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02-13-04 - -

Over cigarettes and wine we trade family stories, and he tells me how “versatile” I am, how sitting talking with me I am “just like a man” and I am supposed to understand that it is a compliment. I talk with pride about the gender roles we flirt with but fail to encompass fully and I wonder aloud how the polarized gender couples on television hold their ttheoretical relationships. She is shopping; he is barbecuing and kicking back a few beers. What do they have in common?

It is my job to keep the drunken secrets. I know intuitively never to bring up again what he said about Paul unless he does. I must at the same time know how he feels about men and occasionally forget. I don’t mind, really. Then later we are cooking soup from a powder. Or he is talking in a voice that sounds like a cartoon whoopee cushion. We discuss old men and “deck shoes” and penny loafers. There is a pronounced sense of comfort. In bed we accidently manhandle each other and I bleed when he penetrates me. Sometimes I fear that he will leave me because I will fail to be sexually exciting. Then I realize the extent to which my own mind wonders and how without effort I put those thoughts aside.

I have designed this Valentine’s Day. I know that he loves me, and I don’t need him to prove it,. I also knew that I felt I needed to do something new, go out like we used to before it suddenly became too expensive. Why not meet my own needs? I decided to be assertive and plan the entire affair. We’re seeing musical theatre, a tribute to Cole Porter, although only seats are at the bar were left when I made reservations. He will see me in a dress for the fifth or sixth time, pink no less, and I will paint my face to remind him how greatful I am. We are going to a restaurant that is already half paid for by Christmas gift certificate. He must have spent $150 or so on Valentine’s last year, and I was swept away, but he warned me today that he wasn’t going to get me much now. Last year “we” were new and I needed to be wooed. Now I have learned to read him and the subtle ways he shows me his affection without tradition and sometimes without words.

I have wondered if Bat has been keeping me down but realized wisely that it is myself. Bat and his poets’ group have very limited views of what is good poetry, but I don’t have to take them to heart. I don’t need to be afraid to become politically inspired and perhaps even politically active because Bat finds the entire process intrusive or at the very least frightening somehow. Just because Bat does not enjoy these things does not mean he does not want me to do them. And even if he did not want me to, I need to start developing a selfhood again, as I was in our time apart perhaps. I have been using laziness as a coping mechanism and it has been working horribly. I have done everything half-assed, late, or not at all. At the present time I am trying to reclaim things. I am beginning to get in shape. I am trying to catch up in school again. I must start writing for myself and most of all dreaming for myself.

And these are but a few of the thoughts in my head.



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