Thujone Dream

Dreamt this morning that I was in a room with two women.  We were all sitting on hard-backed chairs.  We were waiting for something. We also had to sleep. One woman nodded off, while I was talking to the other.  The two of us were flirting.  All three of us were sitting very close, so I grabbed the sleeping woman to keep her from slumping off the chair, while I continued my conversation with the other woman.  We couldn’t leave our chairs.  I got sleepy myself.  My arms were around the sleeping woman anyway, so I leaned my head on her shoulder, and dozed off.  Oddly, I had a similar dream several nights ago, in which I was in a crowded movie theater, sitting next to two women. In that case, I couldn’t see all of the movie screen, so I was leaning over close to one of the women in order to see more of the screen.  It was uncomfortable, so I rested my head on her shoulder; she didn’t mind.

In this morning’s dream, however, I didn’t just doze off.  I woke up to find the woman I’d been flirting with naked, on her hands and knees next to me in bed.  I felt the smooth contours of her body and was aroused.  (As if the sight of her naked wouldn’t have been enough!)  I clasped my entire hand over her vulva, slipping  a finger, then two, into her.  She opened like a flower and I suddenly realized that I had my clothes on: heavy jeans and a t-shirt.  I had to get those jeans off.  They were tight, and I had to really work to get them off.  Fortunately, my erection hung in there.  I mounted the woman then, not bothering with foreplay.  I left my shirt on.  My underwear hung off one leg.  I plunged deeply into her, as her vagina was now very wet.  It felt wonderful, better than the fabled bliss of nirvana.  I moved slowly, enjoying the sensation, reveling gloriously.  Of course, then I woke up, no surprise, with an erection.

Maybe I should have a shot of absinthe before bed every night.


Sex, guns and Peru, Part 2

Once I got settled in my room, I called my pen pal Elsie.  I was anxious to meet her.  We’d talked about a lot of things, over the space of about two years.  We’d exchanged pictures.  I had no idea what to expect.  Traveling to another country to meet someone I only knew by mail was certainly a new experience for me.   I had called Elsie to tell her I was coming, and I recognized her voice when I called her house.  She wanted to come meet me, so I waited for her.  She was indeed pretty when she showed up, but taller and, well, larger than the pictures had led me to believe.  I’m 5′ 8″ myself, and even my younger brothers are taller than me, but my sisters, and most women I’d gone to school with were a little shorter.  Elsie was certainly happy to see me.  We talked awhile and walked around Lima.  I bought my first churro there, those long doughy pastries extruded through a star-shaped opening, and deep fried, then rolled in sugar and cinnamon.  Really tasty.  When we got back to my room,  Elsie told me I should come stay at her parent’s house.  I was surprised at that.  I had really expected to visit her while I was in Peru, but not live together.  Elsie said her parents had suggested it.   I stayed the night where I was, and found her house in the morning.  It is a  three-story place in a suburb of Lima. lima_suburbs There is grass on many lawns, but some have a car parked on concrete behind locked gates.  Her house reminded me of the last place my parents had moved to, the place I’d left when I was 18.  This one, however, has hardwood floors throughout, a beautiful dining-room table and chairs, fully modern kitchen, and many rooms throughout.  There is even a small room on the first floor that had been turned into a bedroom for me.  The family consisted of Elsie, her parents, her brother, who was actually a step-brother, and a sister and brother-in-law.   They had two Indio servants who lived on the third floor; they washed laundry in deep sinks on the roof, and hung it to dry there too.

Everyone was very friendly and welcomed me into their home.  I had taken a “conversational Spanish” course, and did my best to communicate with everyone in Spanish.  Elsie knew some English, so she helped me out when I couldn’t find the right words.  I didn’t talk much, because I knew very, very little Spanish.

My first hint that I was in a different country was when we all had coffee in the morning.  There was a pot of coffee in the refrigerator.  Small amounts were poured into a cup, and the cup was filled with hot water. I have since learned that such a drink is often called an Americano, but I never heard the term in Peru.  Coffee there was brewed very strong in anticipation of being diluted in this manner.  It was somehow much less bitter.

Peru 001 Lima is a grey city.  A type of fish there gives off an oil that gets picked up with moisture from the ocean and often blankets the city, which seemed to always have a permanent cloud cover.  Many of the old buildings appeared as gray as downtown East Coast city buildings in the US.   Perhaps that is why so many arts and crafts in Lima are so brightly colorful.  Elsie was free to spend time showing me around Lima, so we went out every day sightseeing, at markets, and plazas, and eating ceviche (pronounced “say-vee-chay”), a seafood cocktail.  This differs somewhat from the Mexican version most people in the US are familiar with. cevichePeruano I think they use that oily fish in it. That was an interesting experience.  Soon after eating some I became sick with flu-like symptoms, and everyone understood – I was then cautioned not to eat the ceviche there.  Too late.  I felt as sick as a  jungle dog, but I recovered very quickly.

