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2012 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
The road
I chatted in writing with a friend from Nicaragua and a student from Cambodia at the same time last night; how wonderful was that! I am making plans with my friend, who has fallen in love with El Salvador, to spend more than a month in Cuba and Central America. It does my heart good to be thinking of getting out of here. And my student is so affectionate, so welcoming. How I would love to get back to Siem Reap while my students are still living there, be their teacher again for a month or two. How I would love to see my dear friends in Poland, married now, and kiss the ground outside the McLeod Ganj, India bus station. Home. The road is home.
Making stuff
It doesn’t matter where I start, I just need to start. I’d like to begin painting on the big wall in the Long Hall. I want to order seven little panels to paint on, too, one for each day of the week, and maybe get that squiggly scratchy wire tool I left behind at one of art supply stores. Scratchboard! I want to do scratchboard! Refrigerator-magnet-sized, to begin with. And I want to embellish my black hoody, though I think I may want to dye it a deeper black first.
Creativity is easing my obsession, that disturbing focus not so much on the Actor – the person most recently cast in the role – as on the Character of my Sweetheart, a role many Actors have played. When the latest Actor bristled at my admission of obsession, I told him that it was really nothing personal. This was apparently not the source of comfort I had hoped it would be. And of course it’s not that simple. The Actor is, at least for a time, braided with the Character. It’s difficult to separate the two.
I know this isn’t healthy. I know this isn’t what I’m looking for. I gave up looking for such a long time, for all the good that did me. I want to be at least a promising beginner in the realm of intimacy. I want to do this work. But all I know now is that a side effect of the easing of my obsession with the Sweetheart Character is a chilly look at the current Actor’s apparent lack of compassion. This doesn’t bode well.
Grace hasn’t got much to say about the object of my obsession. Why doesn’t that surprise me? Grace just wants me to make stuff, get out of this country for a while.

2010 Hampi, India
Notes from underground
I had a dream of a small box, the size that six papier-mâché coasters might fit in, light aqua in color. I think it had a ribbon, but it wasn’t very elaborate. The box was given to me by someone who was not happy with me. I was apprehensive about what might be in the box, and I wanted to involve other people in opening it. A journey was also prominent in the dream, and I sense that the journey kept getting in the way of opening the box. I never did find out what was in that box, though I suppose I am the creator of it. I love remembering any dream at all, but I especially love this one, with its mystery that is still a mystery, that will probably always remain a mystery.

2009 Krakow, Poland
Notes from underground
I dreamed of a grade of 9.6 out of 10 on a paper of mine that the professor nonetheless acted offended about having to read.

2008 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
Notes from underground
I slept almost through the night. Lightly, ever so lightly, but until after 5:00. It feels like a miracle. In 24 hours I expect to be sitting at my gate at the airport. Dare I hope I can carry this newfound ability to sleep along with me to Poland?
The road
He knows I’m leaving tomorrow. He finally called last night, though we barely talked because I was in a meeting he probably remembers I attend every Wednesday night. When I called him back, he didn’t answer, and so far he hasn’t returned my call. But oh, it was wonderful to hear his voice, and perhaps even more wonderful to hear my own voice speaking his language, that soft, intimate voice I use only with him. There was a new quality in my voice last night, a profound, perhaps not unshakeable happiness, but a happiness to which I know I can return after it has been shaken.

2005 Parkrosk, Portland, Oregon, United States
After we greeted each other, “Good morning,” he said, “Wellllllll?” with that extended questioning sound that makes it clear the next move is mine, and there is a set of expectations regarding that move. It annoys me that he always wants me to apologize first, but it doesn’t annoy me enough to refuse or play dumb. Just as he always wants me to apologize first, he is always willing to apologize second.

2004 Parkrosk, Portland, Oregon, United States
When I didn’t respond to the barbaric tone in his voice when he kept yelling, “Come here,” he came into the bedroom where I was trying to sleep and turned on the light. (Telling him how much I hate this may not have been one of the smartest moves I ever made.) He said a lot of things it’s probably just as well I didn’t understand. I suspect he uses an esoteric vocabulary and complex grammatical forms when he doesn’t want me to understand his first language; I do that when I don’t want him to understand mine. But he did say one thing I understood and wished I hadn’t. He apologized for it later, but that was under duress, and the damage was already done. I wonder if there are any limits to what he’ll sully, besmirch, despoil, drag through the mud.

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