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Simon Sobo Writing

A collection of opinion pieces and chapters from his novels

Chapter 4: Jeremy tells Dave about his new love

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Jeremy approaches Dave Miller’s office.  They’ve known each other since the fourth grade. Their relationship has been up and down since then, but during the last several years, being in the same graduate program has turned them into pals.  Both teach literature courses, but even when they are covering the same material, they couldn’t be more different.  Dave’s careful thinking contrasts with Jeremy infatuation with sizzling ideas. Dave favors well-researched apparent certainties. They may be approximations but in his mind they are a done deal. While Jeremy can be bombastic he is capable of  changing his mind.  Like his hero Wittgenstein, his questions never stop.

Jeremy knocks on Dave’s door quickly four times. Dave knows the knock.  He puts down a paper he was grading, glad to be rid of it.  The student in question is not stupid and is sincere, but he overreaches.  Dave likes him for that. Without success, however, he’s tried to gently communicate that quality  also is his biggest weakness.

Jeremy opens the door without hearing a come in. “Busy?” he asks.

“Not at all.”

Dave can see that Jeremy is upset.

“Still stuck with your dissertation?”

Jeremy’s frown answers his question.

“You can do it. Believe it or not, I finished mine.  I handed it in yesterday.”

With a big smile Jeremy grips Dave’s in a playful handshake.  Then he gives him a love tap on his chest. If Dave can get it done, there is hope for Jeremy.

“We’ll have to celebrate,” Jeremy tells him cheerfully.

“How about now? Let’s get out of here.”

He throws the student’s paper on his desk, glad to be free of him.

Just off campus they go to a coffee shop that they both like, a funky combination of old oak Windsor chairs grouped around tables.  Part of the floor shows peeling linoleum, part grayed wood, the finish worn off.  Two leather sofas have cracked with dryness. In front of them are coffee tables, covered by today’s and yesterday’s newspapers.  The shop would be bleak were it not for several very nice-looking student waitresses who dress the place up, that and loud Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Richie Havens, Mother Earth.  A busboy puts water in their glasses.  Jeremy and Dave hold up their glasses.

“To Dr. Miller.” Jeremy clicks his water glass on Dave’s, “Practically there.”  Dave’s eyes say thank you.

“To the future Dr. Slater,” Dave offers, “who is about to get his act together starting this afternoon.”

Jeremy smiles. “I wish.”

“You wish?  Forget wishing.  You just have to do it.”

Jeremy again clicks Dave’s glass, a bit aggressively this time. “Okay, Mr. Get–It–Done Dave, what’s your secret?”

“No secret.  You just have to tunnel ahead. Dig your way there.”

“Through the mud.”

“Mud, hail, rain.” Dave answers.

“And shit.” Jeremy predictably replies.

“It won’t happen where you are most of the time.  Flying high.”

“You mean the pot?”

“You could use a few less of those ‘Oh wow!’ reactions and more ‘One plus one equals two.’”

“Maybe.”

“Never mind the pot, I suspect that’s where your head is most of the time anyway.”

“Maybe.”

“Try coming down for a while.  What’s the expression everyone uses? . . . Being grounded.”

“You mean working?”

“Exactly.  But real work, not the inspired kind.”

“Being inspired is real.  Just because you are excited and enjoying yourself–”

“Maybe,, but  I mean the other kind. Work-work.”

“I get it” Jeremy waxes poetic: “‘By the sweat of your brow you will eat your bread until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’”

Dave’s impressed. “I didn’t know you were religious.”

Jeremy nods. “If I find a good line.”

“You like that part about the dust?”

Jeremy repeats it.  “‘For dust you are and to dust you will return.’ Not my favorite.  Doesn’t matter?  I’m making enough bread.”

“I’d call it cake.”

Jeremy frowns. Finally acknowledging that Jeremy is down enough, Dave dials back, smiles an ‘I like you smile.’  It has little effect.  Jeremy’s sadness remains.

“Okay, come to mama.  What’s wrong?”

“I’m in love.”

“Again?”

“When did I ever say I was in love?”

“A thousand times.”

“Not true.”

“You implied it.”

“No I didn’t.  This is the real deal.”

“Last time it was real.”

“You mean Martha?  I never said I was in love.”

“You said you were very turned on.”

“Yeah, I was, but this is different. This is like nothing I’ve ever felt before.”

Dave is used to Jeremy’s dramatics. He accepts that for good reason or not, whatever is getting to Jeremy, it is real.  Perhaps all of Jeremy troubles are real.   But he has gone there so frequently it has made Dave not take him as seriously as Jeremy would like.  Fortunately, Jeremy’s excitement often entertains Dave, and sometimes he takes Jeremy’s whims as seriously as Jeremy would like them to be taken.