I learned to convert my dollars into sols, and there were vendors everywhere selling lottery tickets and changing money.  Turns out Elsie’s father worked for a bank, and recommended I only use banks, but sometimes the exchange rate was better on the street. Meanwhile, Elsie and I were spending every day, and into evening, with each other.  We watched the movie Police Academy. It was subtitled in Spanish with the English soundtrack volume turned down, but loud enough I could make out most of it.  We saw a new play, a funny and very popular musical comedy one evening.  Elsie translated enough of it so I could understand it.  It was about relationships, and very sexy, with some nudity. The music was great, and I was able to buy a 45 recording to take home with me.  Elsie and I got around the city really well, day and night,  in buses or colectivos, those ubiquitous taxi-cab like cars of all shapes and sizes.   One day I bought a warm Coke in a small sidewalk store, but there was no ice to be had.  No one kept sodas refrigerated either.  Warm coke is OK, but odd.  I learned to drink Inca Kola instead, a bright yellow carbonated Peruvian drink, made with Hierba Luisa, or Lemon Verbana. Inca_Kola It reminded me of Juicyfruit gum.  We went to a downtown nightclub and danced to US-style rock ‘n’ roll and pop tunes, sung in Spanish, although Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 was broadcast over every radio  I heard on every city bus and colectivo I took while I was there.  I had worn a jacket to the nightclub, and made the mistake of putting my passport in it and leaving it on my chair as we danced.  I had to carry the passport with me, because the military was in control of  the city, and could stop people anytime to see their ID.  Without it, I could have been arrested.  There were automatic-weapon-armed soldiers near every bank and major business. The Shining Path guerrillas often attacked banks in Lima.  While I was there they knocked out power to the city one day.  As it was, someone lifted my passport while Elsie and I danced one long set.  I told the club manager, and we searched the area, and even the bathroom, just in case it had been dropped.  No chance.  That screwed up my plans to travel around Peru by train.  I needed that passport, or I couldn’t leave the city.  I applied at the embassy. I was allowed to bypass the long line that snaked around the entire block because I was a US citizen, but it was still going to take 4 or 5 days.  Elsie and I found things to do.  She took me to the central plaza in Lima, to the old cathedral there. Peru 002 All of the old clergy there had been buried in the catacombs below the main floor.  There are rooms full of skulls and bones laid out in circles.  Room after room was full of bones, some as full skeletons, but usually piles and piles of bones, some arraigned, some just piled up, from centuries of following this practice, from over 50,000 people.  Of course, many of the wealthy also paid to be buried in the church.  Elsie freaked the hell of of me when we left.  As we were going home in a colectivo, she pulled out part of a rib bone!  She had snatched it as a present for me, a souvenir to take home.  I thanked her, but I really didn’t know what to do with it.  Since we went right back to her house, and I didn’t want to seem ungrateful, I kept it.  It worried me what might happen back in the US when Customs came across that!  Peru 003

Said good night to Elsie one late night when we got back.  We weren’t doing anything on all these day trips, no romance, no kissing, holding hands or anything.  I was just enjoying having her show me around.  We were having a good time.  Just as I was about to drop off to sleep I heard light footsteps on the spiral staircase outside my door.  Elsie came in and got right into bed with me!  I was a little freaked out, what with her parents and siblings right upstairs.  She was kissing me, and we were naked really quick and one thing led to another and I was suddenly sticking my penis into her.  However, it was unlike any sexual encounter I’d ever had.  Elsie, apparently, was a virgin.  She had one hell of a solid hymen.  I pushed, but I couldn’t get in, especially as quiet as we were trying to be, and I had never encountered a hymen before.   I thought I was doing something wrong; and I sure as  hell didn’t want to hurt her.  I oddly thought maybe some women’s vaginae must be arraigned differently, because I just couldn’t slip into her.  As gently as I could, I sort of pushed alongside it and ejaculated without ever really being deep into her vagina at all.  Had to be the weirdest sexual experience I ever had.

It wasn’t the last time we had sex.  We were headed to Machu Picchu on our own.

Sex dream. Smuggling in Peru, Part 1

Weird dream about sex again.  I was visiting a woman in another country and was staying with her family (which I once did in Peru).  In this dream, it wasn’t that same woman, but she was young.  In Peru, the woman I visited turned out to be a virgin, but that’s another story.  In my dream, I was really interested romantically in this woman.  We had not had sex, or made out, but now was the time.  We ended up on a couch or bed and were wrapped around each other kissing.  Her blouse came open and I put my hands on her boobs, which were round and smooth. Her nipples were erect.  I was turned on, on, on!  I opened her shorts and put my hand on her mound, and as I did so, she said: “I like to touch myself there.”  I began fingering her.  Her cunt got juicy.  Talk about being turned on!  My penis was trying to break out of my pants, so I set it free,  I was working on getting her pants off when her two sisters came into the room.  They noticed us, but seemed uninterested in what we were doing, and went about whatever it was they were doing, chatting with each other.  I was suddenly watching myself!  I saw myself stand up, with a rock-hard erection, and people were walking around the room while I stood there.  I looked at myself and noticed the penis was very pale, and pointy, not like my own.  Weirder and weirder.  Then, her father came into the room!   He was also not shocked, but did speak to me.  He was speaking a language I didn’t understand, but smiling and gesturing to the young woman and me.  He stopped, pointed once more at the young woman, and said, in English, “Do you want to marry me?”  From this I understood he wanted to know if I wanted to marry his daughter, so I said yes. “Then ask her,” he said, pointing again at her.  I opened my mouth to ask, but starting remembering who I was and how I had been ready to do anything, go anywhere at one point recently, and then remembered that I have not felt any emotions lately, no passion for life or people.  I thought about how I probably shouldn’t get married, given my state of mind, and then there was a distraction, which I commented on, and we all seemed to be talking about something else.  I was still pondering the marriage question when I woke up.

