stereo on some really great music.  I mean, really.  Sex films always have terrible soundtracks – if you can call it that – & who wants to hear a bunch of moaning & groaning & panting & idiotic sex talk?  It’s not like it means anything.

Besides, I hate sex flicks.  Actually, I’ve seen some good ones & some of the new ones – written & directed by women – are pretty good.  But the Joe Average sex flick is really dumb.  One thing I think is really stupid is that they’ll show a couple fucking & the guy will pull out & cum all over the girl’s face or belly or ass or something.  I know they have to prove that he really came but I mean really.  She always acts like it’s the most wonderful thing that ever happened to her – his cum on her body – rubbing it in like body lotion.  I can’t imagine wanting some dude’s cum on my face.  & being happy about it!  Get real!

Where was I?  I wanna party more!  I want to do snort a line – no, I want to do two nice lines & then have Teddy wake up all awake & alert & do another set of lines & then have a toast & play some more backgammon.  & smoke one.  But then I wouldn’t be writing, would I?

I put David Letterman on.  I’m gonna try the Titanic again.  Well, maybe I’ll take a drink first.  MMM.  I’m drinking a vodka & soda – tall glass.  I love vodka & sodas.

Tish & Brad stopped in tonight.  I was so happy!  Tish & I had a really nice heart to heart.  I told her, “I thought you didn’t like me anymore cuz I never heard from you.”  She said, “Well, I never talk to anyone.”  I guess she’s really happy with Brad & they had a fabulous honeymoon in Jamaica & it hasn’t really ended yet.  I almost thought she was going to tell me she was already pregnant but she didn’t.  But she told me a lot about Mom & Bob.   They’ve been going to all these AA conventions & doing the “keynote” leads – Bob, especially, is in great demand – although I guess Mom does really well with the women’s groups.  They were in San Diego last month.  I haven’t talked to anyone in a long time, either.  I haven’t thought about AA in a long time – I don’t know why I would – partying the way I do.

I dream about everyone all the time.  Usually we’re at Gramma Mac’s house.  So much of me lives in Appleton.  Being in the apple orchard with Papa Mac or out on the boat.  Or sitting in the kitchen – looking out the window – at all the birds at the feeders in the lilac bushes outside the glass.  It’s winter & the seed is all over the snow.  It’s like I’m still a little girl & I never left.  Or I’m trying to get my shit together to go to school but I had a stag the night before & I’m dead.  Or someone is on my nerves & I’m not reacting very well.  Or I’m reacting like a star & not like a member of a family.  I think these dreams are my subconscious trying to put together my life now with my life then.  Synthesis.  I also dream quite often that I’m at school & I can’t get into it – sitting in a class was always a drag & in my dreams it’s unbearable because I’m a stripper – & either I disrupt class or I get into an argument with the teacher or the bell rings & I go to my locker & it won’t unlock – & then I get it unlocked & get my things but then I can’t navigate the hallways – it seems like I’m going in circles in a crowd of students & I can’t find my way out the door to the busses – & then when I’m finally out the door – I miss my bus – I literally watch it driving away without me.  I have this dream all the time.

For years, Teddy wasn’t in my dreams, but now he always is.  In my family dreams, he’s a big question mark because where does he sleep?  I mean, with me, of course – but how can he? – when I share my room with Tish?  Brad rarely factors in this dilemma.  Teddy is usually the reason I fight in dreams.  I mean – I’m in an unbearable situation & then I remember Teddy & I fight back.  Teddy really taught me how to speak up – speak confidently – stand up for my rights.  He’s the greatest.  I love him so much.

I’m gonna go – I’m gonna try the Titanic again – I’m tired of writing – I’d rather type – it’s faster – as fast as I can think.  But it’s too noisy – Teddy’s in bed.  Ya know?  What can you do?

***

[June]

My perm turned out really great.  Penny & I yakked it up the entire time – it was great.  She also had a high-pressure excellence-only Catholic childhood.

It was a great way to have your hair done!  I walk in – she handed me a beer – I drank 3 during the course of events.  After she rolled up my hair & put on the chemicals & everything, she pulled out a bowl, filled it with some really tasty weed & lit it!  I said, “Gee – I feel guilty, I shoulda brought a joint – I didn’t think!”

“Girl, shut up!” She replied.  “It’s just really nice to have someone to smoke with!”  She enjoys me – I entertain her, just like everyone else.

I love having curly hair.  It’s so long – long curls cascading down my back – like a princess.

***

[July]

It is so awful to be so addicted – to feel bummed out when you can’t get any – even when you weren’t going to get any but you decided to call – just for the hell of it –

When a friend calls & says she’s stopping by & you think – maybe she’s got – I mean – totally stupid –

So later that night – someone else calls & even though it’s time for bed you jump on the bike & fly over – party all night long – feel like shit all the next day – but party again –

***

[August]

I’d forgotten about my notebook – I was gone & I’d left it behind.  & everything else.  I was traveling on a sparkling white glacier with great rushes & nothing else.  Maintaining a high was becoming tedious.  But what can ya do?  Do another deal – do another line.

***

I’m so lonely – sexually lonely.  I need a friend – someone special – someone who probably doesn’t exist – to spend an afternoon or two – every week – spend it in bed – hugging, kissing, fucking – reminiscing about other lovers & other affairs & trading sexual stories & tricks – I need this.  I really need it.

I thought I had what I needed but I guess not.  Or else – not anymore.  Here & gone.  Whatever.  It kills me – it’s the same old story – it’s the same pain as 10 years ago – 15 years ago.  I had this loneliness long before I knew that it was – long before the words “sex” – “fuck” – “orgasm” – had any real meaning for me.  I know I was experiencing orgasms as early as 7 years old & maybe even younger – that’s what I remember – I know I knew how to make it happen for myself.  How did I learn?  Did someone show me?  I wish I could remember.  Only shadows remain.

But you can only masturbate so much.  After a while – even with orgasm – it’s just an exercise in loneliness.

Oh the pain – how I wish the pain would disappear.  You’d think after all these years – I’d had gotten used to it.  All the knowledge – all the philosophy – all the understanding – of the pain – what it is – how it works – doesn’t help at all.  A potato’s a potato no matter how you cook it.

***

Modeling is so boring.  Having to hold a pose – yuck!  I can barely keep still.  I mean, I can do it – I just don’t want to.  Most of the time these photographers want me in the stupidest poses known to man.  & of course they want sex – to talk about sex, to lick my sex, to have me sexually service them.

When I was younger, it was different – I was more into it – I wasn’t as busy – I wasn’t a dancer & a wife – & totally confident – I didn’t need the approval of the camera – it was more fun.  & I didn’t have a sense of exploitation.

Even then – it was a drag.  They say I’m a natural & I do admit I’m a big ham in front of a camera – a show’s a show & I am always a star – but it’s boring – boring –

Still – I can hardly wait to see the pictures –

I can’t help it – it turns me on – seeing my image –

***

OH MY GOD.  Jesse called this morning – Teddy had just gone to work – I thought that he wanted to get together since Doreen is seven month’s pregnant but he said that she had gone into labor & the baby was born prematurely – it doesn’t look good but of course Buffalo Children’s Hospital is one of the best hospitals in the country so we are all hoping for the best.  Jesse said that it’s a boy & his lungs aren’t fully developed & it’s in an incubator.  I didn’t think to ask his name but I know that they were considering either Silas or Jasper – terrible names, if you ask me.

Mom on the phone from Cleveland: “Of course it’s because of her smoking.  You can’t expect to carry a child to term successfully if you’re smoking cigarettes.”  Which I thought was rather cruel of Mom to say but of course it’s true.  I’ve heard lots of women say that smoking doesn’t harm the baby at all, just makes them “a little underweight” but that’s all bullshit.  There’s plenty of evidence to support that.  Of course the way Jesse smokes, it can’t be easy to quit – not with him puffing away all the time.  He’s a 3-pack a day smoker.  I know Doreen doesn’t smoke that much – she really doesn’t smoke very much at all, honestly – & she hardly parties at all anymore – but still.  I mean – if you’re going to have children, you have to make some decisions about your life.  & not smoking cigarettes is one of them.  I’ve never liked cigarettes anyway – I love smoking weed but cigarettes taste like crap & I’ve never understood smoking them.

***

This has been the hottest summer I remember.

***

Gigi’s disappeared – nobody knows where she is.  Oralie thinks she went back to Pennsylvania or wherever she’s originally from.  I really miss her but she had been getting really strung out – doing a ton of coke & I think heroin too – she looked like hell.  I know she was turning lots of tricks & was busted in that large sting at the Hyatt Regency downtown earlier this year & a few times on the street since then.  She bragged about being with members of the Buffalo Bills but I have a hard time seeing that.  I would think they would go for much higher-class whores.  At any rate – she’s gone.

Oralie & I have been doing stags together.  We each do a set – generally she goes first & then I do a set – & then we do a floor routine together – the guys love when we get down on the floor together.  We make the same amount of money that we would if we were working alone – it’s a great deal for us! We’re not actually having sex together – but it’s awful close!  Honestly – the guys can’t give money to us fast enough!  We split the tips & it’s always a pile of money.

Oralie moved in with Mo’s son Vinnie – or, rather, he moved in with her – he just got out of prison – he was in for dealing drugs & of course that’s what he doing now that he’s out again.  He’s got decent enough coke but I’m not crazy about the cut in it.  It really makes my sinuses hurt!  & it’s so hot & humid this summer that the coke is always cakey & doesn’t want to chop up into nice lines or crush into powder for the vials.

Oralie says that Vinnie is hung like a horse – “the largest I’ve ever had” – which made me think of Jon.  He still calls me.  He called me the other day – wanting phone sex, of course – but Teddy was home & I had to navigate the call in another direction & hang up.  I hate phone sex, anyway.  I want the real deal.  Which I will never get from Jon – I know that.  I went over to his place earlier this summer – Sara was in Brooklyn visiting her parents.  Jon & Sara have a beautiful place on Ashland Avenue – I’ve always wanted to live over there.  I danced for him & he jerked off while he watched me.  We didn’t have sex – I wanted to – but he said he wanted to be “faithful” to Sara.  I’m fascinated by these men who are “faithful” to their wives while they watch a naked woman dancing & masturbate to her image.  How is this being “faithful”?

***

[October]

Teddy had just left for work this morning when the phone rang.  It was Jesse.  “May I come over?  It’s Jasper.”

I took a quick bath & was just throwing on my sweats & a t-shirt when I heard the doorbell.  I ran down the stairs.  As soon as I saw him, I knew the worst.  “He’s gone,” Jesse sobbed, “he’s gone.”

I took him upstairs & held him as he cried.  I have never seen Jesse like this.  Jesse – the strongest of the strong!  The toughest of the tough!  I never would have thought he could break down like this.  Suddenly, I thought – where’s Doreen?  Why aren’t they together?  Shouldn’t they be together?  & I was happy that he had come to me.  That he was crying in my arms.

Finally, he got himself together & pulled away.  He blew his nose – really noisy – & then he pulled out a fat doobie.  “I gotta catch one,” he said.  “I’ve been at the hospital for two days straight – I’ve barely had a cigarette.”

“Have you eaten?”

“I’m not hungry.”  We passed the joint between us.  “He fought until the very end!  He wanted to live!  & he was doing really well!  I’m not even sure how he caught pneumonia – it doesn’t make sense at all.”

I didn’t know what to say.  What do you say?  “I’m sorry” seems so inadequate.  & I didn’t want to point out that it was easier to get pneumonia in a hospital than out of one – especially a little baby with compromised lungs. “What can I do to help?” I asked finally.

“Well, the funeral is going to be the day after tomorrow – I don’t know about Doreen but I know I’ll need some coke to get through it so do you think Teddy can get some?”

I sighed.  He wanted drugs.  Not love.  & from Teddy – not me.  “Yeah sure, I’m sure he can,” I replied.