“Go ahead. I can tell this is a big one.”

“One of my students.”

“I expect nothing less. You don’t like keeping things simple.”

“No. This is something else. I think this is where I’ve been heading all my life.”

Dave can’t contain his broad sarcastic smile.

The waitress comes to their table.  Dave has seen her on campus. She has beautiful, long black hair, which she wears straight down.  Both of them, but particularly Dave, look at her flirtatiously.  She’s enjoying their attention  as much as they are enjoying giving it.

“Two coffees,” Dave tells her.

“That’s it?

“That’s it.”

“Could you put whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on his coffee? He’s celebrating.”

The waitress keeps a straight face, but her eyes focus for a moment on Jeremy.  She smiles.

“Anything else?”

“Just black coffee for me,” Dave tells her.

The waitress leaves.  She has a nice walk. Their eyes follow her.  She knows it. She thrives on the looks she gets from the guys she serves. Several have asked her out.  Best job she has ever had.

In a tone familiar to Dave, Jeremy voice is reflective. “When you were younger, did you think that one day you were going to find this incredible woman and that would be it?”

“You mean like our waitress?”

Jeremy looks him in the eye. “Did you?”

“You mean THE ONE.”

Jeremy’s voice continues to be serious. “I’ve built my life around her.”

“I’ll bet,” Dave replies playfully.

“No, I mean it. It’s true.  Everywhere I’ve been, I was searching for her.  Without her, I wasn’t really living. More like preparing. But if I found her, then my life could begin. . . . You’ve never felt that?”

Dave shrugs.

“If I went to the museum, I would look at the paintings, sort of. I was rarely completely absorbed.  I liked a few, was bored by others, but none of them mattered very much.  They didn’t give me what I was looking for. Perhaps in the next room I might find a painting that would grab me.”

“Or the next.”

“Exactly. Maybe one in fifty painting turned me on. But if I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a nice-looking woman meandering ten, twelve feet away, my boredom disappeared. I came alive. She had me. . . That’s never happened to you?”

“Sort of.”

“I’ve never had the courage to start a conversation, to go somewhere with it. It happened so often that it should’ve seemed stupid. Like I was wasting my time. But I guess I kept hoping in the next moment, something might happen. When I lived in the Village, I’d walk the streets—Bleecker, MacDougal, Greenwich Avenue. Sometimes hour after hour.  Same thing.  Looking, looking.  It’s why I moved to the Village, to up the chances.

“Ever see a movie of a male lion surveying his domain?” Dave continues. “Same thing, wandering, looking everywhere, hoping to pick up a scent.  They say he’s guarding his territory. I think he’s looking for dames. Plenty of guys do that.  They’re looking to get laid.”

“But that wasn’t it.  It was more. This started when I was twelve or thirteen. Okay, maybe my hormones were pushing me then. But it wasn’t all that. Even before. I was looking for . . .” He hesitates, considering whether to continue.

“Go ahead.”

“You want me to say it?”

“The holy grail?  What?”

Almost whispering, Jeremy answers him. “True love!”

He blushes as he says it. Its very uncool to actually put it in words.

“Sounds stupid, but everything important sounds stupid.”

“It’s not stupid, but you make it so dramatic.  You’re making a big production out of it.”

“It is a big production.  It’s always been there. It’s powerful. I can tone it down, sometimes ignore it, but it’s always—”

“Always?”

“Always. In the second grade, I had this dream again and again.  I’d wake up and remember it. I was Superman, flying, looking for my true love, meaning the prettiest girl in the class, Mindy Nussbaum. I remember her. I come down from the sky and sweep her up in my arms. Then–

Dave’s eyes are wandering around the room, hoping to catch a glimpse of their waitress. She arrives at the next table with their order.  His wandering eyes interrupt Jeremy, which bothers him, but not for long. He doesn’t mind.  He has done the same thing, eyed a pretty girl when Dave wanted his attention.

“Can I go on?”

“It’s all yours,” Dave answers.

“Do you know why I came to Buffalo?”

“Yeah you followed me.”

They both grin. They’re friends now, good friends, but it’s a silly notion. There is no way Mark would be that influenced by Dave. And then they were at best, acquaintances.

“The real reason . . . You’re not going to believe it.”

“I believe anything when it comes to you. Why did you come to Buffalo?”

“Because when I came here for an interview, I saw this student in the cafeteria.  It was maybe a glimpse, but then my eyes went back to her several times. Her beauty grew each time I saw her. It threw me for a loop. That’s why I came here. To meet her.”

