A letter to myself, in disguise

One high school summer (and, telling, I cannot remember which one) I pined for a boyfriend. I went to boarding school, which meant that every June, I left the idyll of my school world for the isolation of my parents' home. I'm an only child, and I went to junior high school in suburbia, a good forty plus miles away from my inner city home (a Chicago neighborhood just a stone's throw from the notorious Cabrini Green projects--"Cooley High", anyone?--then in the early stages of gentrification. It's now utterly affluent, but at the time it was a mix of urban pioneers like my parents and elderly Italian and Polish immigrants. ) This all made for good cheap food, but not much company for me. I didn't have that many friends in junior high to begin with, none of them lived in the city, and true to form, I didn't stay much in touch with them once our collective hell--I mean, eighth grade--ended. So summers in high school were lonely.

That summer, I desperately missed my boyfriend who was off on a bike tour of France. Now that that detail has come pinging back to my brain, I do remember who it was (I didn't have that many boyfriends biking through the Pyrenees) and when it was--the year between high school and college, the summer after my father died. Anyway, he was far away, not phone-able, and his letters (which were lovely) came every couple of weeks. I pined. Since he was on the move, it was hard to get letters to him quickly or regularly. So instead, I wrote one long letter, a journal, really. I remember the book it was in--Japanese handmade paper from a store my mother, then immersed in bookbinding, liked to frequent. This place made Papersoure look like Walgreens. Anyway, the book was beautiful, with a dark blue cover printed with orange and gold, and gorgeous ivory rice paper pages. It was a tiny work of art, and in some way, so were the words I put into it. I was madly in love, my first love, and achingly lonely (my mother was deep into her own grief, and I was so worried about her that I ignored my own) and I channeled it all into that journal. Some of it was minute description of my surroundings. I remember a spider (I have always loved spiders) trapped inside my digital clock. I used to watch him every night, for a span that felt like hours, and I wrote about him. He disappeared, finally, and I never knew if he escaped at long last or died in his plastic prison.

I used my words then to make sense of my own bitter surroundings and to profess love, even though I knew no one was listening. Sometimes that's how blogging is. Sometimes that's how email is. Further to the crush post of the other day, I have this erratic email correspondence with the object of my crush (it's calming down, now, happily) and it's serving kind of the same purpose. I have no idea if he's interested in what I have to say, but he's willing to read it and to respond, and I think that's all I want right now. I suppose the question is why I cannot trust the people who are actively in my life to fill the same function.


Anonymous said...

I am glad you thought my letters were lovely (at least I hope they were my letters...)

It's 11:30pm and I am stuck on a China - US conference call (typical) and had a blast reading your blog - I am looking forward to reconnecting.

Funny - I came across the sweater you knit me yesterday and thought of you. Glad to read that you are still bloggin.


Anonymous said...

I meant "knitting..." LOL