***

After the funeral.  This was probably the hardest funeral I have ever been at.  You don’t mind when it’s an old person & they were sick & it’s a blessing that they went but this was a baby & it was just a drag.  Although considering that Jasper’s lungs were never fully developed & he might have been prone to all kinds of breathing ailments his entire life, his death could be seen as a blessing as well.  I’m sure Jesse & Doreen weren’t looking at it that way, though.

The weather was chilly but it was a beautiful fall day & we all assembled in the cemetery & the minister talked about God’s will and calling little Jasper to heaven to play among the angels & I thought – what a bunch of bullshit.  God’s will, my ass.

Jesse was completely wasted but maintained his cool.  He had his hair pulled back into a tight ponytail & he was wearing a sky-blue three-piece suit with a navy-blue shirt & a white tie.  I have never seen him dressed like this.  But the biggest surprise was Doreen.  She had cut her long red hair.  Since the day I met her back in 1979 – July, 1979 – she’s had waist-length hair – but now it was a short bob & such a complete change that it was startling.  She was sober.  Completely closed up within herself.

***

Oralie is pregnant so she’s not going to dance anymore.  I am going to miss doing stags with her because we made so much money together.  She said that Vinnie is still going to be dealing coke – she’s not going to be doing any drugs or even smoking cigarettes anymore.  I wonder how long this relationship is going to last – Vinnie partying & her sober.  But you never know.

***

[November]

2:30 a.m.  Two parties tonight.  9:30 UAW at The Mint – Seneca Street at Cazanovia.  Low-key but great – they loved me.  #2 – Columbia Hook & Ladder.  A bunch of bikers – mixed group of Rare Breed & Kingsmen & other guys – wild & rowdy but good guys – know & respect a lady when they are with one – my saving grace –

Leandra Green – whatever her last name is now – was there.  “Hey long time no see!” I said, giving her a hug.  She was dancing a short set between my two & doing the “extras”.  I used to buy acid & coke off her when we worked together at The Canteen.  We worked the 10-3 shift on Thursday nights.  Later she used to give me a quarter-gram of coke every time she fixed – it made me sick – I hate needles – but she begged & pleaded because she couldn’t do herself – & I had a steady hand & was able to hit her vein every time – plus I would always want another quarter-gram.  But I could never understand IV users who couldn’t fix themselves.  Doesn’t that give the other person a whole lot of power over your addiction?

She looks beat.  When I first met her, she was at the tail end of whatever beauty she ever had.  She wasn’t ever really beautiful – she might have been pretty as a teenager – but she’s 35 now & years of drug abuse really shows.  When I first met her, she was tough & good-looking – the drugs were still working for her.  Ya know – drugs make you look so great for so long – then they take take take – you don’t look great anymore.

It makes me wonder – what will I look like when I am her age?  Of course I don’t shoot drugs & never will.  But still – how long can I go the way I am going – without sacrificing my health & my beauty?

Excerpts From a Diary 28

[Holidays, 1985]

That stag at the Three Coins last night was a drag – a million delays – I swear, some guys think that they are the only party I have in a night & I can hang out & wait around for all their stupidity!  Fucking Italians!  They’re the worst!  Oh – not all Italians but these stupid mobsters or these mobsters wannabes – whatever they are!  They’re more interested in gambling than seeing a pretty girl dance!  Fuck their stupid card games – their poker games & their blackjack!  & they tip like shit.  We got to our second stag at Columbia Hook & Ladder an hour late & the third stag at Wales Fire Hall so late I’m surprised they still wanted me to dance.  All in all it was a good night – it could have been a terrible night – I made $482.  I would have made over $500 if we hadn’t had been so late to the second two stags.  Of course – I never would have booked the third stag way out in Wales anyway – that was Teddy’s stupid idea – he never seems to consider how long it takes to get from one place to another.  It was only a few minutes from Three Coins to Columbia Hook & Ladder – they’re both in North Tonawanda – but almost an hour to get out to Wales – that’s almost Wyoming County out there.   I have to really talk to Teddy about booking jobs & about proper charging for going way the hell out there.  I mean – that’s a long  ride.  Not only out there but coming home, too.  Tonight I only have one stag – at Quinn’s Pitcher’s Mound – at the corner of Kenmore & Military.

I have a piece of glass in my foot & it hurts.  I have to dig it out – I already got some of it – but I’m gonna wait till I take my bath.  It’s already been in there at least two or three days anyway.  I’m surprised it’s taken this long for it to hurt.

We just got home from running errands – to John Fleury’s for an 8-ball – to the cleaner’s – to the drug store to pick up developed film – out to Eastern Hills Mall to get my new boots.  I adore these new boots!  I just finished water-proofing them.  I have to let them sit 24 hours before wearing them but I just might wear them out tonight anyway.

It’s dark & dreary out – been raining several hours.  Traffic’s slow & stupid.  I’m glad to be home – I wish my foot would stop hurting.

***

I’m sitting in the car – Teddy’s inside at Jimmy’s house – paying him.  Jimmy’s another coke connection – he’s Paulie’s cousin – we have at least four or five now – Teddy wants to be able to always score when he wants to score & he says one connection can’t always deliver.  We’re on our way home from a stag.  The hockey game is on the radio – it just started – that’s how I know what time it is.  I have absolutely no idea what time it is.  But hockey games always start at 7:30.  The stag would have been great if I hadn’t been so hungover from last night.  I didn’t even want to drink – that’s how hungover I was.

***

Today’s our third anniversary.  We started celebrating this morning by smoking some hash before we went to work – then, after work – while we did a load of wash – we went to Falco’s for some drinks & a game of pool.  I won – I’m getting really good at pool.  Of course, I play all the time.  In an hour, we’re going to Mom’s for cocktails, then Mom & Jerry are taking us to dinner.  We’re going to the Old Red Mill Inn.  I’ve always wanted to eat there.  I hope it’s good.  After dinner, Teddy & I are going to drink champagne & snort coke & – hopefully – make love.  I guess that’s pretty standard anniversary shit but who cares.  It would be great if Teddy actually makes love to me.  I would be happy to have no champagne & no coke if that happened.  On the other hand – champagne & coke makes the no sex part a lot easier.

Business is booming.  We now book a stag a day.  It’s so wonderful being a star!

***

Soooo tired.  I didn’t get to everything on my list today – when do I?  — but I worked on my story – which is more important anyway.  Also I finished reading the new biography of Colette – excellent!  Totally cool life.  I love how she took control of her life after being controlled by her first husband.  & how she was a dancer & then a celebrated novelist.  I can only hope that my life turns out as well.  But reading doesn’t get my chores done.  I can’t help it – I would rather read or write than do hand wash or mend.  It seems like I’m always mending.  I wish I could just toss away my old clothes & buy new ones.  But I can’t afford that – I have to remake old things into new things or else I’d never have anything new.

Now I’m reading a book about Catherine the Great – I was halfway through it when I picked up the Colette biography – I’m gonna push to get through it.  I have so many books piled up to read – to many papers to take care of – so many projects.  There aren’t enough hours in the day!

Earl’s back in town – he said he sold his house & is packing up.  We’re going to go to lunch tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to champagne & onion soup.  Oh, how I wish he was staying here!  Oh well – it’s for the best – he really loves his new job.  But he says he misses me.

***

Man, what a drag!  My car died – again!  I just got it back Monday night!  They put a new fuel pump in – the nice black dude who helped me  said that the fuel isn’t getting to the engine – so who knows about this new fuel pump.  I’m not sure about these dudes at B & J International.  At least it died pretty close to home – off of Olympic Ave., near the Kensington Expressway.  I walked to B & J International.  Now they can’t get their tow-truck started – really inspires confidence!

It pisses me off cuz I didn’t want to call in sick to the law office – I’m not sick anyway – it’s my damn car – I hate calling in for any reason whatsoever!  Plus I have so much to do today when I get off of work – go to the laundromat – go over to Jesse’s to see the new baby – well, actually to see Jesse – I could care less about the new baby, honestly – & to get Halloween stuff for costumes for stag parties & for work – I DON’T NEED THIS SHIT!! Oh well, it could’ve died on Fillmore Ave. or Sycamore Street & then I would have really been up shit creek.  I’m also glad I wore sneakers – the heels on my new boots are already worn down & walking 10 blocks or whatever it is from the Kensington to here – Hewitt Avenue – would’ve really demolished them.

***

At The Canteen.  In the dressing room.   I don’t feel like working today.  It’s kinda dead out there – no one I really feel like talking to & I’m not into small talk – god I hate small talk!  It’s so boring – “What’s new?” – ya know, nothing ever is – with me, anyway – I go to work every day – do stag parties on the weekend – not much ever changes in my life.  I wish I was home – hanging out with Teddy.  Or better still – that Teddy would walk in with some coke & do some partying!  Or even better – that we were at home partying.

I just wish I could sit at the bar by myself & have fun just hanging out but naturally everyone always wants to talk – I’m just not in a talking mood.

***

Another day of rain – how many has it been in a row? – ten? – eleven?  It’s totally dark & foggy out – street lights still shine at nearly 9 in the morning.  Looking out the window from my computer terminal, I can see the buildings downtown – I can only make out the ones I know are there anyway.  Makes you wonder what today would have been like when Buffalo was a boom town – with the trains & the factories going full blast & the boats in the harbor & on the canal & the sounds of prosperity everywhere.  Probably today would be as dark as night – smelly – the fog holding in & intensifying the pollution of a midwest megalopolis.

***

Jesse was over this evening.  He bought some weed & coke to take hunting – he’s taking his younger brother Randy down to West Valley for opening day of deer season – Randy’s seventeen now & has been hunting down in Ohio with friends for over a year but as Jesse says, “He needs a man to hunt with, like my father hunted with me but he doesn’t do that anymore – not since he got sober” – which really doesn’t make sense to me – you’d think that not being drunk would make a man more conducive to good hunting, not less.  But all Bob wants to do is go to A.A. & talk about his “strength, hope & experience”.  I know that Jesse goes down to West Valley ever year to hunt but it’s more of a getaway from Doreen than an actual hunting experience – Doreen won’t touch venison – I love it but Teddy of course won’t eat it at all or anything killed like that – he’s totally a supermarket meat man.  Teddy can’t eat turkey if he sees it coming out of the oven – he says it looks too much like “the carcass” – which is idiotic – but that’s the way he is – it’s the same with a roasted chicken – I have to completely carve it & bring it to the table on a platter – which increases my workload & makes the meat dry.  But that’s life.

***

OH MY GOD.  Jesse just called from Buffalo General Hospital – he’s there with Randy – apparently Randy fell down a hill down there in West Valley & somehow his gun discharged & blew a hole in his foot – Jesse tied a tourniquet around Randy’s leg with a bandana & I guess that saved his foot – but he’s going to have a hole in it for the rest of his life – which sounds really suspicious to me, because wouldn’t the foot heal?  Who walks around with a hole in their foot?  But who knows?  I think the doctors are trying to scare Randy but honestly – who the fuck knows.  Maybe there’s dozens of dumbass men walking around with holes shot in their feet.  I never thought about it.  Jesse says he’s on painkillers & he’s going to be OK.

This is totally changing Thanksgiving.  Instead of everyone going down to Cleveland, Mom & Bob are coming here & we are all going to have dinner at Jesse & Doreen’s.  & because Doreen is really not much of a cook, she is going to do a ham – cuz really, how do you fuck up a ham? – & I am going to do the turkey – since I know how to roast a turkey & dressing – & bring it over there, all cooked – & everyone else is bringing everything else.  Mom is baking pies in Cleveland & bringing them up.   I’ll probably do the a big green salad as well.

***

Thanksgiving.  Everything turned out ok although it was super crowded at Jesse & Doreen’s & the new baby – Allison – cried almost the entire day – I had such a headache by the time we left – I didn’t even want to take any leftovers or anything – I just wanted to get the fuck out of there.  I hate a crying baby!  Zach was the same way when he was a baby & he wasn’t really much better now at two years old – whiny & complaining.  What Mom calls “the terrible twos”.  I guess all the people freaked them out but still.  I don’t know why Doreen doesn’t nurse her babies – both Zach & now Allison are on formula – so naturally they’re fussy & unsatisfied.  Mom said the same thing.

