Sunday, September 18, 2005
By request, back to where we started . . .
So next year, Dara and I were in ap english together. In the beginning of the year, the teacher assigned projects for each author—Dickinson, Donne, Steinbeck, Yeats, Faulkner, Shakespeare, are some I remember immediately—on a volunteer basis. When he came to Joyce, everyone kind of looked around fretfully to see who would take the plunge--I already had my hand up, curious because of his rep, and Dara, seeing no-one else volunteering, thought it was stupid to be afraid like everyone else and so poked her hand up. So it was us, and I got to begin learning Joyce and get really close to Dara (how's that for writerly sentimentality?) at the same time. We actually spent all our time talking about her boyfriend (who was in rehab at the time), or about my non-girlfriend S-- B--, and never got any work done. I spent all my time alone (when I wasn't at my friend Bo's ostensibly studying for AP physics and really playing wargames & listening to the Talking Heads until 3 am) trying to puzzle out Ulysses w/out any guides (no one told me about Budgen, etc, just to go look for books about U-- in Alexander Library. I ended up, by prediliction, with heady marxist critics and other inscrutabilities, not the basic outlines I needed) ( also, I was the kind of student who frustrated all his teachers, esp. English teachers; they just couldn’t get me to think the way they wanted me to, and I was too earnest/stupid to realize the game wasn’t really education in any creative sense, so I kept trying as if it was. Just so you know.). When it came time for our presentation, Dara read pretty much directly from the Cliff Notes (because she had done no other work, and knew what the teacher wanted) and got an A, and I, for all my effort to grapple directly with the text, got a C (and a stern note that such a presentation, in college would deservedly fail). I imagine, in retrospect, my presentation was solidly incomprehensible.
By this time, we were very good friends, very comfortable with each other. We used to sit on the hill overlooking
At the end of the year, we would go to the prom together. Dara asked me, and I said maybe, if S—B— wouldn’t go with me. Then I was going with J— L—, until J— L— and I weren’t going out anymore, and by then S— B— wasn’t free to be asked, so Dara & I went. As friends, of course. We had fun. The first night she got really drunk and puked in my shoes. Then we drove to a house in the poconos and because it was raining and we were in her best friend Deb’s Tercel, and we went off the appropriate road and into a large puddle (impromptu pond, really), we ended up wandering through silent rainy woods looking for help (me & Dara, Deb, and E— J—, another girl/woman—I felt very protective, and very not-up-to-being-so-if-the-need-arose), the silence interrupted once by a shotgun shot (hunting season). I was in full neurotic mode, and so was E— J—. Dara & Deb couldn’t stop laughing. Then we found a hermity family who helped us, and then finally the party vacation house, where all my plans for opening my heart to S— B— were ruined—ruined!—so I got drunk with a bunch of my guy friends and puked in Dara’s shoes. Then she took care of me and finally I passed out on the only mattress available—a crib mattress—face down, so when I woke up I couldn’t walk for my knees having been bent so backwards so long. Oh, the drama. Can you take it?
Next installment – we kiss!
Thanks for the great posts...