peru.lima.jauja In my real life, in 1984, I had traveled to Peru to visit a pen-pal.  We had been writing for some time; she invited me to visit.  I had just lost my job.  It seemed the perfect time to travel, except I had no money.  The bank I used was the same one used by my employer, a printed circuit board manufacturer, and I had free checking there through some reciprocal agreement between my employers and the bank.  The company did a lot of work for airlines, NASA, and US weapons programs.   I told the loan officer I wanted money to travel to Peru.  He asked me how much I needed.  I asked for $800, since I knew the airfare was about $700.   I really didn’t want to get too much in debt.  I had a little money left in my checking account, so as I was at the airport waiting to board the plane, I called the bank and asked if I could get some more money.  The limit on money machine withdrawals was $100/day.  They asked me for my account number, which I somehow managed to remember, and they OK’d the increased amount.   I grabbed the extra money from the machine and boarded the plane for LA International Airport.  I had packed my 0.38 special.  The Sendero Luminoso, or “Shining Path” Maoist rebels were fighting a guerrilla war all over Peru, so I wanted the comfort a gun could give me.  shiningpath Then again, I was supportive of rebellions and guerrilla warfare at the time, so I thought I could even offer my gun to them if I ran into them on the long train ride I’d planned.   I had noticed a sign at check-in that said all firearms must be declared, so I did.  The counter person seemed shocked, but explained the procedure:  I had to put it in my checked luggage, of course, and put the gun in one bag, and the bullets in another.  Then they attached a special warning ticket to my bag and sent it on down the conveyor belt to be loaded onto the plane.  I didn’t give it much thought until later.   In LA, there was a problem with my ticket. The flight was announced, but the man at the check-in counter wouldn’t give me my boarding pass.  I waited and waited, until it was near the time for the plane to takeoff, when he suddenly called me over and gave me my pass.  I ran down the moving walkways and up the indoor ramp to the plane.  There were two men flanking the door.  They stopped me, and I nervously told them the plane was going to take off.  They said to relax, that it wasn’t going to take off yet.  Then they questioned me about how much money I was carrying.  I told them I had three hundred dollars.  They asked me why I was going to Peru, and I told them about Elsie, my friend I was going to visit.  They seemed satisfied with that, and handed my passport and wallet back and waved me on to the plane.   I was directed to the only empty seats, just behind a partition.  I had noticed that everyone else had plenty of leg room, but I wasn’t going to be able to stretch out.  It was going to be the longest flight I’d ever taken.  I heard someone say that I must have been the person they were waiting for.   Resignedly, I waited for the plane to move.  It was already past time for departure.  There was one empty seat next to me.  I was glad, because that meant I might stretch out that way.  Just then a man ran onto the plane and sat down next to me.  Shit.  Oh, well.

As we traveled, I enjoyed the flight.  The food was amazing on Varig Airlines, a Brazilian flight I’d found that was cheapest.   We had warm towels to wash our hands, and linen napkins and appetizers and drinks.  It was the best restaurant I had ever been to!  My fellow traveler was chatty, and ended up asking me a question that led me to volunteer that I was packing a gun.  He also seemed surprised, but I told him it was in my checked bag, and I explained why I’d brought it, and the procedure I’d had to follow to bring it.  He had told me he was not just a businessman, but also a smuggler.  He said he often smuggled electronics into Peru inside of washing machines that he imported, and that no one ever checked inside of those.  I was impressed.   Of course, much later on, I realized he had been leading me on, pumping me for details, and hoping to make me trust him.   I did trust him, but I had nothing else to tell him.  As we neared Peru, he told me that my bags would most likely be searched at customs, and that it was illegal to smuggle arms into Peru.  I was horrified.  I imagined they’d find the gun and arrest me.  I thought I’d end up in a Peruvian jail, with no way to ever get home.  I didn’t know what else to do, so I queued up with everyone else in line.  They weren’t doing very thorough examinations of each bag, so I began to relax, hopeful that they wouldn’t notice the gun or the bullets.  My seatmate from the plane was ahead of me, and they asked him what he had, and poked through his clothes.  It was my turn!

I pushed my bags toward the custom inspector, but he just patted them and waved me on.  I looked at him, but he gestured emphatically for me to move along.   Whew!  My new buddy was waiting for me, and offered to share a taxi.  I asked him where I could stay, and said he knew of an area frequented by American tourists.  He dropped me off there, but before leaving asked if I might sell the gun and gave me his number.  I thought it might be a good idea, because I was suddenly worried about getting back into the USA with it.  He said he had a friend who might be interested.  Later on, I found out that washing machines were a rarity in Peru, even in the suburbs of Lima, and there were no laundromats at all, but I didn’t know then just how odd my traveling companion’s story had been.