Randy was on crutches but he seemed to be OK.  Still on painkillers but he ate well & had a few beers – he had killed a nice 8-point the day before the accident happened & he was real happy about that.  He’s going to have it mounted.  Seventeen years old & he’s got his first mount! Jesse was twenty-five before he got his first one & then – of course – Doreen wouldn’t let him get it mounted because she hates that kind of thing.  Would never have it in the house.  He still has the antlers – it’s hard to believe Jesse giving in on something like that.  But whatever.  Randy’s turned into a very handsome young man – almost as tall as Jesse – fairer than Jesse & with hazel eyes that are almost green.  Bob was really pissed at him about the accident, though.  I couldn’t get it – I mean – it’s an accident.  That’s why they’re called accidents.  Again – I was really glad to get out of there & back to our quiet home.  Teddy had some coke stashed & we partied when we got home.  I was glad he had thought ahead.

***

I’m down – I feel weighted down with heavy emotion – desires – longings.  Last night we were supposed to pick up an 8-ball – John Fleury was supposed to call & drop it off on his way to a wedding reception but that never happened.  Actually – I don’t care about that – I would have liked to have partied but on the other hand, I’m glad I got a good night’s sleep.  It’s everyone else – the constant phone calls – “Where is it?” – knowing that certain people think we’re dicking them around when actually we’re the ones being dicked around.  It’s the domino effect – & we’re the ones in the middle of the falling dominoes.

I laid in bed & fingered myself to orgasm & thought of Jesse.  Why does he want me sometimes & not other times?  When we got together the other day I thought I was going to die.  Oh – his magic dick.  I love how it feels in me! Dying dying dying for more.   Hating everything – having to work all day – never having enough time to meet a lover – well – I’m Teddy’s wife – guess a lover is not part of the picture anyway.  But it’s part of my picture!  I can’t help it – I’m horny – I’m horny almost all the motherfucking time!  I want a good fuck – I want his cock jamming inside of me!

I’m tired of working all the time.  I’m tired of never having enough money to buy a new outfit or even the trimmings to make a new outfit out of an old one.  Or even a desperately needed new pair of shoes – the ones I’m dancing in have holes in them – I’ve told Teddy over & over again that I have to have new shoes – but no, the money goes to drug deals or to car payments or rent or the fucking heating oil – always something other than me – & I’m the one making the money!  I have no say!  I’m so tired of this!

& now – after the other day – & I can’t believe it happened – after barely being with him all summer – waiting all fall – will it happen again?  The way he kissed me – only Jesse can kiss like that – I know he wants me as badly as I want him –

Stopping at the Parker Liquor Store & buying a jug of red wine before going to his rental on the West Side – vacant again – & making love for hours – he took a big swig of wine & let it dribble out of his mouth into mine & then all over my breasts & then he licked it off – oh – I am wet thinking about it – how I want him – I only want him!!   He is the only one!

***

I’m in the car – in the parking lot – waiting for Teddy – he’s in the bank, cashing a check.  Then we’re going to run a few errands – pay my doctor bill – buy some papers.  Tonight Bernie’s coming for supper again – Ariane’s out of town on business.  We’re having Mexican pork chops & rice.  I’m hungry right now!  I wouldn’t mind a Texas dog or something.

I wish Teddy would hurry up.

At Top’s.  Teddy is inside, paying the electric bill.  Next is the doctor’s, then back to Danielle’s – we bought her a pack of papers.  Then home – I can hardly wait.  I have so much I wanna do – so much I’ll probably not do.  I’ll end up smoking joints with Teddy & Bernie & instead of getting up & doing something all nice & stoned, I’ll melt into the couch, reading or doing crossword puzzles.

***

I’m not at work – I arranged not to go because of the big stag tonight – working 8-11 at the law office, 12-5 at The Canteen & then a stag tonight seemed a little much.  Especially since last night, I got very little sleep – although I didn’t know that when I asked for the hours off last week – but Thursday nights are generally sleepless due to the usual 8-ball deal & the subsequent late-night partying – it’s easy to figure on burned-out Friday mornings.  Teddy kinda floated off to work today – he says he didn’t sleep a wink last night.  I know I floated in & out of consciousness – which isn’t exactly sleeping.  Just now I started feeling sick.

OK.  That passed.  Last night I went out shopping & drinking with Crissy – it was so strange not being with Teddy.  I really missed him.  Everyone tells me we’re together too much – all my girlfriends are constantly asking me out – trying to get me out with the girls!  But I’d rather be with Teddy!  Even though I was having a good time, I was glad to get home & show Teddy what I bought – finally a new pair of shoes! – & a few other things.  He & Jesse were snorting coke when I got here.  I was so glad to see Jesse – oh, that man makes me so horny!  This morning, he stopped by to drop off money for a deal – I gave him a cup of coffee.  & sugar – lots of sugar!  The special kind of sugar – the kind that only I have! Just like Teddy, he hadn’t slept a wink last night – I had to laugh – I was the one out drinking!

Oh – time for a hot bath – I feel so divine – I love to get fucked in the morning!

***

Anaïs Nin, in the fourth volume of the Early Diary writes: “I adore, I worship Hugh with my body and soul.  But I have a surplus of affection, of enthusiasm, which is pent up because he does not need it all.”

That is exactly my relationship with Teddy.  Although we are closer than ever & spend more time together than most couples, there is so much inside of me – so much affection – so much good sex – so much more than Teddy needs or demands from me.  It’s such a drag to constantly need more – to always be horny – always wanting – satisfied for short moments only.

Sometimes I want so intensely – I can feel the kiss – the pressure of his lips – his tongue – the look in his blue eyes when he told me:  “I can hardly wait to get laid off – I want to fuck you every day –  or whenever it’s convenient for your sweet little cunt” – I am dying.  I am perpetually in heat.  It dominants me – whether I am in the law office – in the car – enjoying a moment with Teddy – dancing – I can’t escape it.  I love it – passion – desire – sweat – cum – the never-ceasing rhythm – the smells & sounds of lovemaking – the complete sensual life – oh what am I to do –

***

Another grey day.  Sitting at the bar at Falco’s, while my wash dries.  A great idea:  a Laundromat with a bar inside.  So while you fold your laundry, you can have a drink.  Actually, my wash is probably done – but I’ve got this drink to finish!

I feel good today.  I have a stag tonight & I can hardly wait.  Out in Angola-on-the-Lake – what a drag!  Oh well – we’ll have a good time partying on our way out there.  I’m dying to dance!

***

New Year’s Eve – getting ready for our party.  We’re so low on cash – last night Teddy poured over the list – trying to cut a few pennies here – save a dime there – so we’re not getting olives or vegies other than carrots & celery – he plans to buy the bargain blue cheese dressing instead of Marie’s.

I’ll be so glad when this season is over.  Party, party, party!  I need a few months of quiet – time to writer – sew – create art – rest.  I have no bookings for 1986 yet – but if 1986 is anything like 1985, I’ll be busy busy busy!

But at this point, I’m just looking forward to next week.  Last week I found a bunch of poems in a notebook I’d forgotten about – I want to work on them – get them typed up & done.  Writing is all I want to do in January.

Well, I have to go wash dishes – straightening up my dressing room – start moving around plants & books so they’re not damaged during tonight’s party.  & I have to bake a cake – January 1 is Jesse’s birthday – he doesn’t know it yet but tonight’s party is also going to be a birthday party for him.  I love him so much!

A wife may love her husband but nobody loves a man like a mistress does.

Excerpts From a Diary 27

[Summer, 1985]

Looking out the window in the big break room at the law office – everyone is still arriving – the parking lot next door is still filling up – I’m watching a guy walk by on the sidewalk downstairs – some homeless dude going to or coming from the City Mission – which is a few blocks away – work boots, baggy olive green work pants, maroon jacket, red & white baseball cap – then a black kid walks by, so pigeon-toed he has trouble walking in a straight line.  He keeps fading to the right.

Jesse just called.  Now that Doreen’s pregnant again he’s calling me all the time again.   I haven’t seen him alone since before New Year’s & whenever I do see him, it’s only when he comes over to do a deal with Teddy – they’re “all good” with each other again – of course they are – there’s money to be made, isn’t there.  Oh – I’m in one hell of a cynical mood today!  But even though Jesse calls me all the time, it’s not like he ever makes time for me – it’s the same fucking dynamic as Jon – he’s got a woman at home but he calls me to fool around on the phone.  Ya know – fuck that noise, man!  That’s not what I need – idiotic talk – I need to get really pounded – I haven’t gotten laid in forever.  But – I just found another dollar in my pocket.  Now I’m trying to figure out if I should spend it on a new record for the jukebox or have a drink with Mo or forget the money & call Jesse back & see if he wants to get together.  Ya know – he just might.  I’m just not sure that I’m in the mood for Jesse.  I would almost rather have a drink with Mo.  I don’t know what’s the matter with me today.

My moon’s in Libra today.  You can certainly tell – I keep weighing desires & things I might want to do & can’t make a decision!

***

Oh my God!  I lost my notebook!  I was dying!  Like – where’s my security blanket –

***

I’m tired.  I’m still recovering from the weekend.  I got annihilated at work on Thursday – plus I had a stag that night – I was sick all day on Friday – I even called off work at The Canteen – only my second time in three years.  I couldn’t stop throwing up.  I had to drag myself downtown to the law office to get my paycheck – I looked & felt like a junkie.  At the bank – I was in line to get it cashed & I had to go outside to get sick in a newspaper.  Naturally by late afternoon I felt good enough to snort more coke & party again.  On Saturday I had three stag parties – two of them ended in fights.  Neither of them involved Teddy or me but they stopped the shows.  When I told Paulie about it the next morning, he said it was the full moon – he said that there’s always triple the amount of arrests on a full moon.  Sunday night I had another stag – with Gigi, Havana & Oralie.  They were all turning tricks.  Listening to them talk, I learned a lot about the everyday, nitty-gritty mundane business of tricking.  Like – johns expect your house to be clean or else they won’t pay as much.  I had never thought of that.  Of course my house is always clean so that’s not even an issue in my life.  Also Havana makes her johns use rubbers!  That flipped me out!  I mean, yuck!  Rubbers suck!  But on the other hand, it makes sense!  You never know what these guys might have – if they’re fucking these girls, they might be fucking anyone at all.  It made me really think.  Like – who is Jesse fucking when he’s not fucking me?  Ya know?   I don’t mean Doreen – she doesn’t count.  I mean – are there other girls?  Is that why I hardly ever see him anymore?

I didn’t get to bed until 2:30 a.m. Monday & I had the alarm set for 6 a.m.  I remember it going off – but I passed right out again – waking up at a quarter to 8 & panicking.  Teddy & I both ran out the door.  I felt tired & achy all day – my stomach hurt – just burned out after a weekend of intense partying.  All my weekends are like this.  I just wish I didn’t feel so burned out for days afterward.

***

Here I am, sitting at a table in the lounge at the law office, with a cup of tea – making out a list of things I need to do after work & I want to cry cuz it seems unfair that I have to work so hard to get a few days off & why do I have to feel so yicky when there’s so much to do!!

Ah, but this first sip of tea is so soothing – on my nerves as well as my throat.  The decongestants are kicking in – at least I’m not blowing my nose every 3 seconds!  But I still don’t feel like working.  I would like to stretch out on the couch or in bed & somewhere & maybe fall asleep – just shut off for a while.  Eventually be seduced.  Slowly. Sweetly.  Sincerely.  I wonder if I call Jesse – would he want to get together later?  I wonder if he’s working?  Probably.  But maybe he’ll take a long lunch.

***

At The Canteen.  Why am I so anxious?  What’s the matter with me?  Is competition eating me up or is there really a reason? – I know there isn’t.

