Haunted House

October 19, 2004

Haunted House

Michael,

There are two things I failed to mention last night.

The first is that I’m 41, not 35. When you told me the Nixon story, I remembered the sweat on his lip as well as you did, only I didn’t dare say this because I was supposed to be two at the time and two-year-olds don’t notice things like that. It made me wince. I should have admitted the truth right then, and almost did. But the vibe between us wasn’t that great, so I figured we weren’t going to have a second date. Why confess to a man I’m never going to see again?

On the other hand I was curious what you’d say. Of course women lie about their age all the time, but in this context the lie must be admitted in the end, at least to someone you get involved with. For me this makes it more interesting than, say, telling someone that their pathetic haircut looks good. If we had to admit such lies, we wouldn’t tell them. Really, there are few lies we would tell at the cost of having to admit them to the person we deceived.

But like I say, the vibe between us was only so-so, so I kept my mouth shut. It’s funny, though, because I was really hoping for a reason to confess.

This segues to the second thing I failed to mention. You may find this hard to believe, but last night was not our first date but our second. The first happened three years ago at a Williamsburg cafe called Bliss.

I recognized you when you wrote to me last week. You haven’t changed much. I thought of telling you the truth immediately but then decided to surprise you on the date. I suppose I thought it would be sort of funny when you first saw me again. The way I imagined it, we would laugh. But I got exactly what I deserved. All through the date I kept thinking you were going to figure it out. But you didn’t. Or if you did, you certainly didn’t show it. This is why I told you the haunted house story. I told that same story three years ago; I repeated it last night to try to spark your memory. I nearly spit up my beer when you said it seemed familiar.

I feel a little sick about this now, and I’m sorry. There was a level on which I was fucking with you. I did it because I was angry at having been forgotten.

It never occurred to me that you wouldn’t recognize me. How can you completely forget a person you talked with for two hours? Again it’s funny because you mentioned your memory problem on both dates. Obviously this is an issue with you, although I wonder to what degree you’re really aware of it.

At one point last night I thought of trying to find a way to meet you in a year, just to see if you would remember me then. But the more I thought about this, the sadder I got. It reminded me of certain relationships in which I felt unseen. Unremembered, unseen – you get the point.

Anyway I doubt you’ll ever forget me again. I may not have sweat on my lip, or whatever it is that makes a lasting impression on you, but my lies are hard to forget.

October 5, 2004

Diary

After Sunday’s reading, a group of us went out for Chinese food and told mugging stories. My favorite: The woman who was held over a pit for her Brownie dues. This was funny when she told it, but now I see it’s not. With enough distance, almost anything can seem funny.

Another woman described a scene in which a hooded man in a schoolyard stuck a gun in her face and demanded her money. “No!” she shouted, although all she had in her bag was ten dollars. Her reason for refusing: her diary was in her bag and this fucker wasn’t getting it. The man turned and ran.