Into the Trees Across the River

It’s funny that no matter how hard I try, how sure I am that I am through with my limerence, my unrequited love of a woman 30 years younger, I seem to circle around it.  I happened to see Karen the other day, down the end of the hallway from me, as she walked along an intersecting hallway.  I’d have shouted a Hi Karen! if I’d been alone, but I was in a conversation with someone, and he was talking to me at that moment. So, I simply waved to Karen, a little bit enthusiastically.  Karen saw me and waved back.  For a few moments I stared at the spot where she had been.  I was practically mesmerized.  Since I was still being spoken to, and I hate to be rude, I jerked my attention back.  The guy speaking to me noticed, and a questioning look came over him briefly, but he never stopped talking.  Later, I remembered that it was Friday, the day that Karen and I always used to have lunch, the only day she would meet me.  We never said we would not meet anymore, but it is obvious enough we will not.  So it goes, as I’ve said before.  I have no idea if she read the email I sent her, or if it just disappeared into the void with other junk mail.  Well, that Karen sighting was no big deal, although I was surprised at my reaction to seeing her, after basically having said my good-bye four months before I leave, before the time comes when there will never be another chance encounter, when she will be lost to me forever. She was never within my reach anyway.

across the river So, this weekend I have been taking it easy. Last weekend’s mountain hike fucked my feet up.  I have a bruise in the center of each heel, probably from walking across so many rockfalls along the trails, and all the other sharp rocks I couldn’t avoid, in a sea of them.  My toes, squeezed too tightly in my simple boots, were sore and raw.  No hiking in the mountains for me this weekend.  Next weekend I will head to Horseshoe Lake


Horseshoe Lake at elevation 11,750 ft.

in the Pecos wilderness area of New Mexico.  It is another 11-mile hike.  I took my other boots in and had them stretched in the toes, so they won’t pinch so badly as last weekend.  I also bought some heel cushions, just in case.   I have looked into buying a new pair of boots, but the 4E width I need was not in stock, and the salesman seemed to think I should get an H width anyway, but he would have to special order them.  I don’t know how they will fit the rest of my foot.  Well, good shoes are important, especially if  one walks a lot or hikes in the mountains at 10,000 feet.  These hikes just keep getting tougher, so I’d better get some tough shoes.

I’ve been reading Ernest Hemingway’s Across the River and Into the Trees.  It is a fascinating book, centering around an old (50 years old, to be exact) army colonel who fought in Italy during the Second World War.  It moves along slowly, telling a story of the Colonel’s return to Italy, just as Hemingway himself did. There is a duck hunt, and war reminisces, and the interplay between the Colonel and his young driver.  I didn’t know anything about the story.  I had read several other of Hemingway’s novels and short stories, and I liked him.  I saw the book in a box of books to be given away.  I took it home to read.  This weekend I found out that the story contains a major subplot, in which the Colonel has met a young woman 31 years younger, and she is madly in love with him, as he with her. Renata_Babak_Kozlovsky He, however, is dying, in an age before heart transplants.  They both know this, but the Colonel and the Italian Countess spend as much time together as possible.  There are obstacles, in that he is divorced, and the Countess should not marry such a man, but that is just a convenient excuse.  The difference in ages is discussed often.  No one begrudges them their affection for each other.  They spend a lot of time kissing, passionately, in gondolas, in the street, and everywhere they are.  Their love is wonderful, perhaps because time is short.  The Colonel takes his pills every day, but still has his “twinges” of pain in his heart.  Love and hearts, they go together.   It is so funny to think that, at least in another lifetime, in a world far away, two people of such different ages could actually love each other, if only for a short time.  To be in love so deeply before one dies – that is surely a good thing, although not for the one left behind.  But the young woman is well aware of that, and accepts it as much as she can.  The two of them pretend at times that they will have five children. Sometimes they pretend to take a train into Kansas City, sometimes they fly into Albuquerque.  It is fantasy and love and wistfulness, and romance.  It is everything I wished I could have had with Karen, who is almost the same distance apart from me as Colonel Cantwell and Countess Renata.

I always thought I must be totally insane to love a woman 30 years younger, to desire her, to pursue her, to fantasize about living together, marriage, children, and warm bodies together on the couch or in bed.  Even though we never kissed, or dated.  She only wanted a friend, especially a safe one.  She thought she was safe with me, the old man.  What she didn’t know was that men are the same always, no matter what age.  Sex is always on our minds, and women can inspire us to great heights of desire and longing.  She is a very beautiful woman, notwithstanding the bad acne that marks her face once a month when her hormones change.  She sometimes covers it with makeup, but I can see it, and I still think she is very beautiful.  In the parts of this blog that I have hidden now,  I have written of my desire to kiss her face all over, to reassure her that such things do not matter.  One time, when the coffee barista called her beautiful, as he does all the women, she reacted strangely, saying she never thought of herself that way.  But she is.  She has a body men would kill to get close to, to hold, to wrap their arms around, and fuck all night.  She doesn’t seem to believe this, although she is 28 years old, soon to be 29.  I think she has a better idea of her appeal now, because she trusts the coffee barista, and she has seen the effect she has on me.  She is a beauty, intelligent and lively, just as Renata is in Hemingway’s novel.