I was eating a ham & cheese sandwich at the bar & Gigi did a swimming pool act & I felt terrible!  I watched & thought – I can do it 10 times better than that!  More sensuous.  More serious.  Well not always – sometimes I laugh just like Gigi did.  But I felt bad – I know I’m a better dancer than she is & I’m certainly way more beautiful than she is – she’s pretty but she’s fat –  let’s face it.  Guys love her giant tits but she’s got a giant gut to go with them.  She’s one big girl all the way around.  Big body – big boobs – big laugh.  She’s a bump & grind type of dancer & of course I can do that, too.  But Gigi can’t do the subtle stuff.  She can’t dance to Linda Ronstadt’s covers of “What’s New” or “I’ve Got a Crush on You” – she can’t move her body in that slow, jazzy way.  It’s beyond her.  Actually – I don’t like using props – like the swimming pool – I only do it because John Canton likes that kind of thing – I think it’s a pain in the ass, actually.  I don’t mind doing floor routines – I bought myself a big blue blanket for them – but as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing sexier than a slow dance – even if you never take anything off at all.  You do it all with your eyes.

Oh – what is the matter with me?  It sounds like I’m a petty & vain kind of person.  I’m not that kind of person.  & everyone knows I’m the star.  Why am I acting like this?

Any other dancer would have left town by this point.  Gone to Canada – gone out West – most of the dancers I started with are dancing somewhere else.  Of course most of them were biker chicks & it’s easy – when your old man is with a motorcycle club – to pick up & leave when he’s on the road all the time, too.  All those girls travel light – they don’t have hundreds of books like I do – they don’t have a home like I do. How am I supposed to leave when I have Teddy – & Jesse too?  & girls like Leandra – she’s still in town but she just had a baby – Teddy & I went over to her place the other day to pick up acid for camping at Stoneybrook State Park & she had the little guy on her lap – David, his name is – she had a new tattoo of his name in Harley wings on her chest – he was naked & as we sat & talked, he got a little hard-on & started to pee – & she held out her hand & caught the stream of pee in her cupped hand.  I never would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

Katie – “Kitty Kat” – graduated from college & nobody’s seen her since – I ran into Margie tending bar at a small Riverside tavern where I was doing a stag one night & she complained bitterly about how Katie “abandoned” her after she became a computer programmer – “Like she didn’t know me at all,” she said.  “We were best friends.  We roomed together, we were on the circuit together, traveled all over the country together.  & now she won’t answer my calls – she changed even changed her number to an unlisted number!”

I heard Stormy was murdered in a knife fight in a strip club in Pittsburgh – I don’t know if that true – it is definitely true that Misty was murdered by her boyfriend but he got off – since she was “just” a dancer & a prostitute – never mind that he turned her out & made her stay out until she made so much money a night sucking cock & beat the shit out of her if she didn’t produce.  Laura Lee got her nursing degree & is working at Buffalo General but she still comes around & parties.  Kendra went to San Francisco with a rich older woman.  & I’m still here.  Charlene had her baby & hooked up with a Erie County Sheriff & moved out to North Collins.  I’m still here.  & like I said – I would leave – but I can’t.

***

The day after my 25th birthday.  We came home from Stoneybrook State Park late Saturday afternoon – I did two stags Saturday night & two last night.  I didn’t want to go to work this morning but Teddy ragged at me so much that I went & I ended up being very glad that I did.  Anna brought in a cake that she made, a nice card, a tape she made of new tunes & two large photographs of me she took several years ago.  She’s a really good photographer.  & the tapes have some tunes that I happened to hear on the radio when we were camping – two by this band called Lone Justice – I really like “Ways to be Wicked” – I want to add it to my set.  I also love Alison Moyet – “Honey for the Bees” is exactly the kind of tune I want for my set!  I’m so glad – I needed some new music to pump up my sets.  Teddy is always telling me that they’re fine “the way they are” but I think that you always have to be changing things to keep them interesting.

In all I received lots of nice presents – but it was a much quieter birthday than previous ones.  Last night at work, they opened a bottle of champagne for me & we were all doing shots of vodka gimlets.  But I really took it pretty easy this weekend.  I was so deliriously tired – especially Saturday night.  No cocaine – the first weekend in months.  I never realized how much I depended on it to keep going.

***

No joints!!   I’m going nuts!  Bouncing off the walls!

***

At the law office.  Anna’s late – or maybe I’m early.  I couldn’t believe all the green lights I got on my way here.  Anyway, I’m standing by the phones on the second floor, waiting for her.

***

Last week I started to write but things got in the way – this is the first moment I’ve had alone in a while – at least that I felt like writing –

I’m sitting in my car – Teddy s getting money to get some weed.  We’re on a lovely gravel dead-end road off Niagara Falls Boulevard – very rural – houses along the canal.  It’s a warm day – sunny.  Buttercups growing along the side of the road.

I was in a poetry reading at Neitzsche’s last week Thursday – Jon called & said that Harry G. was trying to get in touch with me.  I called Harry & left a message on his machine & later he got back to me, inviting me to read.  I loved it & I think I was well received – I wore tight jeans & a black lace t-shirt & my red pumps – nothing like what anyone else was wearing – I sipped a vodka gimlet as I read – oh here’s Teddy.

***

Oh – I thought I would have to buy a new notebook but thank god last week Lynnette picked you up & yesterday she gave it to me when she came into The Canteen at 5.  I was so happy – I felt so lost all week without my notebook.  Even if I barely write at all, I want to be able to carry it around – my security blanket.

Lynnette was the best person to pick up my notebook – she write too & she respects privacy.  Although it really wouldn’t have mattered if she had read it – this diary has very little writing & mostly lists.

Teddy & I had a really excellent weekend in Sherkston – camped at the edge of the beach – but here in town we’re arguing again.  He says it’s my drinking – it’s gonna break us up.  I didn’t say – but I think it’s true – it’ll only happen if he lets it happen.  His temper is as dangerous as my liking for vodka – although I do like vodka & soda, I don’t drink as often or as much as he says I do –  he makes it sound like I binge everyday – sun-up to sun-down.  I couldn’t do that if I tried.  My body can’t handle that.  I get drunk on Thursdays – that’s really it.  He says he’s “only reacting” to my “actions” but I call it over-reacting.  He’s just sick of me partying with the boys – flirting & doing shots.  Well I don’t blame him there.  I’d rather party with Teddy than with anyone else.  But what the hell am I supposed to do in that bar all day?  Who sits in a bar & doesn’t drink?  & it’s what I’m paid to do!  When we’re at Sherkston, it’s drink drink drink – but Teddy says that’s different.  Well, of course it is.  It’s ok if I’m drinking with him.  He just doesn’t want me drinking with anyone else.  I don’t see the fucking difference.  Drinking is drinking.

***

Searched at the border – coming back into the US.  With Teddy’s record, delays are inevitable.  But they never found the joint I had nestled in between my labia lips – in a baggie, of course – although they patted me down.  They checked us out pretty good – searched the entire truck – separated us for questioning – the whole 9 yards.

Flew into town – got Teddy’s paychecks – went to Wegman’s – filled the truck with gas.  Now we’re at Tom’s – for cocaine & weed – whoo-hoo!  We have to go to the meat market, Consumer’s, Doug & Danielle’s, TripleD International, Bernie’s, Jesse’s – make deliveries & pay off our debts while we have money – then fly back to Canada.

***

Tired.  Burned out.  Getting off on acid.  Everyone’s at Wayne Johnson’s wedding except Teddy & me & Doug & Danielle’s dog Daisy.  I really wanted to go but everyone is here at Sherkston & someone had to stay here with all the campers & with the dog.  Teddy doesn’t mind but I do – I love weddings & I do like Wayne – I worked his stag a month ago & I would have loved to have been at the wedding.  It seems like I’m at all the underground events & never get to go to the real ones.

I’m so horny – I’m depressed – I woke up in tears after dreaming about sex all night.  I’m feeling better now that I’m getting off although I’m hornier than ever.  I know I won’t get anything from Teddy – it’s been months – of course it’s summer & Jesse is working all the time & so I don’t get to see him either.  Although every time he comes to the house, he makes it plain that he wants me.  I mean – big deal if you can’t or won’t make it happen, ya know?

Last night was really stormy.  I saw some fabulous bolts of lightning over the lake.  I was so tired though – I had worked at The Canteen– after a night/day of total delirium & little sleep.  I did well though – $50 in tips.  My horniness always pays off – onstage at least.

Today is windy – cloudy – sunny – thundering in the distance.  The weather report said to watch for a huge storm late this afternoon.  I hope so – I love storms – then I hope the weather calms down for our last night here.  I have a stag tomorrow night.

***

Twilight – the hills across the lake are deep purple – shrouded in lavender mist – the lake, faintly rippling, reflects pink, gold, lavender, several shades of blue – everything is calm & expectant before nightfall, darkness, the full moon.

***

The beach at its height.  I’m really sad we’re leaving cuz here we are in the midst of everything – heat, oiled bodies, cool cars, a hundred sound systems playing a hundred different tunes – it’s great.

On the other hand – I’m homesick – plus I have stags tonight & a family picnic at Letchworth State Park tomorrow – Mom & Bob are up from Cleveland – so as great as it is here – I’m always happy to go home.  I need a decent night’s sleep before I see everyone – Jesse – & Doreen with her giant belly – brings back that I can’t have children because of my dancing career – as much as I would love to have them.  & Jesse & I would have such beautiful children!  Our bone structures are compatible – unlike his & Doreen’s.  Zach is a sweet child but he looks like a cabbage patch kid.  I mean – I guess that’s ok if you like cabbage patch kids – but I don’t personally find them particularly endearing or even very cute.

Also I can hardly wait to see Gigi – I’ve really missed her.  I want to tell her about Tom – our new coke & weed guy – I’m really into him.  I would so like to fuck him!  But I never will.  It’s not good business to fuck a connection.  But it’s fun talking to Gigi about  it!

***

Sitting at the bar at Murphy’s, having a beer before I go next door to work.  Ruthie behind the bar – Marian sitting at the other end.  Mo’s already next door.  We always meet here to have a drink before our shift.  Ruthie worked with Mo years ago – they were both dancers – back in the late ’60’s, early ’70’s – they both say it was a much better time to be dancing than it is now.  I believe it.  I think it was a much better time back then in general.  Marian is almost 70 – she’s a really great old babe.  She’s here every day at opening for her morning martini.

I saw Marian one Saturday night – Teddy & I were going from one stag to another – travelling on Delaware Ave. & at the intersection at Hertel, Marian was crossing – totally drunk, dropping something & trying to pick it up without falling over – “Hey, I know her,” I said to Teddy.

“That drunk old babe?” Teddy grinned – or grimaced – not bothering to keep the disdain out of his voice.

Drunk old babe?  Will I be that way?  I hope not – but who knows.  I like to get drunk & getting old is inevitable.

***

Labor Day weekend.  At Sherkston.  Storm time.  It was cool & cloudy when we woke up – we took a tour of the park – smoked two joints & bought a paper – all the while noticing the every-darkening clouds & the ever-growing raindrops.  Now it’s really coming down.  No thunder or lightning – although you can hear it on the radio – the static it creates.  We haven’t had a decent thunderstorm all summer.  I mentioned this to Janice – the girl camped next to us – & her husband – of 13 years! – Dwayne.  They must have gotten married when they were in junior high or something, they’re so young.  They have 3 kids.  They’re from Fort Erie, although Dwayne’s originally from Buffalo.

Time to make breakfast – pancakes, Canadian bacon, apples, coffee, tea.

***

I just woke up a little while ago.  After breakfast I got a horrendous migraine – the left side of my head was totally throbbing with pain – so I went back to bed.  Teddy puttered around – cleaning up around the trailer – the cooler – killing a bunch of troublesome bees.  He was getting really lonely & bored by the time I woke up.