“You were already married.”

“I know, but I flipped when I saw her.”

“Who was she?”

“I never saw her again.”

He’s smiling but Dave isn’t sure Jeremy realizes how crazy his story sounds.

“You’re serious?”

“I know it’s idiotic.”

Dave says nothing.

“But it’s true. That is the real reason I came here”

Jeremy’s, not embarrassed in the least telling Dave about it. His  tone is triumphant.  He takes his wackiness as a virtue that overshadows any alarm others would normally feel when they reveal how crazy they sound.

“Have you done that more than once?”

“Look. I know it sounds strange.  Very crazy. I’m sure there is a name for it, but that’s the truth. That is why I’m sitting here with you, in the middle of snow country

“What does your shrink say?” You told her all this right?

“She throws it and everything else I tell her into this one big bucket.  Psychiatry has maybe six or seven of them.  She’s claims she’s figured me out.”

“Meaning?”

“She doesn’t know for sure, but she thinks I have bipolar disorder.”

“So that explains you?”

“That’s it, along with six million other people who have the same thing as me. She’s nailed it. Six million of us, all the same.”

“So what do you think your real diagnosis is?”

“I’m in love.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it. I’m just telling you like it is. I mean, I can go overboard. . . .”

“Really?” Dave’s mocking tone goes unnoticed.

“Everything I’ve ever done. Everything!  Every award in college, every home run I’ve hit, every basket I’ve scored . . . People put together a CV, trying to impress a future employer. My accomplishments, whatever they’ve been— it’s all been for that day when I would find the woman of my dreams.  I’d lay it at her feet.  Croon to her ‘I’m the one.  Look at what I’ve done!’”

Dave has a shit-eating grin as he begins to speak.  Jeremy smiles along with him, like he’s in on the joke, but he isn’t.

“What’s so funny?”

“Your life is a Hollywood movie.”

“Yeah well.  There’s a reason they make all those movies.  I’m not alone living it out.”

“They make Superman movies.  Everyone knows Superman isn’t real.  Those great romances–there’s no difference. It comes from someone’s imagination.”

Dave is pleased with himself for the comparison.

“You don’t have to laugh at me.”

“Sorry. I know you’re serious.  But you admit to things most people haven’t even thought of, let alone confess. Well, maybe teenage girls.  But guys?  Sure, I’ve watched those movies and gotten into them. As much now as ever. Even at my age. I’ve been there in real life, too.  So, have most men, but it’s usually a disaster.  After their ass has been kicked, after they have been humiliated enough, they’ve learned their lesson. They steer clear.  Having a broken heart is not where most guys want to return to.”

.  Dave may be teasing him, but on some level Jeremy knows Dave understands and commiserates. He’s a pal.

Jeremy looks around.

“Where’s that waitress?”

“Over there.”

“Right.”

Jeremy starts humming.

“What’s that?”

“This song . . . Carol wrote it.”

He sings: at first like he is kidding around.

But then sings more seriously.

 

Hey you with the broken smile

Come on over and stay for a while

Hey you with the hunger in your eyes.

 

Can’t remember the rest. . . .”

Jeremy hums the tune for a moment.

“Oh, right.

 

I recognize that look on your face

A shattered heart still searching for grace.

Disappointed? I know it’s not the way you planned.

Darling save your words

Because I know that’s the way it happens.

You wouldn’t be the first

To be standing

With your heart left in your hands.”

 

“Wow. Carol wrote that? She’s talented.”

“I know. Very. Melodies just come to her.  She doesn’t know from where but it’s always been there.  Her lyrics. The same thing. That song is about us. She says it isn’t, but it is.”

“Your disappointments hit you that hard?”

“You mean about my writing?”

“That, and other things.  You were talking about falling in love.”

“Not just that. Yeah I can really get hurt. She senses it immediately even when I try to hide it.”

“She really loves you.”

“I know. That’ how I came to love her.”

“And you don’t think that’s what’s going to happen with your new love?”

“I don’t know, maybe, but that’s a million miles away.”

“Jeremy most guys, after getting burnt once, maybe twice. That’s it.  There’s a reason they stick to sports.  They don’t want to be a love flower. There’s no choice.  We have to toughen up.  But you.  I don’t know whether you’re incredibly stupid or fearless, or what.  It’s a stage you’re supposed to get over. You watch it at a movie. Get into it there. But that’s it. You’re twenty-eight. Twent–eight!”

“Oh, Mr. Maturity.”

