Full days now. Planning board meetings. Therapy appointments. Friends crowd into my life. One marvelous lifeguard charms me with his stories and fills my mind with fantasies. Dan’s 35th birthday yesterday. Dale and Fran to visit almost the whole day today. Dale commented that it is pretty bad when he has to come and read my journal to find out what is happening around town. Duck arrives on his new scooter all smiles in his helmet and leather jacket. PAH and his wife are here also, and as the neighbors and boyfriends fill the house and yard all I want to do is write in my journal.
I hate experiences that pile up unwritten. I lose them so easily. Sometimes I feel so selfish.
What did I do, I ask myself? I came home from the beach, went to a big party up on the point, got drunk, and brought one of the honored big-shot guests home and balled him all night.
He was a cruel man. I feel all torn inside, torn and mangled. I am bleeding. I cannot move one arm, and my collarbone seems bruised. I hurt all over. Enough! Tomorrow Dorothy and I are going to get sober.
Evening visitors made my day a joy. Dan arrived full of disgust for a friend who disappointed him. I put a certain amount of abstract effort into cheering him up before Will arrived straight from work. We enjoyed half an hour of bar bouncer stories while he wound down then got into a marvelous discussion of Kant, Nietzsche, Camus, and philosophy for the soul. More evenings should be spent this way. This is what it is all about.
Lenora has her wall up against me. I understand this, but I am frightened for her. She has been taking speed. No denial; she just avoids me. It makes me want to give up. Speed. I am so terribly frightened.
Jo has borrowed an apartment and is typing away madly on her play. Don said that she came back from the desert revitalized yet mellow. She has completed ten pages now.
“All I have to do is finish it,” she tells me. “I sat down and it began to write itself. Now I feel like a playwright, and I am really happy.”
Will has started an alternative world novel, and Dan has given up reading about religion and has gone back to painting full blast. Creativity. No creativity for Terry’s sister Cal, who moved in up the block. She was beaten up at work, and now doesn’t look like my friend any more as she is covered with stitches, and bruises are everywhere. No broken bones. Right now she is too fragmented to find creativity in anything.
I have been drawing and not drinking. The only time that I felt like drinking yesterday was when I sliced the hell out of my left thumb. In the midst of the pain, blood, and gore, I longed intensely for a little bourbon. Physically I’m still a wreck from that one-night-stand, and my abdomen is swollen as if I was six months pregnant. I know I will feel better in a few days, but I truly regret bringing that man home.
One full week of sobriety now since I brought that horrible man home with me. It is not as bad as I thought it would be. I’m just doing it. If I didn’t have the bitter certainty of the long spiral into death before me, I would think all this too easy.
Projects cover every surface. I cannot see my house for the books. Any spare moment I have has been spent with a book lately. I am deeply touched by Reich’s The Sorcerer of Bolinas Reef as well as Mark Vonnegut’s Eden Express. Can you believe that I, this screaming liberal, have two books of William F. Buckley’s sitting in my book piles? Everything from mysteries to adventures of the mind takes me away from my own mind. Ted Simon’s journey on his motor bike competes with Quentin Bell’s biography of Virginia Wolfe. Both set me to thinking down new paths.
Jo just called her voice full of joy. Her play is born. She titles it Diver’s Song. A friend has said he will see if they can get it a reading at the Globe.
While I was out in front of the building helping a neighbor with the final loading for his move back east, the manager slipped me the news that the owner was going to raise the rent again. Not just once in August, but he will raise it again in February. All of a sudden, I felt so old and alone. So very much all of those…and defeated too.
I’ve been hunting for somewhere new to live, and a few spots turned up close by. I applied for one small cottage. Hours were spent in the sun listening to lifeguards too. This company at the beach sent me home with a sense of momentary comfort and belonging that I do not usually have. Art world people are not the joining type, and these guards were all united in a common cause and on a common journey. I envied them this as I let the talk of buoys, rescues and boats flow all around me.
In all reality, the kids have effectively moved out for the summer. I worry. Their absence gives me a physical peace that I have not had since last summer, but I still worry.
I joined others who stood like sentinels on the sandy berm. What seemed confusion on the surface with this rescue was ordered chaos in reality. All my perceptions seemed heightened by the tragedy. The orange of the trucks, the clarity of the sea and the sky, the green blanket over the woman’s body on the sand, the flashing lights, all seemed magnified. The huddle of the lifeguards was the only still spot on the beach. Hoards of onlookers flowed like the tide around or in, or circling slowly pushing gently against the drama on the sand.
Suddenly the stillness of the water near the jetty was snapped. Two more lifeguards ran to the ocean….blue broken by orange clad bodies. Pushing outward, Bob held his bright orange buoy shoulder high. Katie swam. The ocean outlined her strong arms as they dug deeply into the water in a butterfly stroke again and again. Her suit was just a fragment of orange in the foam. They both reached the small, flailing children at the same time. I felt uncomfortable there watching these friends, these joking, caring, chocolate eating friends become so hard and certain in themselves. I felt more than uncomfortable watching tragedy unfold. It was not my place to be there.