I still feel like I’m sleeping.  We just had a sandwich & a joint & now it’s time to go out in the new rubber raft, which we bought at Washington Army Surplus downtown.  Teddy’s wanted one for years.  & of course Teddy gets what Teddy wants.

***

The moon just appeared – big, bright, deep yellow – a true harvest moon.  All around it are wispy clouds.  It’s certainly a lot clearer than last night.

Last night was fun.  We partied with Dwayne & Janice – rather, they partied here with us – we have the fireplace – & their friends from Buffalo – Brian & Mel – showed up.  Tonight Brian reappeared with two large bottles of vodka, a bag of weed & 12 ears of corn.

Teddy has the football game on the radio.  The wind seems to be shifting directions & I’m getting smoke in my eyes.

***

Labor Day.  Naturally the nicest day all week is the day we have to leave.  I have everything packed up & in the bed of the truck or stored in the trailer.  We have only to finish cleaning the trailer, collapse it, smoke a farewell joint & go.  Teddy’s stalling, puttering around.  He wants to stay until 4 p.m. or so – I’m dying to get going.  I can’t help it – I love it here & I’m sad to go but I can hardly wait to get home & get unpacked & into the tub!  I feel so yicky – I haven’t washed my hair or shaved since Thursday – I’ve been sponge-bathing & washing my face with Seabreeze – & I feel so yicky & awful I could die.  My hair has long since stopped feeling like hair – I’m not sure what it feels like – soft, tough straw or something.

I’m just tired – tired from camping – tired from partying day after day – tripping – too much alcohol – cocaine – a million joints – I need some quiet time in my bathtub – the water as hot as I can make it & nice soft soap sweet & fragrant.

***

It’s so good to be home – we finally arrived about 2 ½ hours ago – I made tacos then finally got into the tub – it felt so good!  & washing my hair – I was in heaven!

I brought calendar up to date – within 45 minutes of being home, I booked two stags for September 21.  The phone must have been ringing off the wall all week.  We’ve got to get an answering machine!  It’ll pay for itself!  A better investment than all these stupid drugs!

***

Almost 3 p.m.  Man, I’m pissed!  I took the laundry to the Laundromat – put in two loads – then went to the store.  When I returned, they were both done – except one was half-full with water.  I told the attendant & she asked, “Did you put any more money in?”  I said, “I don’t have any more money.”  I mean, I had to scrounge up the 75 cents per load as it was.  So she came over & re-ran it.

What a colossal waste of time!  I ran home & put the one load into my dryer & put away my groceries & I’ll have to go back to get the other load later.

I’m sick of this shit – I wish Teddy would get my washer fixed.  I’m so sick of running to the Laundromat every week – spending money I’d rather spend on singles for the jukebox & lottery tickets.  I’m sick of the fucking inconvenience.  I just have too many things to do & not enough time to do them.

***

Earl’s been transferred to Fort Worth, Texas – today we had lunch for the last time – we went to The Eagle House on Main Street in Williamsville – & then went to Isle Park across the street & drank a bottle of champagne – which honestly tasted like apple cider – then I went to The Canteen & finished off the drunk I’d started – Mo was mixing up killer whiskey sours – I’m really gonna miss him – he’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had.

***

At the Canteen.  Sitting at the bar.  Teena’s not here – she called at 11:30 to say she would be a half-hour late, which was over an hour ago already.  Darcy’s all pissed off but only because I doubt we’ll get extra pay for dancing extra sets while Teena’s not here – I’m not happy about it either but so fucking what.  I mean, that’s life.  I think Darcy’s really upset because she’s fighting with her man & Teena being late has nothing to do with it.

Shirley’s here – time to put the notebook away.  She gets really pissed when she sees me writing at the bar.

***

I had an interesting little conversation with my boss, Edmund Durant – the second of the three partners.  In the course of talking about writing, the subject of my dancing came up & he was quite interesting – well, he’s a man, of course he’s interested.  Unlike the other two partners, he’s never been to The Canteen & never seen me dance.  He wanted to know if I would dance for the law firm – like at a partners’ meeting & a few select “special” clients – he had to be joking – adding to his proposal, “Unless you would be embarrassed.”  “Not especially,” I answered, laughing, “but you might be.” “I don’t think any of us would be,” he replied. “Well, I’ll give you my card,” I told him.  “You do that,” he answered.

Later, when I was leaving, he was standing by the back door with a lady I didn’t know – his wife? – & he reminded me about my card.  But I have yet to give it to him.  I’m not sure if that’s a good idea.  I mean – since I’ve started here – 2 years ago – the subject of my dancing has never come up.  Anna – my direct supervisor – knows about it, of course – because I have to change my schedule at times to accommodate my changing dancing schedule & because if I know I’m going to be out late doing a stag, I call off “ahead of time” because I know I won’t be able to make it in the next morning.  That way, I can arrange to make up the hours ahead of time & it’s no big deal.  So the department knows ahead of time & nobody is put out.  The whole thing is to get the work done & get it done well.  I don’t know if I like the idea of mixing my dancing career with my job at the law office.  I really don’t think it’s a good idea.  I like keeping my various lives separate.

***

My car is in the shop – I don’t know what’s the matter – something with the steering – or the front right wheel – it feels like I’m driving a bumper car in an amusement park!  & I hate the bumper cars!  It just started doing this today.  But I can’t drive it – it’s unsafe.  So tomorrow I have to drive Teddy to work – then drive downtown – then leave at 1 p.m. & run back out to Tonawanda & pick up Teddy – run run run –

***

Beautiful weather lately – mid to high 70’s – sunny – nights cool & excellent for sleeping.

I’m having a glass of milk & a joint – getting ready for bed.

***

At the law office – I’m early – I left the house early partly because I was ready & partly because traffic has been really heavy lately so naturally today it wasn’t!  I took a little cruise down Fillmore Avenue – up Smith Street – all around that neighborhood.  There are some old, old buildings there.  I could cruise around & look at buildings all day.

I have to write a note to Anna explaining next week’s schedule changes.

***

At The Canteen.  In the dressing room.  Not my normal shift – no one to talk to!  All my regular customer are afternoon people – if we weren’t going to Watkins Glen tomorrow, I wouldn’t be working – I worked yesterday too – 12-5.  I’m not used to being here so early in the week.

I’m working with Lena & “Rock’n’Roll” Sue – real nice girls but typical dancers – light on intellect.

And Shirley’s in her usual charming mood – you know –

I really would like to take my notebook out to the bar & sit & write but if I did, some customer would sidle up to me & want to know what I was writing – like it was any of their fucking business!  Oh I supposed you shouldn’t sit at the bar with a notebook –especially if you’re a star like me – it’s just – even if I don’t write – don’t even open it up – it’s like sitting with someone friendly – a good friend – sitting with my notebook –

But.  It’s nice seeing Lena again – she just got back from Reno & other places out West – she & her sister Mira went out there more or less with Rick James – I know they were both seeing him years ago but I didn’t know they were travelling with him – Lena said that Mira is still out there & making “loads” of money in the clubs out there – I don’t know why she came back – if there’s so much money to be made out there, why would you come back here to make no more than $10 an hour plus your tips?  But who knows.

***

At the law office.  Boy, I got pretty wasted last night – came home & pigged out on tacos & chocolates!  I’m amazed I feel as good as I do today – I hope a hangover doesn’t creep up on me or something.  My head does feel kinda fuzzy – but that’s not unusual!

Today’s the day we go to Watkins Glen!  I get out at 11 – run a few errands – then home to get ready.  It’s supposed to rain – I hope we can get the trailer packed before it does – or gets too heavy.  I hope it doesn’t rain all weekend but with Hurricane Gloria moving up the coast, I’ll be amazed if it doesn’t.

Well, no one’s here yet but I should get to work anyway.  Work makes the time fly!  Well – usually!

***

Watkins Glen Racetrack.  Hurricane Gloria moved up the coast last night from North Carolina, hitting Virginia Beach, Atlantic City, New York City – New England’s probably getting it now.  It started raining last night around 1 a.m. – it poured all night – it’s still raining now, although not as hard.  The wind’s really wild.  Our awning is valiantly hanging in there.  I expected to find it torn off this morning.

We went into town for breakfast – it’s supposed to rain all day & I figured it would be good to get out.  Also we wanted a newspaper.  We ate at Savone’s Family Restaurant.  It was OK – not great – they used cheapo margarine & the sausages weren’t cooked enough.  We read the Elmira Daily – published by Gannett – & was amazed at the junkiness of it.  One article in particular – a front-page story about the hurricane – could have been written by a sixth-grader.  There is no way that writer could ever be hired by the Buffalo News.

The cars are flying around the track.  I love that sound.  They look so cool with the rain streaming behind them – “rooster-tail,” Teddy calls it.  Actually – although we’re camping & it’s raining – two things that really don’t go together too well – it’s really a nice day.  The sky is totally intense & the wet leaves look ten times as colorful & bright as they would normally.  But the day is really a drag.  Stuck inside the trailer all day – ultra damp – chilly – Teddy can’t get the furnace going because of the wind.  I would read but Teddy won’t shut up & I can’t concentrate.

Teddy got the furnace lit – I went outside & held the pizza pan over the vent so no air could get in.  Now we’re sitting inside – getting warmer – while the storm rages outside – the Grateful Dead on the radio – “Somebody likes me,” I said – Teddy’s measuring a half a gram into the vial.  Talk about driving that train!

***

The rain stopped & the wind died down somewhat.  All afternoon we sat in Bernie’s coach, playing Trivial Pursuit with Bernie & Ariana & Bernie & Tina – Bernie & Ariana’s guests.  Teddy & I won.  We’d never played before but it was easy to catch onto.  Because of my constant reading of everything I lay my hands on & Teddy’s knowledge of sports & automotives & all things machinery, we blew the other two couples away.

We’re making a fire.  Doug & Danielle should be getting here soon.

***

Saturday morning at Watkins Glen.  Sun already totally warm – they’re saying a high of 75.  We’ve got Formula-Ones flying around the track – the two Bernies on top of Bernie’s coach – spectators lining up in front of me.  This one group – looks like Ma & Pa & their grown-up son – Ma looks like Mrs. Methodist Church – she has on a white crocheted hat, navy blue pants, a quilted nylon coat – she has frizzy hair & silver glasses – not what you expect a racing fan to look like – but she’s watching each car go by – nudging her old man, making remarks & pointing out the merits of each car.  The husband & son are each wearing brand new Camel GT baseball caps.

Boy, when the sun goes behind a cloud, it gets cool real fast!  I have to get my jacket.

***

What a beautiful day for the races.  We’re all on top of Bernie’s mini-home, watching the cars go by – smoking joints & drinking.  We put on of the stereo speakers up here so we could hear the broadcast but when one or more cars go by, it’s impossible to hear anything anyway.  Last night we all drew two car numbers out of a hat – one of my cars #2 Porsche Marche – hot pink – collided with Ariana’s at the beginning of the race – reappeared for a lap – all patched up – & hasn’t been seen since.  My other car – #22 Chevy Marche – also hot pink – is also missing.  Teddy’s cars are doing well.

It’s such a lovely day.  Since 10:30 this morning – when I took my shower in Bernie & Ariana’s coach – oh, what a joy to wash my hair – I’ve been wearing shorts but I just changed into jeans since in the last half-hour the wind’s come up a little – enough to make it a little chilly.  I packed all our clothing & toiletries.  Now all I have to do – whenever I feel like it – is pack the foodstuffs & kitchen wares.  I like to do my work in little bits – then there’s never a lot to do.

Got quite a nice buzz on.  Teddy & I are saving the rest of the coke for the ride home since I remember last year – falling asleep on the ride home – both of us totally wishing we had saved even a quarter gram!  No – we have even more than that this year & even money!  We’ve come up in the world!

Well – we have.  We’ve both been working our butts off.  I’m the focal point of the business, of course! – but Teddy’s influence is not to be understated.  I couldn’t do it without him.  Well – I could do it – but not the volume – not the quality.

Lord – the sun feels nice!

