The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Split Personality

Disclaimer: If you haven't seen Fight Club, you may not get some of these connections, and I beg you not to ask anyone about the movie or think about it to much. Please, just see it. There have been few moments in my life where I have been more grateful than when I realized no one had told me how this movie ends, though they had the opportunity, and I was getting to experience it for myself. Someone ruined the Sixth Sense for me, and I'm still rather bitter about it. So please, maybe don't even read this post. But since some of you are masochists, I'm going to be intentionally vague.

Tonight I saw Fight Club. I had been meaning to see it for a long time, and somehow I finally did. I absolutely loved the freakin' crap out of it. It is now one of my favorite movies, and as soon as I realized that fact, I imagined myself telling someone what my favorite movies were. I have no definitive *absolute* *favorite* movie, just several that are on equal footing. They are as follows, in no particular order, absolutely equal in their awesomeness: Fight Club, Donnie Darko, Ever After, The Saint, Gosford Park, My Fair Lady. It is at this point I realize that another person, upon hearing my list, would think I have a split personality. And so I may.

After watching the movie 1.5 times (re-screened a few scenes to catch details) I went upstairs to the bathroom to wash my face &ct. When I looked at my hands, I noticed another raised blister. I started noticing the blisters about two days ago, always at night right before bed. They come from calluses on my palms that start to peel off. Most of the calluses are at the bases of my fingers. Every time I notice them, I wonder where they come from. The only time in my life that I've had calluses in those places on my hands was when I used to swing from the pull-up bars on the playground doing flips and tricks all recess every day. I scour my brain trying to figure out where they come from, what tasks I could be performing with my hands that would cause such marks. Writing? Typing? Driving? Playing piano? Carrying purse? None of it fits the bill. I considered that they could be from my rings, but there are calluses where my rings don't rub, and I've been wearing the same rings for months and years, why calluses now?

There seems to be no explanation. There are more and more calluses all the time, along the same line of force or friction, whatever is causing them. I begin to wonder.... am I going to bed earlier? Waking up later? Do I have bathtubs in my basement? Do people call me sir?

I am Jack's complete and utter bafflement.

My advice: stay out of major cities for a couple of days.

Friday, October 29, 2004


Tonight my life fell around me in drops
like the rain that polka-dotted the surface of my skin
with circular liquid kisses

The faces were mismatched inside their drops
and had strange elements
a cigarette
a smile

The lightening that used to make my pulse jump
became a drop in itself
and fell upon my arm
like a "thinking of you" card

Likewise, his face fell all around me
the digits of his phone number
each in its own drop, tempted me
but one was missing
only six instead of seven
the perfect number

He is a seven like me, but tonight
he was another drop, scrambled
in this shower of my life

I felt like screaming, Why don't you love me
How can you live with yourself without apologizing

But running in the rain
with the drops of my life
smacking my forehead, kissing my
cheeks and stinging my eyes
is almost good enough

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Letting Go

Well, if you've read my blog for any substantial ammount of time, you'll be familiar with someone who I once referred to as "Former Friend" (never the best alias, but I didn't want to go so far as to give him a fake name... that seems silly). A good entry to display the lamenting is one from October 12, 2003, but suffice it to say that one year ago, I got my heart broken by him in a rather unorthodox way. Over the course of the year that followed, I still saw him fairly often, as we went to the same school, had some of the same friends, etc. He even started going to the same college as me this fall. Every time I'd see him, I'd have a mini anxiety attack. I've had a few theories as to why, but mostly it was because I was afraid of him hurting me again. It seems like every time I think I'm over him, or past it, or whatever, he does something new that causes all the pain to bubble back up to the surface. There were some things he did that could be considered disrespectful to me, but ultimately the things that hurt me the worst were the things he did to hurt himself.

For a year, I liked to think I'd moved on. I didn't think of him very much, but when I saw him it would all come back. Every time he took another "wrong turn" I'd take another emotional nose dive. Our relationship officially ended on October 9, 2003; I'd hoped to finally have closure by October 9, 2004. I planned to talk with him, to find out what was really happening in his head, why he cast me aside, what went wrong, why he changed, what he wanted to do now, etc etc etc. I guess I wanted it all explained, all anaylzed. I probably thought that if we were both finally totally honest with each other and all the problems were picked apart, understanding would ease the pain and give me closure.

That conversation did not happen. On October 8, I walked to my car to go to lunch, and his familiarly happy car was parked next to mine. What's more, he was in it. He got out when he saw me and we talked. We didn't talk about any of the things I'd thought I wanted to talk about. We didn't talk about what happened a year ago; I think I've known all along. We didn't talk about what went on in his head; I know enough of that. We didn't even talk about how much we love each other; that never needed to be said. Love has always passed between our eyes, and it always will.

Instead of talking about the past, we talked about the present and future. He told me that he wanted to drop out of school and leave the country, in hopes of finding something more meaningful on the other side of the world. My initial reaction was, of course, hurt. This wasn't what I wanted for him. I wanted him to go to college, get a degree, go to grad school, get another degree, get a wife somewhere along the line, have kids, and have a career where he was able to share his incredible genius and insight with the rest of the world. An author, perhaps, or a government hacker. A social critic, a speaker, an activist, a psychologist, a teacher. I wanted to believe that the depressed, indifferent, cold atheist he'd become last summer wasn't who he really was. I wanted to believe that he would get past this youthful discontent, this self-destructive tirade, and find a way to channel his unique perspective positively. I wanted him to see the goodness in things, the way I do. I wanted him to see goodness in himself, and magnify it. Once again he was doing the opposite of what I wanted for him; he was throwing away that future for a dangerous indulgence that could lead to ruin and death.

