I dreaded what had inexhorably happened to me. My first year in grad school, was Linda's last as an undergraduate. At the end of that year we were a couple. She wanted to live with me, I demurred. As as undergraduate I had first lived with Tommy, then with Geoff, and I remembered how trapped that had made me feel. But what else was to keep her in the city?
Our new apartment was delightful. We had a room each. However, we always slept in her room. When I made an excuse to sleep in the lumpy bed in my room I felt her dismay and anger. It made my room, which was built in a round turret and should have been such a haven... It made my room cold, inhospitable, impossible.
As the year went by, I could not retreat into that room, but I could try to retreat inside myself. I wrote in my diary how awful I felt - as if I was living with all my skin peeled off. She touched me and I jumped. I wrote about my cat who was bad-tempered and liable to scratch if you stroked her for a second too long. That's how I was feeling. I also wanted to be allowed to scream and scratch without forfeiting love. I think I spent a lot of time mendaciously trying to make up in word and gesture for my constant, naked, screaming thought - LEAVE ME ALONE.
I told myself I was just in a phase, probably attributable to the tension I was under. That summer I was writing my MA thesis. Linda's father had just had a stroke and she had been spending a lot of time with her family. This led me to complain that I needed her as well, that she always felt too responsible and took on too much and basically did not come thorugh with the things she had promised to do for me (i.e. support me through my traumas.) So as you can see the strings of that hammock held me in every criss-cross way.
During this time I went to New York for a job interview, and was mugged in Central Park. When I returned that evening I was very, very glad, Linda was there to pick me up at the airport and coddle me. But during that night there were shrieks, running feet, car engines revving, and shouts in nd around our building, while bright head lights shone in the yard. Shocked out of our sleep - sleeping so sweet beneath her colorful quilt, because external turmoil helped to bury and displace the inner stuff. We ran back and forth and up and down and discovered that neighborhood vigilantes had caught a burglar rifling the apartment next to ours.
I began to feel that forces were massing to prevent me finishing my thesis.
Other memories jogged by this photo. This Photo. All the Photos
Pictures in Chronological Order