***

As soon as the race was over, the whole area thinned out almost immediately.  Our suppers over, Teddy & I are almost completely packed up.  I have to help him take down the awning.

A minute later.  I know as soon as I get into my writing here, he’s going to want me to do something else.  A campsite nearby is playing Marshall Tucker tunes – from over the hill, I can hear Heart.  There’s still a lot of people here – mostly packing up but still partying – it’s the day crowd that’s gone.  Myself – I can hardly wait to leave.  I can’t help it!  Long way to travel tonight & unpacking when we get home.  I wanna get to it!  Before I tire out!

***

Very late at night.  We just got home.  Our answering machine is blinking & it’s filled with messages.  I knew that this thing would pay off.  I sit & listening to messages & jot down phone numbers & names as I hear them so I can call guys back – of course they’re all guys wanting to hire me for parties – tomorrow.  There’s quite a list & I feel really good about that.

The last message on the machine was from Jesse.  “Hey Cori, Teddy – Doreen just had a baby girl – call me when you get in – ”

I decided I would call him in the morning.  The very first call.

Excerpts From a Diary 25

[Fall, 1984]

It’s been the craziest summer.  I don’t think I’ve ever worked this much.  The law office, the clubs, the stag parties.  Plus camping at Sherkston & doing whatever Teddy wants me to do.  It’s very exhausting.

& whenever Jesse wants me – I go over to his apartment on the West Side. It’s “our” apartment now. That’s obvious – he hasn’t rented it & he’s even gotten a few piece of furniture for it so we can hang out when we’re there.  Sometimes I fantasize that it’s our actual home – that we’re actually together – man & wife kind of together.   I can’t help myself.  I hate my life – I hate how I have no control over anything – I hate how I’m married to a guy who doesn’t want to fuck me – I hate how I’m in love with a guy who is never gonna leave his wife.

***

I’ve been writing a lot of poems – working on ones that I wrote last summer – mostly about Jesse – but also poems about dancers – one about that new girl, Charlene – & one about that girl Stormy, who was around for a little while & then moved on – like so many of the biker-chick dancers do – that poem needs a lot of work.  I’ve also been working on poems about other dancers – ones about Margie & Katie – “KittieKat” – but they’re not as good – it’s funny how poems are – either they work or they don’t.

Most poems I jot down in the notebook I carry with me everywhere I go but sometimes I use whatever I have at hand – bevnaps – bar checks – stationary from the law office – I stick them into my notebook & hope I don’t lose them.  Sometimes I stick them into an envelope – that’s a good way to keep everything together.

Most of the poems about Jesse are about longing to be with him – or about how wonderful it is when I am with him.  Although I think the longing ones are better.  It’s great to write erotic love poems but I don’t think they’re very good.  I feel the emotion but it doesn’t translate very well onto the paper.  Maybe I’m just not a very good writer.

***

Frank Dormer – one of the regulars at The Canteen – is having a party down at his hunting camp in Ellicottville – only a “select” group of people from the bar are being invited & I’m one of them!  Of course Teddy is going too – we’re taking our tent-camper down so we have somewhere to sleep – Frank said there wasn’t enough bunks for everyone – Mo & her husband Duke will sleep on the other side.  I’m giving up several parties to be down there that night but I could really use the rest.

We drove down there & it was the most perfect day.   Cattaraugus County is gorgeous in the fall anyway & it’s the height of the fall foliage.  We missed the road several times but finally found it.  Frank was already there & so was Tex & her doofus of a husband – Ron – & Ramon, the bouncer from the bar – he’s leaving for the Army real soon.  Mo & Duke showed up soon afterward.  I think there were more people invited but either they couldn’t find the place or they just didn’t show.

It was the best time!  Hamburgs & hotdogs on the grill & lots of munchies & I brought my homemade potato salad & brownies & of course we were all drinking.  Naturally, Teddy had plenty of weed & later on we dropped acid – not the usual “going to see God” amounts he likes to do but just enough to see trails & laugh a lot – like I like.   I had the best talk with Frank.  He used to be a Roman Catholic priest!  Ya know – he still dresses somewhat like a priest – always in black – although he was wearing a red & black Buffalo plaid wool shirt over his black clothes – but there is something very “man of the cloth” about him – I found myself confessing all about Jesse to him – I haven’t told anyone about the affair – although Frank told me that it was “obvious” that something was going on with Jesse & me.  I said, “Ya know, I really love Teddy but he’s more like my brother than my husband.”  “That’s not good,” he said, “not good at all.”

I asked him, “Why did you leave the priesthood?”

He tickled my knee. “I liked the ladies too much.”  He said he became a priest & was a Navy chaplain during the Korean War & felt like he was doing “good work” while he was in the service but when he became a civilian & a parish priest, he just lost his calling.  After he left the priesthood, he got married & had two sons.  He owns a printing press & his sons – both older than me – help him run it.  He’s read my poetry & thinks I should write a book.  “You’re a very talented writer,” he told me.

We were up almost all night & then next morning made breakfast over the fire & hung out listening to the Bills game on the radio.  It was a glorious day.  I really hated to come back home.  I love it down there.   Tex & Ron left early but Mo & Duke hung around & we really hit it off – I hope we can party together again soon.  I really like Mo – she’s really one of the reasons I stick around at The Canteen – most of the other girls are going over the border & working at the clubs in Canada now.   Supposedly they make more money up there – it’s all nude – but you have to get working papers & I don’t want to deal with any of that nor do I want to cross the border when I go to work.  I mean – it may be the friendliest border in the world but it’s still an international border.  & if you get in trouble up there, you’re in a foreign country.  & let’s face it – you party in a strip joint.  & that’s not exactly a safe environment.  I feel safe at The Canteen.

***

OH MY GOD.  I was in the kitchen after supper – just doing dishes – nothing special – & Teddy comes up behind me & tickles me, which I hate – if I have told him once, I have told him a hundred times, never fucking tickle me – & I swirled around & almost slapped him – but I didn’t.  I just laughed it off like I laugh everything off.  So then – he put his hands in the back pockets of my jeans – for who knows what reason – & I had a bar check in there with a few lines written on it – the beginning of a poem – just something I had been thinking about the other day – & at the bottom, I had written “I know a man named Jesse” – usually I don’t name Jesse in any of the poems I write about him.  But I was really depressed & I don’t ever expect any of my writings to fall into Teddy’s hands.

He was holding the piece of paper.  “Are you in love with Jesse?” he asked.

“He’s my best friend,” I hedged.

“I thought I was,” he countered.

“Well you are,” I said, “but so is Jesse.”  I went on, a little too hurriedly, “I can tell Jesse things I can’t tell anyone else.  There’s just something about him.  I don’t know what it is.  He’s easy.”

“& I’m not?”

“Well – not always.”  I hesitated.  “You’re demanding.  I mean – that’s a good thing, ya know?  Cuz you make me a better person with your demands.  But Jesse – Jesse accepts me as I am.  That’s a whole different thing.”

I don’t think he bought it.  & now I have to worry – worry – worry.

***

I told Jesse about what happened with Teddy.  “I knew something like this was going to happen sooner or later,” he said.  “I can’t believe we’ve gone this long without him catching on.”

“Or Doreen catching on,” I said.

“Oh she knows I’m seeing someone,” he replied breezily, “but she doesn’t know who.”

“Really.”  This was news to me.

“As long as I come home at night & pay the bills & don’t rock the boat, she’s not going to say a word to me.”  He sounded quite confident.

“I hope you’re right.”

“Oh, I know I’m right.  She wants a father for her children & she wants more children.  That’s really the only reason she wants to fuck, whereas you,” he pulled me to him with his strong arms, “you want to fuck because you are one passionate woman.”  & he started kissing me – which ended the conversation.

But later on, he said, “I’ve known Teddy a long time & he’s not going to stop asking you about me.  He’s like a dog with a bone.  You really should think about your options.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well – you’re not really happy with him, are you?  Why are you staying with him?  Why don’t you leave him?  You don’t need him.  You make enough money to support yourself.  You could rent this place from me & live by yourself & I could visit whenever I want – it would be the perfect set-up.  & then you could go back to school – get your degree – go to law school, get a real job – end this dancing business – it’s great now but you can’t do it forever – & honestly, I really don’t like the idea of all those guys lusting over my woman.”

I really liked the idea of Jesse thinking of me as his woman.  That made me feel really good.  It wasn’t until later on – much later on – when I was in bed, next to Teddy – who was dead asleep, quietly snoring the way he does – that I realized that I would be living alone – while Jesse was still living with Doreen.  I mean – what kind of set-up is that?

But maybe he means to leave her in the future?  & be with me?

***

It gets better & better.  Teddy was waiting for me when I got home from The Canteen this evening.  Thank heaven I wasn’t really fucked up.  I was drunk enough & of course I had been doing coke.  But I wasn’t wasted or anything.  So I was able to think relatively straight.  Thank you, Jesus!  But he was in a rage.  Really bad – I’ve never seen him like this.  “You are having an affair with Jesse!” he crowed. “With one of my best friends!  With your own step-brother!  That’s practically incest!”

“But it’s not,” I argued.  “We’re not blood at all.”

“I can’t believe this is happening,” he moaned.  “Ya know, someone called me.  I don’t even know who.  But he was there today, wasn’t he?  Someone anonymous called me & told me that you were sitting with him at the club & it was obvious that you are very close.”

“So fucking what?”  I wasn’t having any of that.  “I sit with lots of guys – that’s my fucking job.”

“No no no no,” he insisted.  “You wouldn’t sit with anyone else.  You were turning down drinks from other guys & only sitting with Jesse – right?  Admit it – you’re in love with him.  Admit it.  Admit it!”

By this point – I was pretty pissed off.  I mean – I had worked at the law office in the morning & then worked an afternoon shift at The Canteen & then stopped at the B-Kwik & picked up some groceries & I was hungry & tired.  I wanted a hot bath & my bed & my book.  I lost it.  I really did.  Who the fuck was he – when I was making most of the money anyway – who was he to ask me any questions at all?

I should have said, “I admit nothing,” & regally gone off to run my bath.  But I was drunk & pissed off.  I said, “Yes, goddammit!  I’m in love with him!  I’ve been love with him for years!  Now leave me the fuck alone!”  I left the groceries on the kitchen counter & went back out.

I went to Falco’s.  I ordered two roast beef on wecks & got myself a Labatt’s Blue.  While the sandwiches were being made, I went to the phone booth & called Jesse.  “Please pick up,” I prayed.  Thankfully, he did.  “Someone – I don’t know who – probably from the club – called Teddy & told him that we’re having an affair & he’s super pissed off.”

“I know, he just called me,” he answered.  “He wants me to stop seeing you.”

“What did you say?”

“That I would.”

I thought that my entire life had ended.  I was totally shattered.  “Jesse – ”

“Cori,” he said quickly, “I had to say something.  & I don’t want to lose his friendship or his business.  I don’t want to lose you either.  Don’t worry.  We’ll figure something out.  I can’t talk right now.  But don’t worry, ok?”  He hung up.

I sucked down my beer & had another one & a shot of Crown Royal.  “Feeling ok, Cori?” asked Anthony Falco, who was tending bar.

“Yeah, I’m ok,” I smiled.  “Just a little stressed – it’s been a long day.  Thanks for asking.”

When I got home, Teddy was smoking a joint & he was considerably calmer.  “Well, I talked to Jesse & he said he’s going to stop seeing you,” he announced.

“I know, I talked to him too,” I answered.

He was immediately angry again.  “What, you go to the bar for sandwiches & you call him?”

“Well, you called him as soon as I was gone,” I countered.  “Listen Teddy, I don’t want to argue about this anymore.  It’s over – let’s eat our dinner & be friends again.”  I hoped that was the end of it.