But, of course, any woman a man is in love with is beautiful beyond comparison to any other.  Such was my ex-wife, who I loved constantly, even as she aged and her body bulged and sagged.  Her body excited the hell out of me whenever I saw her nude or touched her.  One time, she accompanied me to Santa Fe, where I was attending some union training.  When the day was over, we sat in the hotel bar, drinking our wine.  I also had a shot of Jamison’s Irish Whiskey, since it seemed like a vacation, a party, a celebration.  She had a couple martinis.  We had not been too loving for some time, and this seemed different.  We were having a good time.  We went to our room and immediately got out of our clothes.  I got into bed and waited for her to join me.  I had forgotten about the effect altitude has on alcohol absorption.  Santa Fe, at 7000 feet above sea level, is 2000 feet higher than we were used to.  We both passed out.   I woke up five, ten, or who knows how much later to feel her naked body against mine.  I was instantly aroused, hard as a steel rod, but she was asleep, out cold.  I thought about waking her, but she had gotten very angry before when I did that.  She often slept late on the weekend, which was the only time we ever had sex anymore, but I usually woke up early and horny.  I often waited for her to wake up, although sometimes when she did she got out of bed to pee, and left me thinking she’d return.  So, sometimes I waited as long as I could, two or three hours after I’d waken up, and then tired to gently arouse her.  It pissed her off  if she wasn’t already awake, so as I lay there that night in Santa Fe, with an enduring rock-hard penis next to my naked wife, I tried to go to sleep, to relax that pulsing muscle and just enjoy the comfort of naked flesh. But I could not.  I held her body and felt her breasts in my hand and her back and her ass and her hands, but she was out cold.   I never got to sleep.  It was an agony of sweet aroused discomfort.  In the morning, when she finally awoke, I tried to interest her in sex, but she said we had sex the night before.  She believed that since we were nude, we must have had sex.  That said a lot.  It meant that, as I’d often suspected, she sometimes passed out after the sex that capped a night of drinking with whatever else we were doing on a weekend night, and she often did not even remember having sex.  Sometimes she said she only had orgasms in her sleep, but I had felt her have them when she was awake.  Of course, since she had often been drinking before that, it now meant that she probably never even remembered some nights we had sex, only the sex in the morning, which was often hurried.  She always had something to do, and liked to have sex over with as soon as possible. However, on this particular morning in Santa Fe, away from home, she had nowhere to be, so she reluctantly agreed to sex.  I was exhausted however, having been awake the entire night, aroused and frustrated.  Now, there was just no life left in me.  I tried, but such a night-long period of continuous tumescence mushroom tumescence had tired the poor muscle out.  Although we had sex later times, the divorce come not much later after that.  I often wonder if that is how she remembers me now.  It was the most aroused I had been with her in years and I lost my chance to truly satisfy myself and surprise her with the passion I had not felt in some time.  Perhaps it would have made a difference, perhaps not.  I know that I rarely drink anymore, and then only socially, and only a single glass.  I still wake up with those hard-ons, but now there is no one in bed next to me anyway.

In Hemingways’ novel, the Colonel dies of a heart attack, after having said goodbye to the Countess, shot some ducks, and is leaving Italy.  I often feel that my life is essentially over.  I did have some love and good times.  That last love though, that long, difficult and wondrous period of exciting unrequited love, that would have been the very best time in all my life, if only it could have been more than fantasy, even for a short magical time.

Echoes echoes e c h o e s e c h o e s e c h o e s


Everyone seems like an echo in my mind now.

There’s an emotional distance I couldn’t have imagined before. Giving up on Karen seemed to put me into a euphoric state of relief, relief that I wouldn’t have those haunting lows of unrequited desire and longing, after each time I was with her, or after my dreams were over, or sent her an email she’d never answer. Instead, I found myself unemotional, with a depression-like lack of interest in anyone.

I saw my old girlfriend Elaine, and hung out with her a little. She was one of those great loves in my entire life, the whole reason I’d moved to New Mexico in the first place, and the reason I’d stayed even after that was over. I found other reasons to stay eventually. Since she’s divorced now, and I’m divorced, the timing is perfect, but the spark just isn’t there. I would think that I’d jump at the chance to be with someone, so I wouldn’t feel the emptiness so much, but, I’ve gotten used to it. She was a woman I loved back then, and she is very similar still, but I don’t really want anyone. She is like an echo in my head, a dim memory that reverberates, but falls off in intensity.

I don’t hate my ex-wife, the dragon,  anymore, although I briefly wanted to see her head explode after she came between me and my step-daughter. Elaine wanted to get revenge on her for me, which brought me out of that! I simply don’t care enough about her anymore, after being in love with her all those years, to want to even hate her anymore. She is another echo. I remember the feeling, but I don’t feel it. Odd.

Irene,  my wife in between Elaine and the dragon, works nearby. I see her from time to time, or get an email from her. She was nice enough to send me pictures of her kids, getting married, their kids, and pictures of herself and her guy. She is a very nice woman, but even if she were available, she is like another echo. There were feelings there once, but where are they now? I used to say that once I loved someone, I loved them. How could I forget that I loved someone? I figured either you do or you don’t. Once you do, there’s no end to it, unless you didn’t love in the first place.

Echoes of feelings, from beginning to end: Teresa my amazingly beautiful 4th-cousin; I wanted to marry her. Kathy, who I thought I was in love with when I started life on my own; she filled me with desire. Sue, who brightened up my life like a supernova; I was so hot for her. Bonnie, who I went to classes with, and drove around town with in her little sports car; I wanted her so bad. Echoes now.