Then I stopped and thought. He was telling me that he wanted to leave because he felt like he didn't belong in this comfy suburban world. He felt like he had to find himself someplace else, someplace more simple or more pure. He wanted to find out who he really was, and he wanted that person to be good. He wanted to be better, but he felt that he had to take a drastic step and get out there in order to do that. I realized, suddenly, that I wanted that for him too, and what's more, it didn't matter what I wanted for him. He had never done what I wanted him to do, he had never made the choices for himself that I wanted him to make, and he never would. I'd thought that I'd relinquished responsibility for him a year ago, but all I did was increase the distance between us; I'd never actually given him up.

I told him that I supported him, and I wished him well. We hugged, for the first time in over a year, and we savored the feeling of each others' arms, knowing it would be a long time before we held each other again, if in fact we ever did. As I drove away, I realized that somehow I was finally free. I no longer felt any pain. Of course I wish only the best for him, and hope he never comes to harm, but somehow I no longer feel the desperation I once did. One year after we stopped seeing each other, I had finally let go.

When a friend told me the other day that he had, in fact, dropped out of school, I didn't crash. I didn't go into raving hysterics, and I didn't cry. I noted it, I understood it, and I moved on.

It is a strange feeling, and sometimes I worry that I'm become hardened or cold because I'm no longer destroyed by the actions or fates of others. I want to be caring and feeling, and I feel like this newfound stregth will inevitably rob me of some of my ability to love. For now, though, I simply wonder at it, waiting for it to seep through me until I fully understand this new aspect of myself.

I am a person who has loved, been heartbroken, and finally let go. Somehow it feels like a new pair of shoes.

Monday, October 11, 2004

From Party to Prison to Africa

I don't really have anything to write about, but I felt compelled to update.

Oh! I know. I'll relate to you some dreams of late.

In one of them, I was hanging out at a party in an old abandoned factory... sort of a conglomerate of various Buffy sets. My cousin Curtis then showed up rather inexplicably, looking nothing like himself, and introduced me to his friend Westin. Yes, Westin; not to be confused with Dustin, even though he looked *exactly* like Dustin, if not for the fact that Westin had jet black hair and dressed differently. Westin turned out to have a different personality, too, but Curtis seemed to have a bet going with him that I would think he was Dustin... though why my cousin thought I was so incredibly dim is beyond me.

Anyway, I think I ended up blowing both of them off, even though Westin was rather interesting and had been telling me about his job, which somehow involved books. Yes, I am boring.

Next, I jumped in my car and started driving down Walnut Lawn. At one point, Curtis and Westin were there, but they disapparated as soon as the situation got sticky. How did it get sticky, you ask? Well, it seems that as I was driving, I ended up behind a caravan transporting prisoners. Somehow, I got too close to the caravan and my car got sucked into the bus carrying all the Big Scary Convicts. My car then diapparated as well, leaving me on my own in a bus with forty huge men and their tattoos. Thoroughly deflated and put-out that everyone had disapparated on me, I resigned myself to the slim hope of being able to charm the prisoners into not gang-raping and killing me. Then I turned and saw my friend Jenny, from Summerscape, was among the ranks. We greeted each other and I was instantly popular with all the Big Scary Convicts, who were now my friends. It seems that they loved Jenny, and thus loved me. Jenny was in prison for being crazy, and I figured that since my mental state was on par with hers, I could just as easily be in the same position, so I was one of them.

We got to the destination prison and were hanging out having a jolly good time when the boys decided to lead a prison revolt. Unfortunately, my Uncle Matt was one of the prison guards, and there wasn't a thing I could do for him. The really big and bad guys sent me, Jenny, and a bunch of other prissy prisoners out immediately, then locked themselves in with the guards to turn the tables a little. I'm sure it wasn't pretty, but that's when I woke up.

Last night I was in "Africa" where I was trying to negotiate with some company about the rights of the indigenous people. Said indigenous people were romping about having a dandy time around a giant crater-like beach; the ocean (which was a perfect turquoise blue) was at the bottom, and the sand of the beach rose up around it like a cliff, creating a single giant sand dune. The men had beautiful patterns of white paint on their faces, and the women wore bright lengths of cloth. I wanted to stop messing with the business people and jump in the ocean.

That's all I can remember, but I'm certain there was much more.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


It's been four months and it still doesn't quite seem real. This world is so different that it's hard to get used to. It must be sinking in, though, because the random fits of crying started only recently. I think it was about four months after Jill's father died that it sank it for her. I should probably watch out for the others and see if it hits them anytime soon.

I had a premonition Friday afternoon that Michael would say "goodbye, Nattie". I knew he was leaving Saturday morning and, while I tried not to think about it, something inside me felt that familiar pang of loss... the two men who understood me the best called me "Nattie", and I suppose I felt that Michael's goodbye would serve well enough for both of them; maybe even as a sort of vessel for Grandpa's words. My melodrama, yes. But when I hugged Michael at the top of my hill Friday night, I had forgotten about the premonition. it wasn't until I had my back turned and was walking away that he said it. I didn't turn around. I couldn't. The wind blew; the first chilly gale of the year, and I walked down the hill and into my house. I didn't cry, which was odd since I've been crying at the slightest thing. I expected to cry, I even *tried* to cry, but nothing came.

Saturday night I reached into the back of my closet bookshelf for my copy of Shakespeare's "Four Comedies" and noticed the roses I'd plucked from Grandpa's burial bouquets, still hanging upside down. They were dry so I took them down and laid them on my stereo. It's time to take the grief and truth out of the closet it's been hanging in and bring it out to live with me everyday.

He isn't off in Key West, and he won't be home for Christmas.