February 24, 2003


– Have you said anything to him?

– No.

– Are you planning to?

– No. I’m not going to talk to him anymore.

– Are you just not going to talk to him or are you going to tell him you’re not going to talk to him?

– I’m not going to talk to him.

– What are you going to say if he calls?

– Nothing. I’m going to hang up.

– What if he calls and uses a different voice?

– Why would he do that?

– Because you keep hanging up on him.

– I’ll hang up when I realize it’s him.

– What if you never realize?

– Eventually I will. Or else I’ll hang up for some other reason.

– What if he kidnaps your little girl and says he going to kill her if you don’t talk to him.

– I don’t have a little girl.

– But say you did.

– He wouldn’t do this.

– But say he did.

– I suppose I would talk to him.

– What would you say?

– I don’t know. I guess that I’m sorry it’s come to this. That I remember when we loved each other, and that I don’t know what happened to change that. That sometimes, late at night, I read our old emails. That I copied them all into one document, even the emails where we’re just making plans or something, even the ones that are forwards of things, and that there’s this tenderness there and that I haven’t forgotten that tenderness and don’t think I ever can or will. Some bullshit like that, the fucker has my kid.

February 23, 2003


>am suddenly in Sao Paolo, where it’s summer. I
>was very close to getting bumped and receiving
>a travel voucher, which meant I would have
>showed up at your apartment again and
>temporarily fulfilled your prophesy of me
>forever trying and failing to leave you.
>another question about syllables. (I know, I
>know, I know: I am BAD with syllables.) when
>there’s a lonely vowel in front, like ‘alone’
>or ‘equator’, is that vowel a syllable?

Alone is two syllables. Equator is three. I can’t get my fucking keyboard tray to work is eleven.

I’m really glad to hear from you so soon is also eleven. As is, sorry you didn’t get that travel voucher.

Me and my godforsaken prophesying is, eerily, eleven as well.

Evidently a lot of sentences are eleven is, paradoxically, fourteen.

Love is one,

February 14, 2003


I’m on the phone with D, and although we’re having a nice-seeming conversation, I’m struggling to find the next question, the next topic-starter. The naturalness between us is gone. It’s been gone a long time now, so long I can’t imagining it ever returning. Still if I don’t allow for the possibility of it returning, it can’t return. So that’s I’m doing: I’m allowing for the possibility.

I remember a story D once told me about her mother. She was leaning out the window of her parents’ apartment when her mother came up behind her, wrapped her arms around D’s legs, and lifted them from the floor. For one brief, terrifying moment, D thought her mother was about to throw her out the window. But then her mother released her legs and explained that it was all just a joke. D lost it then and began screaming at her mother, who was profusely apologetic. However D’s mother’s apologies only infuriated her more, because her mother, in characteristic fashion, somehow turned the thing around so it wasn’t about the horrible thing she had done but rather how badly she felt about it.

And now, somehow, I’ve become D’s mother, and D is screaming at me, only her screams sound like conversational remarks, a causal bit of catching up after months of being out of touch. I try to respond, to apologize for what I’ve done, but what comes out instead are rote questions about D’s life and rote remarks about mine. She’s screaming at me and I’m trying to say how sorry I am, but the words have nothing to do with any of it; they’re just words said to fill the space where words belong.