Echoes of sex and love. Geri, my first lover; who disappeared into a mental hospital in Texas; she left me so confused. Polly, the Zionist I argued with about the Palestinians. She had been a virgin, but she left for DC, and then for Israel. Bunny, the first married woman I had sex with; that was weird. She had four kids; one from her boyfriend killed in Vietnam, three with her husband. Her trucker husband was on the road a lot and wanted to kill me later, but they divorced instead, and, after Bunny told me in tears that she’d missed a lot of her pills, gotten pregnant and aborted it, I pulled away. Linda Tatta, the hot Puerto Rican/Italian mix from the projects in NYC. A beautiful woman, smart. I wanted to marry her. She had other guys around, and there was the venereal disease scare that one time. I became a little crazy then; thought she was doing coke, and scared her off. The nurse, an older woman whose last boyfriend had done strange things with knotted plastic bags in her butt. I can’t remember what the sex was like. I know I wasn’t into kinky. Then, I met Leah at a Sci-Fi convention. Leah, who was all about sex, and sex, and sex. Hoo boy; did we ever have sex! I can’t recall if it was ever more than ten times in a single day, we were at it almost all the time, until I left town on my first bicycle trip. We wrote, but by the time I made it back into town, that was just over. Cathy, the dollmaker, divorced, with a daughter, in Scottsdale; we had so much fun together in the desert, and secretly in bed in her rich parent’s house; I left her to continue my bicycle travels, and never made it back. Debbie, a bicyclist I met on the road, and she said I touched something deep inside her; but I had already met Elaine, and I had given her my heart.

The echoes pile up and interfere with each other, like multiple stones dropped into a pond. But the pond is not still, and much more than a 2-dimensional surface is disturbed.

Jody, who I met at a commune in Virginia; she was a Native-American beauty, and her serenity touched me. The utopian commune frowned on monogamy however, and I was already committed to a return to New Mexico by then; I continued my bicycling. I met Marcy, and we drifted sideways a moment, had wild sex, and it was the briefest time imaginable. When next I saw her, it was over, just an echo. The echoes keep coming, and coming. Many of them center around sex. Mary, the carny while I worked for a traveling show. Cindy, the college student I met in Oklahoma. Sheila at the foundry in Arizona. Amy, a friend of Bunny’s; we found a hayloft and pounded that prickly straw into gold. The pregnant woman at the commune in Maryland. The friend of a friend in the cat costume, in a hammock when I first returned to my hometown. Shirley, an older woman, a receptionist at the University while I was still working concrete.

Getting my first blow job in the middle seat of a van full of sleeping people on the road between Albuquerque and New York; that was surreal. Had anyone heard? Did they all know? or care? I was overloaded on sensations then, and can’t remember her name 30 years later.

Jane, the bisexual friend of my roommate. Chris, with the stiff, fake boobs, and Mary, the med student, Rose, the Mormon-Native American mystic, and Maria, the ex-nun from Columbia, and Karen, the air-traffic controller, and Carla, the smoker, from LA. Sigh, too many choices to make just one.

Judy swept into my life, a younger married woman while I was still with Elaine, and the sex was good, and she liked me so much, it seemed. After my relationship with Elaine was over, I saw a little of Judy, but she was married. Even when she finally divorced, I wasn’t sure about her. At a dance one evening in the old hotel downtown, I was ready to ask her to move in with me, daughter and all, but she disappeared with Bruce, of the bad teeth, from Guadalupita in northern New Mexico, who was much more sure about her. I visited her a couple times, but she and Bruce were a definite item. There was Teresa, the meth dealer supporting her daughter; she wanted me to put meth on my penis like people did with cocaine. Fortunately, I didn’t have to make a choice there; she drove off to start a new life in Colorado.

Benay was there right after Elaine. Even while I met other people, we spent so many nights together for five years that we were almost a couple, but not quite. She had two kids, but they lived with their father in Texas. She and I had wonderful sex, but not much else. She met a professor who taught at the University and she was in love with him. He traveled a lot, had an ex too, and wasn’t with her a lot, so she called me, and I’d come over, any time of the night. She had vodka in a water bottle by the bed every night. The pregnancy and abortion were our last acts together too.

When I met Lorraine, I thought I’d found a good replacement for Elaine. She was warm and sensual and we had a year-long friendship before we ever had sex, but only the week before she left town. She called me from Colorado; she was pregnant too, and she needed money for the abortion. I seemed to attract women then for sex, but not for the real life together, raising kids and all such stuff. Such sad, gut-wrenching echoes. Even when she moved back, things didn’t work out.

I spent some time alone with the echoes for awhile. I tried to be alone, but Jane, the cowgirl who rented the place out back was just too interesting to resist. I was trying to sort out my feelings for Elaine, and Lorraine, and Benay, but I was a little put off by the smell of horses she brought into bed with her. A couple guys moved into her place with her. I didn’t see her much after that, except in passing.

One day I met Vickie; I don’t know where. She worked in administration in the school system here. She is very intelligent and the most incredible sexual being I’ve ever met. She once had me lay perfectly still while she fucked me! I was impressed. She was divorced too; had a son. I kept an eye on him while she went off to a conference in Mexico, but while she was gone I met my first wife Irene. When Vickie came back, I had to make a choice. I was still seeing Benay too. One day I ended up, purely by luck, having sex with all three of them on the same day. That is an echo that used to cheer me up, but it seems so far away now.