***

Depressed.  Partly because of tripping & cocaine last night & Friday night but also because of pregnancy worry – I had to go off the pill because I was “spotting” all the time – I’m going to go back on another one soon but meanwhile I’m off it – & of course I’m still making love to Jesse whenever I can – I don’t know if my period is messed up because of going off the pill or if I’m actually pregnant – what will I do if I’m pregnant??  It would never be Teddy’s – we haven’t made love in forever – even though he is always trying to now – like making up for lost time or something.  & as much as I want Jesse’s baby – I really do – I admit I’m jealous of Doreen because she has his baby – but I’m a stripper – I can’t stop to have a child –  it would ruin my figure!!  & how would I make money while I was pregnant?  I’m not going to do what Charlene did & dance until I’m in my 6th or 7th month – I just won’t.  I know there are guys who are really turned on by that but NO.  & I can’t expect Jesse to support me.  & honestly – I’m just not ready to have a baby.  When Doreen & Helena sit around at the holiday dinners & talk about their babies, it’s not like I have any particular longing to have one & join in on the conversation.  I don’t think – oh, I can hardly wait.  The thing is – I can wait.

& I’m depressed because I’m longing for Jesse – I’m worried about hurting Teddy – money worries – cowering in the shadow of the choice I am going to have to make – worry, worry, worry!  & I, who hate to worry & refuse to do so – I am worrying!

I have to force myself to get up & do some housework – type up poems for publication.  I have no energy.  All I want to do is read, drink wine & smoke joints.  Escape.  Escape somewhere far away where I don’t have to think about anything

***

I got my period but I am still worrying.  Next week is my doctor’s appointment.  I can hardly wait to get back on the pill – regular periods – no worry – steady moods – everything OK again.  I can’t believe my doctor actually suggested such a stupid thing to me & I was so fucking stupid to agree!!  So what if I was spotting – it was really no big deal!!

I was bleeding really heavy yesterday – today was much lighter.  Yesterday was a very uncomfortable day anyway.  Jesse’s job was shut down cuz of the rain so he picked me up at the law office at lunch time & took me to “our” place – gave me a peanut butter & jelly sandwich & made me lie down while he rubbed me.  He was really sweet – & he wanted sex even though I was bleeding heavier than I have in years – my gynecologist said I would be bleeding heavier being off the pill – “Yin & yang, baby,” he told me, “the mixing of blood & semen.”  It was a mess but boy – it was great!  I said that Teddy never comes near me when I’m having my period & he laughed & said that Doreen acts like she’s “completely cursed” – “she even sleeps in a separate bed.”

He called me twice this afternoon!  Once just to tell me he loves me – I love it! – then again to ask me some silly legal question about real estate – I don’t know why he just doesn’t look it up himself.  I know he really didn’t want to know anything about real estate – he just wanted to hear my voice.

He wants me to leave Teddy & rent out “our” apartment myself – he says that I have to be making enough money on my own – just in the clubs – & with my job in the law office, there’s no reason why I couldn’t swing living alone.  & then he could come by whenever he was free.  I’m not sure I like that idea – I mean, he’s still married to Doreen in that scenario – & what about Teddy?  & what about the stag party business?  I mean – I really like doing stags.  It’s a different kind of show than in the clubs.  I hate how Teddy thinks he’s my manager but still – it’s fun.  I don’t know what to do.  Jesse thinks I’m wasting my time with dancing – I should be back in school – which I wanted to do this semester but I just didn’t have the fucking time – or the money – as usual, Teddy has our finances in such a mess that I don’t have a choice but to work as many hours at as many jobs as I can.  I mean – I’m working almost full-time at the law office & I have to go back to UB in January or else I could lose my job there.  & I really don’t want to lose my job at Truman, Durant & Randall.  I like working there.  It balances out my career as a dancer.

But of course – the thought of having my very own place & being able to write whenever I want & whatever I want & not have to hide anything & be able to openly love the man that I truly love – that is so alluring – I just can’t help thinking about it.  I have the apartment decorated already in my mind with my books & my plants & even a few kitties.  I would love a cat but Teddy always says no – we party too much – we’re on the go too much – no cats.

I feel guilty thinking about it – thinking about Jesse all the time – writing about him in my notebook – whether I’m journaling or writing poems – especially sitting here with Teddy smoking our after-dinner joint – but I can’t help it – I’m totally addicted to him & I don’t care.  I need him.  I need what he gives me & I want what he gives me &  –

At that moment, Teddy had an attack of emotional bummer.  “I need a hug,” he moaned, so I held him for a while.  Could he feel I was writing about Jesse?  Can he hear my thoughts?

“The Cowboys” are on TV.  I love that movie.  I’m making popcorn – well, I’m in the kitchen – obviously I’m not making popcorn – I’m writing!  I’m waiting for the burner to warm up.  Anyway, Felix is stopping by soon – I’m so glad – it’s been ages since I’ve seen him.

9 p.m.  Teddy had to run out to pay George Conrad – we’re getting weed & coke off him – as soon as the car pulled away, I was on the phone – praying that she wouldn’t answer –

Jesse answers: “Hello!”

“Jesse!”

“Yes!”

“I love you!”

“You must have the wrong number!”

“That’s ok!  See ya tomorrow!”

“Bye!”

Hang up – Five minutes later, Teddy is back & Felix is arriving & it’s party time again.

***

He told me that Doreen & he were having an argument when I called last night – that’s why he was so gruff.  He said he really needed to hear those words at that moment.  I said, “That’s why I called.”

We both believe in karma.  We both believe that we are meant to be together.  “It’ll all work out one way or another,” he insists.

I was there at 8 a.m.  I had to be – I thought about him all night.  I drove like an Indy-car racer the whole way over – I lucked out on the lights – I flew into his arms.  It is so good to be held by him.  We smoked a joint – talked – looked at Christmas catalogues – then went to bed – made love again & again & again.  Intense heights – emotion.  I was in tears after an especially intense orgasm – Jesse wondering & a little scared – “I’ve never made a woman cry like that before.”  “Don’t worry,” I replied, “it’s just too much feeling – I have to release it somehow – ya know?”

***

Just finished a dinner Teddy praised to the skies – steak, hash browns, salad.  “You can’t leave me,” he told me, “I love your cooking too much.”  I smiled.  “I’m not going anywhere,” I said.  When I was cooking, Teddy was outside, putting a new side-view mirror on his truck & the phone rang.  It was Jesse.  He was hanging out at Muldoon’s, waiting for Doreen to get out of her doctor’s appointment.  “I’m in here with a couple of guys from high school I haven’t seen in years & it’s like a reunion.  I’ve smoked some joints & I’m really drunk.  I can’t believe I’m able to talk to you this long.  I was expecting to say I love you & hear you say, wrong number.”

“It’s our lucky day,” I laughed.

***

Thanksgiving.  I woke up at 6:30 – as usual – even if the alarm wasn’t set.  I finally got up at 8 a.m.  I’ve been watching “Bewitched” & smoking a joint.  Now “I Love Lucy” is on.  Teddy’s still in bed.

I should have been more careful – writing last night – because Teddy wanted to know what “secrets” I was writing.  “I have always had secrets to write down,” I said.  “I have notebooks full of them.”  I suppose if you’re writing secrets, you should write them in secret.

The trouble is, I’m so much in love with Jesse that I want to be with him all the time & writing about him brings him closer to me.

I still can’t admit to Teddy that I want out of the relationship although it’s harder & harder to assure him that I still want in.  He knows it, too.  “Do you think I can’t tell?  You’re different – you’re thinking of him – I can tell!  You’re always preoccupied!  I love you & I want to stay with you!”

“I can’t help it,” I answered.  “I am in love with him.  What can I do?  You can’t turn off your feelings like a faucet.  Be patient with me, Teddy.”

“I am patient.  I am more patient than you realize, I think.  But you seem to be slipping away more & more.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.  “Teddy, I wanted to have fun with you this evening & if we get all bummed out talking about this, we won’t.”

“Okay,” he said.  “Teddy bummer time is over.”  We made chocolate-chip cookies, watched the hockey game & passed out on the couch.

I should have told him that if he hadn’t been so stingy with sex to begin with, I never would have fallen for Jesse – so when Teddy tries to make love to me now, it wouldn’t be such an epic failure.  But what am I supposed to do?  I tried to tell him over & over again & it didn’t do any good.

& maybe it wasn’t about the sex.  Maybe Jesse & I would have fallen in love anyway.  I mean – I could have had sex with anyone.  Literally – I have my pick of any of the dudes in the club – in any one of the clubs – if all I wanted was sex.  & not just dudes – I could have women, too.  I could have anyone I want.  But it’s not about sex.  It’s more than that.  It’s much more.

Whenever I think of leaving Teddy for good, I think of our trailer & how we love to camp & how – if I’m with Jesse – I’ll never camp in that trailer again.  My “home away from home” – & then I think – why are you carrying this shell around with you?  But I think of how much it means to Teddy.  Somehow, the trailer seems to symbolize our entire marriage!  It’s just we’ve worked so hard to keep the payments up & – I can hear Teddy saying it – now it’s for nothing.  Or is it?  Didn’t we totally enjoy it when we had it?  & what about Cori? – bored shitless all summer at Sherkston – wondering why on earth were we spending all this money to camp there – isn’t there more to life?  Isn’t there a better way to spend our money?  Or even – gasp! – to save our money?  Worrying about making payments on a motorcycle we barely ride because we’re camping all the time.  & when we’re not camping, we’re working.  Worry, worry, worry – mostly money worries – ever since I married Teddy it’s been non-stop worry.

Oh well – he’s up now – I gotta make breakfast – then take a bath & get ready to go to Cleveland for dinner.  Three hour drive for a one hour meal.  & then the drive home.  But whatever.  Jesse & Doreen will be there with the baby – they’re spending the night – oh, this will be fun.

“Life was easy when it was boring.”    – the Police.

11:45 p.m.  I can’t sleep.  Listening to the Grateful Dead: “Oh the first days are the hardest days, don’t you worry anymore.  Cuz when life looks like easy street, there is danger at the door.”

Teddy’s in bed.  I can’t sleep.  I mix myself a drink, put on the Grateful Dead.  He rushes out & downs my drink in one gulp.  “I’m lonely.  Aren’t you tired yet?”  It hasn’t even been 5 minutes since he went to bed.

I say, “I’m gonna smoke this joint.  Stay here & smoke it with me.”

“No, I have to sleep.”

I have to piss.  I’m on the toilet & he follows me in & sits on the tub.  “I miss you in bed.”

“Honey,” I say, patiently, like I’m talking to a child, “last night I went to bed before you did.  Tonight I’m awake.  I feel like listening to some tunes & smoking a joint & having a drink.  & writing a little.  Unless I’m with you – if you want to join me, my friend the notebook will leave.”

I’m listening to this album & I really want to hear the rest – music really nourishes me so – the Dead especially so.  Like my piece of earth that I need to touch to be alive.  But I think of Teddy lying in bed alone, wanting me & it hurts – am I his earth?  It hurts so to hurt him.

He just came out.  “Wow, I’m fucked up, I’m peeing my brains out.”

“Oh honey, have a toke of this – ”

“No, smoke it, I gotta pee.”  He picked up the book he’s reading.

“Honey, I’m sorry I can’t sleep – ”

“Don’t worry about it.  Have a couple shots – ”

I sit here – toking on this joint which is now a roach on the hemostats – listening to Pigpen sing: “One way or another, one way or another, one way or another, this darkness gotta give.”

2:45 a.m.  Totally fucked up.  Teddy’s in bed.  Wishing for Jesse.  Listening to the Dead.  Wishing for Jesse.  Jesse.  Jesse.

***

I talked to Jesse early this morning – very upsetting.  I had to tell him that I wouldn’t/couldn’t see him anymore in order to save/endure my marriage.  & I was unable to do it.  Instead I told him I was going to “stay on my own” for a while.  He said he didn’t know how I was going to do that with Teddy around.  He said I would be better off getting my own place & not seeing either of us.  “But that’s not what you want, is it, Cori.”  I hung up on him & sobbed for an hour.

