March 1, 2002

Missing

I was in a laundromat in the west 50s, in what was then called Hell’s Kitchen. I was nineteen. A young woman, a Krishna, struck up a conversation by the dryers. I have only a vague recollection of her: dark hair, dark skin, a bit plump. She came on to me, there’s no other way to say it. Her method was compelling: she spoke as though everything had already been settled and so we simply needed to work the details of where and when. I asked for clarification of the rules about pre-marital sex for Krishnas. She said that it was strictly forbidden, a big no-no, but the way she said it, it was as though she were speaking from some point in the future, after we’d slept together, and was saying, “Oh, I’ve been such a bad girl.”

The weird thing is, I don’t remember if I slept with her or not. I don’t think I did – that is, if I did, I assume I would remember – but it’s also possible I’ve forgotten.

Another possibility is that I dreamt this.

A third possibility is that I killed her.

I realize that’s a horrifying thought, but sometimes when I think about her, I see this cabin in the woods and I think that if I did kill her, I probably did it in the cabin.

Whenever I think this, I try to remember what happened after the scene at the dryers. Did we go back to my apartment? To hers? Did one of us suggest a trip to the woods?

I look and look, but there’s nothing there.

In more reasoned moments, I compare this to crossing a bridge and wanting to jump. One doesn’t really want to jump; it’s just a morbid fascination with what one could possibly do, in the extreme. In the case of the Krishna woman, the fascination is not with what I could possibly do, but what I could have possibly have done.

On the other hand it’s not a reach to think I slept with her. I’ve done that once or twice. It’s more likely, though, that I made her up. That I do all the time.