Before marrying Irene, I went off to Peru to connect with a pen-pal there, a woman, of course. She looked beautiful in her pictures, but I didn’t feel attracted to her when I met her. ELSIE1 We flew off to Cusco and visited Machu Picchu. I was afraid to get her pregnant, and she got an IUD implanted in a Cusco clinic while we were there. Sex was awkward. We also had language problems. My Spanish was rudimentary, and her English lacked understanding; a friend of hers had been helping her translate letters. When my vacation there was over, she cried into her dad’s chest while I sat on the bed watching Spanish-language TV with them, her mom and her bother and sister-in-law. I didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t promised her anything, and I couldn’t stay.

As soon as I got back from Peru, I moved in with Irene. After a year together, we went on vacation and got married. She had two kids, and it seemed best to marry instead of shack up. I was her third husband. That lasted six years, but we dated for a year after the divorce. It still didn’t work. Celia came after that, but when I told her I didn’t love her or want to marry her, she got mad. It was brief.

Then I met the dragon, and there followed 14 years of monogamy, sex, love, fights, travel, and raising her two kids. That’s gone now.

All these echoes. Some patterns there. Some destructive interference, just like sound waves can cancel each other out, or add up to white noise. I screwed up so many times, misunderstood so much, made so many stupid choices. It’s no wonder I find myself alone now. I guess I can’t really complain.

Post High School Life Is Way Better, Really

Awhile back, I wrote 2 short stories here about my romantic encounters with women, an alien species.

After having fallen in love in the second grade, the fifth grade, and then with my fourth cousin after eighth grade, I was on a roll. I was certainly attracted to the opposite sex, and even had dreams about fantastic encounters, but found myself in high school never having dated anyone except my cousin, who had then run off to Texas with some older guy. My high school, unfortunately, was all male. Originally a ‘manual’ training school for ‘delinquent’ boys, the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute did not admit girls. It was an experiment at the time to separate boys and girls to facilitate learning – less distractions, more focus. There is a move these days to bring that back. It may help in grade school, but I think by the time most of us hit high school, you’re not going to get us to ignore biology just because of greater distance between the sexes.

Hell, beside cars, the main topic of conversation in that high school was sex. Personally, I wanted to fall in love again, but without any females around, the prospect was bleak. In fact, since I had zero social skills, I didn’t even have male friends, and didn’t know how to go about having friends. It’s hard to talk about cars or girlfriends if you don’t have either. It’s possible I had what is now recognized as Asperger’s Syndrome*, as I was oblivious to non-verbal cues and couldn’t understand how to have a conversation with anyone. Before High School, I walked to and from school with my eyes on the ground; if I saw people coming towards me I crossed the street to avoid them.  I hated to look in people’s eyes, although it was probably more because my dad insisted, “Look at me when I’m talking to you,”  and he was always angry when he said that, and often grabbed my face.  High school was no better, and with puberty raging, it was a dark and dry time.  However, by the time I was in my second try at my Junior year, the old school had been abandoned for a new one and the city built the new all-girls high school right next door so we could share some facilities. This opened up possibilities, but my complete lack of social skills left me high and dry throughout the rest of my high school days. I was one of those guys who did not go to any prom. After graduation I went to work, and took evening classes. I also volunteered time at the local Free Clinic, so there were lots of opportunities to meet women, but my social skills still sucked.

I met a guy from a nearby college while I was in high school, and we had common interests in politics. We met on a bus ride to Indiana to canvas people for Eugene McCarthy. Len had a group of friends, so after high school, I started hanging out with them, and I shared an apartment with Len. There were lots of parties. I tried weed, but found it didn’t have any effect until my fourth try. I had been ready to give up on it, but on an excruciatingly-long bus ride to Florida for a rock concert, I met some stoners who turned me on to some good stuff, and we took turns smoking in the bus’s crapper. That was nice. I felt much more at peace, and my stress levels fell off to near zero. I had missed out on Woodstock. Although I had made plans to go, there was this woman  in Len’s group of friends that I’d fallen in love with. Kathy went to Woodstock with the guy she’d just started dating, the handsome, but nearly blind Chuck, so I decided I wasn’t going to share the car with them.

Ah! Kathy. Now there was a woman. Intelligent right off. She was four years older, as were the rest of the group I was hanging with, so there was a gap. She once told my roommate that I was just a snot-nosed kid, which was true enough, literally, as I had problems with hay fever then, now known as seasonal allergies. Len, who was gay, told Kathy once that I liked her, which is when the snot-nosed kid phrase got trotted out. However, we did occasionally go to a movie, and she lived nearby, so I often stopped by her place to listen to music, or discuss politics or economic theory with her. She was a fan of Ayn Rand capitalism, an overly-idealistic view of market economics that is blindly believed would create a better society. Always wanted to try out her silk sheets. She wrote poetry, and I still have one of her poems:

“COME, FOLLOW ME  – Kathleen Norvell

You called to me                 but I could not follow.
You ran fleeting over fields of
forget-me-nots, asphodels, lotus.
I tripped, fell,
through meadows of hemp, poppies.
I could not remember what I chased
I lay down in the red fields of
Now I lay me down to sleep            perchance to dream?

But you whispered to             my slumbering self-seeker,
“Come, follow me.
I will take you to               the liquid sky –
a sea you may walk upon.
You can turn cartwheels on a sickle moon.
Swim through seas of mustard seed waving.
Come, follow me.”
But I could not rise             from my scarlet slumber.