I’m skipping so much – how Teddy found my diary Saturday morning & read it & then was in a rage & hit me – he fucking hit me! – I was going to leave but he wrestled me for my car keys & wouldn’t let me leave the house – how I begged Paulie to call Jesse & let him know I was in trouble – how I slept off my hangover & felt better – I was hungover – of course – from work the night before – & of course Teddy was pissed off about that too – me getting home so late from work all fucked up.

Then Jesse called me at 7 p.m. & told me to pack up & he would be by in 25 minutes for me.  & I said no.  Teddy standing there yelling at me – making a bad scene worse.  I was shaking like a leaf.  Letting down Jesse.  Letting down myself.

So this morning – I ended it – or tried to anyway.  I don’t want what’s going on anymore, honestly.  I think Jesse’s pissed off at me & I don’t blame him.  & Teddy – well he’s all pissed off too. & I feel like a complete shit because – what the fuck, these guys were best friends & we’re all family & – what are we going to do?  What am I going to do?

***

Jesse called me this morning – he was served divorce papers this morning.  He said the charges are adultery.  He wanted to know if Teddy had talked to Doreen.  I said I didn’t know.   I mean – they were sitting & talking together at Thanksgiving but I didn’t think anything of it – I don’t think Teddy would be so cruel as to tell Doreen that Jesse & I were having an affair – & would he want to advertise his own embarrassment?  But I don’t know.   I honestly don’t know anything anymore.

***

Teddy just left for work.  He hung out to make sure Jesse didn’t call which pissed me right off – I told him Jesse wouldn’t.  I mean – little does he know that Jesse won’t call because I told him I’d call him – but Jesse won’t call anyway.  I just know.

“I don’t know,” Teddy says.  “I told him not to call anymore two weeks ago.  You told him Saturday night & he called yesterday morning!  & you – instead of telling never to call again, you talked to him for an hour!  So yeah, I’ll hang out & make sure.”

Teddy is so vindictive – so bitter.  “I didn’t ask for this.  He entered my marriage, not the other way around.  I’m just reacting.  I’ve been pushed & pushed & pushed & now goddammit, I’m pushing back!”  The thing is, he’s wrong.  Jesse didn’t enter Teddy’s marriage.  Which is our marriage anyway.  Jesse entered my life.  It’s amazing how Teddy makes this all about him.  Like he’s a victim or something.

I have to get moving.  It’s almost 9.  I have to eat, take a bath, do my hair, dress – I have a dentist’s appointment at 10:30 & I have to be at work at the law office at 1.  I also have to find a place to hide my diary – since now I know that Teddy will read it.  I hate living like this.  But I have to write.

I feel numb & sad again but that’s probably because of Teddy’s rage this morning.  He called back to apologize but also to reiterate his right of vindication.  Which cancels out the apology, if you ask me.

I can’t wait to call Jesse.  Last night, I thought of him non-stop.  I dreamed of him.  I’m dying to know how Doreen got information enough to divorce Jesse for adultery.  Or if there are other women involved.  Although I doubt Jesse will tell me that part of it.  I’m also curious to know if someone “anonymous” called her & told her about Jesse & me like someone “anonymous” called Teddy.

Writing is the only thing that’s keeping me sane.  My mind has been racing a million miles a second – to keep all this in will stifle me.  But I think it’s a drag I have to rip out each page as I write & hide it.  I know I should have done that from the start but hell – the purpose of a notebook is to keep everything together in one place – a place that was carried around with me – to be opened up & relived at will.  “I know I’m a fine one to talk,” I bitterly complained to Teddy, “but reading someone’s diary is as low as you get.”

“Oh, & cheating on your husband isn’t?” he sneered.

“Maybe you should fuck me more than once a month,” I shot back.  Not very nice but I don’t feel very nice nowadays.

“We shouldn’t have secrets from one another,” he retorted.

“I have a whole room full of secrets.  I always have!”  This makes me think of how Helena would read my diary & tell my mother.  & I never suspected because I thought she was above that.  I mean, if you have to read it, OK – I respect curiosity – but to tell – & then to be punished for what I write – !

I am just more honorable than that.  Yes – as an adulteress – I have to lie & cheat & deceive – but those are the rules.  Teddy would say that those are lousy rules – but I live by the rules that I have.  All I know is that I love Jesse & I will do what I have to do to protect that love.  On the same token – I also love Teddy & I will also protect that love.  Contradictory but that’s the way it is.

3:35 p.m.  On break.  Upset beyond upset.  It’s so hard to believe – I’m here at the law office, working – doing research – updating client files in the computer – while the whole time, my mind is racing a million miles a second.  Going over conversations – arguments – pros – cons – as confused & lost as ever.

When I got to work after being at the dentist’s, I called Jesse right away but there was no answer.  I let it ring as long as I could but had to hang up – I had to get to work.  I was coming out of the phone booth in the lobby just as he was walking by – all done up in leathers & chains – looking really menacing.  “Jesse!”  I cried, so happy to see him.  He turned around.  “Where have you been all morning?”  he demanded.  “Why didn’t you call?  I waited around all morning, like a gentleman & then I called over here but they couldn’t find you so I finally decided to come over.  Here’s your tape.”  He handed me a cassette tape.  He’s been making me tapes since the beginning.  I have a whole stack of them.  “Our” songs.

“I didn’t call because Teddy hung out until nine & I really don’t want to call from home anymore & I had a dentist’s appointment.  I just got here.”

“Well, I got go, the bike’s on the street.”  He turned & started to walk away.

“Jesse!”  I caught up.  “What’s the matter?  Are you mad at me?”

“Yes!  I’m upset you didn’t call – ”

“I told you about that – ”

“I’m upset about the whole thing.  Since this weekend.”

“Jesse, I – I really got to get to work.”

“Well, I got to get to my bike.”

“Tomorrow, I have an hour to kill between here & my doctor’s appointment – do you want to meet for a drink?”

“I don’t see the point of meeting.”

“Well, if that’s the way you feel about it!”  I snapped & walked away.  I thought I heard him whine, “Ya know, I have feelings too – ”  but I no longer cared.

***

Between last entry & this one, Jesse & I made up – I broke down & decided to leave Teddy & move over to the apartment on the West Side – the same old arguments & sob-sessions & emotional manipulations occurred with Teddy – the same old great sex & emotional highs & idealistic plans occurred with Jesse – culminating in a frenzied last Friday night – with Teddy & Jesse both hanging out at The Canteen – all through my shift – actually sitting together & drinking together & acting like best friends & brothers – like some modern-day western – Earl was there, too – me, breaking down in the dressing room – sobbing into a towel – totally out of my mind with sorrow & insanity.  Queen came into the dressing room as I was sobbing & she held me – then she told me to get my shit together since I had a set coming up – she rolled a joint laced with coke & I got really high – I fixed my make-up & went out to dance.   I sat with Earl the rest of the night.  I really didn’t want to go home with Teddy – but I didn’t have a choice.

Teddy breaking my heart with his grief at my leaving.  Almost harder to take than anything.

On Monday, Jesse pressured me about when I was going to move in the apartment on the West Side – “I might have to rent it to someone else,” he said.  “If I have to get a lawyer for this divorce.”

“Jesse, I really don’t know, maybe January?”

“Do you want to leave him?  I mean, what are you doing, Cori?  Do you know?”

“What are you doing?”  I countered.  “You’re going to be divorced, are you going to be living there with me?  Or what?”

“Well,” he said, “I own the house we live in presently.  So until all the legalities are taken care of, I have no plans of leaving.  If she wants to leave, that’s her business.  But we’ll have to work out custody of Zach.”

That didn’t make me feel very secure at all.

I have been in the law library, looking up divorce law.  If Doreen served him divorce papers & the grounds were adultery, she would have to have some serious proof.  It would have to be iron-clad.  More than just some “anonymous” person calling her & telling her that Jesse & me were hanging out together when I’m working.  I mean – she would have to hire a private detective & get pictures & maybe even recordings of phone calls – if that is even possible.  I really doubt she did any of that.  & who else would do that?  I mean – it’s just so unlikely.  Maybe some dude from the club is fucked up enough to follow me around but I honestly haven’t noticed anyone following me.  I do pay attention.  I don’t want to sound like I’m paranoid but when you’re having living outside of the rules of decent society, you watch your own back.  & I don’t see how anyone could have gotten a view into our room where we make love.  It’s impossible.  The curtains are always drawn – it’s on the second floor – it’s impossible.  Even if someone was trying to see – there’s no way they ever could.  The most anyone could ever know is that I arrive at that house at a certain time & leave a half-hour or so later.  Sometimes I’m there longer.  But that in itself doesn’t prove anything.  Certainly not adultery.

There’s something terribly wrong with that story.  I have never thought he was lying to me before – & I really – really – want to believe him now.  But there’s something wrong with it.  Maybe she filed for divorce but there’s no way that the actual grounds are adultery.  She probably wanted to file for adultery.  But that’s really hard to prove without pictures.  & you can’t just have pictures of me arriving at the apartment.  Or even pictures of us holding hands at the Club.  You have to have real damaging photographs – Jesse & me in flagrante delicto.  I mean – there’s no way.  Absolutely no way.

But.  Sooner or later.  The shit will hit the fan.  With or without pictures.  & I’ve had enough.

This morning, I called him at our usual time – I decided to break up with him.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  & guess what?  He broke up with me.  “I can’t handle it.  I love you & I know you love me but you obviously aren’t ready to leave.  You obviously love Teddy & care for him a great deal no matter how unhappy you may be.  My marriage is falling apart because of you & now you’re refusing to leave him.”

“Well,” I said, “I’m not happy to hear this but if it’s your decision, I’ll respect it.  You know I love you.”

“I still, ya know, want to be friends.”

“Well, Jesse, we were friends to begin with, I don’t see why we wouldn’t be now, or ever, ya know?” I added, “& we’re still family, aren’t we?  So it’s not like we’re going to stop seeing each other.  Every single holiday – there I’ll be.”

“I will always love you,” he said.

“I will always love you, Jesse,” I answered.  “& you never know, perhaps in the future, there’ll be a chance for us.”

I have to admit, I’m rather relieved.  It was getting to be too much.  I couldn’t take the pressure – although I loved the excitement – & to a certain extent – the turmoil.

Later, I received a note that Teddy had called.  I went down to the lobby to the phone booths & closed myself into one to call him back.  He said, “Doreen called me.  She wants to use your diary as proof of your & Jesse’s affair – ”

What?”  I was totally aghast.  “You told her about my diary?”

“Of course I did.  I know about this not only because of anonymous phone calls but because of your own stupid writing.”

“Well, she’s not using my diary as proof.  Forget about it.”

“I think – what’s the word you lawyer people use? – if you get subpoenaed, you don’t have a choice in the matter, do you?”  & he laughed.

I thought quickly.  I knew where the diary was – & I knew what I had to do with it.  “Well,” I said lightly, “I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”  I hung up & went back to work.

***

A few days later.  Jesse called.  “Well, you certainly give up easily!”

I sighed.  “You were the one who decided to break up because you couldn’t handle it.  I stayed away in respect of your feelings.”  Also because I do not want to continue anymore.  But I did not say that.

He said – very revealing, I thought – “Last time I told you that, you said that you realized that you couldn’t live without me.”  So did he say it this last night to get that reaction again – with a bigger, more physical commitment?  To get me to move as soon as possible?

***

Teddy reminded me that Doreen wanted to see my diary.  I laughed at him outright.  “You must think I’m a real stupid chick to give you my diary so you can give it to her.  She knew what Jesse was like years & years ago & she chose to stay with him.  If she wants to divorce him, she can walk out the door all by herself.  She doesn’t need my diary to help her make that move.”

After he left for work, I took all the various pages of my diary – from all the various hiding places – & took them up into the attic.  I knew that it would be safest to destroy them but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I pried up a floorboard & put the diary underneath & then hammered it back down.  If Teddy asked about it again, I would tell him that I threw the diary into the Niagara River.

I thought, it’ll be a while before I keep a diary again.