You pleaded again.
“I will let you                  swing from lampposts
by your knees.
Paint the sky at night
in green and lavender.
Slide down the
seven-tone bannister
into tomorrow.
Come, follow me.
We’ll build sand castles
in the Sahara
anthills on Everest.
See sun-up-and-down at once.”
Still you beckoned me.
“Come follow me.
Your raiment will be
of crystal webs and moonbeams.
Come, follow me!”

I shook the dust
of dreams from my eyes
I dragged myself      away
from the ruby dell of dreams.
I leapt into the shimmering skies
following the sun rays
of your eyes.
I ascended beside the glittering voice
of you who summened,
the plains of the mind,   seas of the psyche,
within me, without me.
I could not see your voice
only heard the beautiful
flowing streamers of gold you wore.

“Come, follow me!”

I reached up, I
struggled, stretched my
hand out.  I touched the
glistening hem of your garment.
Closed my eyes.
I opened my eyes

You lied.”

She was a romantic like me. She wasn’t interested in me, however, as she was in love with someone else in the group, Brian, who eventually married the woman, Maggie, also in the group, who he was in love with. I was fascinated with the whole dynamic from my outsider perspective. Kathy was in love with Brian, who was in love with Maggie. I was in love with Kathy, but the only person attracted to me was Len, my fat, foul-smelling roommate, and I wasn’t having any of that. For awhile, Brian moved in with me and Len, so Kathy found lots of excuses to drop by, and that was the only reason she went to movies with me. I tried to get her to go for a drink or get a bite to eat afterwards, but she always wanted to rush back to my apartment. She had these long, beautiful legs and she could really move. Brian, of course, was usually there. Only after his wedding did she back off. That’s when I thought my chances would improve, but then Chuck came into the picture, and I had no chance at all. Story of my life at this point.

Then I met Sue at a mixer. Someone intelligent, in college, and my age. Things were looking up.

*Asperger Syndrome Symptoms

Good Morning

Sept. 23, 2007

Nothing wakes you up better than eight shots of espresso, I suppose. Actually, it’s two Americano coffees with four shots in each. Every Sunday morning I walk through the compound, and cross the street to the Flying Star cafe. It’s always busy, and, although I used to to hate that, now I embrace it. Some people are regulars, like the bicyclists in their skintight uniforms and racing helmets as if they are competing in the tour de France today. Usually there’s a motorcycle or two, but cars predominate. There are families with kids, couples, and old farts, even older than me. The giant windows let in plenty of sunlight to read the Sunday paper. Today I broke down and ordered breakfast too, a $6 croissant with eggs, green chile and cheese. An anti-histamine combined with espresso is doing a lot for my spirits, lifting my sadness at being alone, and pushing back the cold I picked up on my trip to San Jose. The family reunion/birthday party for my Uncle was a joyous occasion, but we probably should not have all sucked on the giant jeroboam of Merlot. A 2003, if I recall correctly. Of course, my cousin Margaret (Peggy) was living with my aunt and uncle and she had been sick too, and she kissed me. And then there are the four planes I used going and returning, with their closed-in musty odor. But, I digress. It rained last night, and remained cloudy this morning, but just as my mood began to chemically brighten, the sun peaked through and lit up my table. Nice.

I think about my 1st wife and the recent conversations I’ve had with her, and look around to see if she has come in. She said she sometimes does. I told my 1st stepdaughter, who lives a few miles down the same road, that I come here very Sunday morning. She is not here either. I think about my recent ex-wife, the Dragon. I should call and see if I can pick up my picture albums from our China trip, but I have all those pictures on disk, so I can’t decide if it would be worth it. I remember the last time I was there, getting the computer finally configured with its own peripherals instead of mine. Her son found the computer for her, but did not set it up. She needed it to look for and apply for jobs. I still don’t know if she ever found one, but she is paying the mortgage. I signed the quitclaim to the house, so it’s entirely her responsibility now. I remember her bare legs next to me as she fed cables down behind the desk for me to connect to the computer. I wanted to run my hand along and up them, under her diaphanous wrap, wondering if, not expecting company right then, she had panties on. She seemed nicer, and perhaps she wouldn’t have minded. Perhaps it would have led to sex. Perhaps it would have been nice. I decided not to try for it. I was still mad at her anyway, and I want to concentrate on Karen instead. Karen could not care less, but still, it’s Karen I really want. (Is that insane, or what?)

An email showed up late Friday afternoon; Karen said she was going to lunch right then, late, but after all. No invitation, but that’s usually implied anyway. So I went. I’d already eaten, and by the time I saw her email and went over there, she was done eating too, and reading her book. Not to be put off, I sat down and talked to her anyway. She put her book down with a little bit of impatience, but I didn’t care, not now. I wanted to talk, to see her, to give her a book I’d read on the plane, and gifts from the Muir Forest in San Fran. She didn’t say much at first, and I kept on talking until she opened up and told me a little about her day and her job. She finally smiled as she talked. When she moved to go, I gave her the gift, these tiny redwood cones made into earrings, in a little redwood snap-shut box. The box had her name on it and it’s derivation and meaning (pure). She smiled when she saw that, and seemed happy to have real redwood pine cones. She likes gifts, but I suspect she hates to give me such encouragement. I’d buy her diamonds if I thought she’d have them. Can’t do that. Can’t push those boundaries too much, or I may not ever see her again, and I surely want to see her, every day if I could.