“The girl of my dreams, of your dreams, of every guy’s dreams is exactly that.”  His voice rises. “A fucking dream! You’re old enough to know that.  Why do you have a problem with it? Why are you stuck in dream land?”

Somewhat meekly Jeremy looks at him.

“Open your eyes,” Dave continues.  “It isn’t just love. You make such a big deal about finding the truth.  It’s right in front of you.  It’s called the way things are.”

“Come on.”

“Your dream girl. You’ve devoted your life to finding her?…She doesn’t exist!”

“You’re too chicken to think about this, aren’t you, Dave?”

“Chicken?   I’ve moved on.  It’s not in the stars.  I’m right here on Earth, digging ditches.”

Jeremy counters, “I’ve dug a thousand ditches. How do you think I got so many fellowships to come here?  I‘ve worked my ass off.  It doesn’t change anything.”

Jeremy takes a breath.

“Anyway, I’ve finally found her!”

“Strange coincidence that you’ve fallen in love exactly when your head has to be on straight, exactly when you have to get your dissertation done. You have maybe three months.”

“This has nothing to do with that.”

Dave shakes his head more seriously, “You’re in never-never land.  You’re fucking Peter Pan.” He chants, “I won’t grow up.  I won’t grow up.”

“You are the biggest cynic.”

“Cynic?  I’m just telling you what you already know. Flying around in never-never land.  Look.  You know everything I’m telling you.  It stares at you every day.  It stares a everyone. You’ve got to dig ditches, not fly around.  Learn how to be satisfied. It is possible. Lana and I have made it work.  Warts and all. She’s a real person. Nobody else gives a shit.  She does.  I’ll take that.”

“Look, it’s the same with Carol.   I know how lucky I am.  I realize what I’m talking about is asinine.”

Puer aeternus.  Living your life waiting for your ship to come in.”

“I don’t need that Jungian shit. Look, I’ve said it.  You are right. Absolutely right.”

“You’re not fourteen anymore.”

“You’re right. You’re right. You are right. Believe me, I know. It’s not like I didn’t do the same thing as you. I got tired of waiting.  I married Carol to go forward, to get on with it instead of waiting.”

Dave looks at him like now he has gotten him. “Tired of waiting?   You make like you are such a rebel. Who said you have to get married?

Jeremy stares at him as innocently as he can muster.

“You make such a big deal about being independent.”

“I just–”

“It’s okay. I’m sure you know it.  I only take half your bullshit seriously.”

“It’s not bullshit!  You don’t think I mean what I say!”

Dave speaks sweetly. “Maybe your brain does, but not you.  Your beatnik’ thing isn’t you.  It’s this show you put on.”

Jeremy says nothing. But Dave is taking it too far. Commandingly he looks at Dave to stop.

“Okay.” In a kibitzing monotone voice Dave continues. “So you didn’t want to wait–”

“I prefer to think I was seizing the day.”

Not impressed by Jeremey’s diversion, Dave’s self satisfied smile continues, but he has no desire to shut off Jeremy’s escape.  He likes Jeremy enough to ride over it.  “Right… You like Bellow?”

“I read Seize the Day a hundred years ago. I still remember it brought me to an epiphany.”

“Really?” Dave asks.

“That lasted maybe a day.”

“You believe all that stuff?  Seize the day? Grab every moment?” Dave asks challengingly.

“What’s not to believe?”

“it’s not something you can actually do.  You can try for maybe ten minutes to be different. To be a new peson. But it’s a slogan. Epiphany huh? Rah-rah Sis boom ba…?

Jeremy agrees. They both smile contentedly.

“You read too much.” Dave teases.  “You need to get your thrills outside of books.”

“Me? You’re the one.”

“Look who’s talking.”

“Okay we need to do it.”

“I’m gonna sign us up for a polar expedition.” Dave cheerfully offers. “I’ve read a lot about them.”

“Sound great.  We’ll be the first Jews from Brooklyn, who grew up in an apartment house, to go to the North Pole.”

“How about Antarctica?” Dave offers.

Dave takes a breath, refocuses, has a sudden insight.

“So your new love is your Antarctica?”

Jeremy doesn’t answer, which is fine with Dave.  He knows he has nailed it,  made his point.

“What are you going to do?” Bringing it back,Dave asks with real sympathy.

“You know what I am going to do.” Jeremy proudly tells him.

“Not really… I don’t. Let’s start from the beginning…  You’ve waited all your life, everything you’ve strived to become . . . it’s been for—”

“CC.”

“CC?”  It registers. Dave breaks out in a smile.  “I get it. I have her in one of my classes.” His smile continues. “She’s a knockout.”

Jeremy glows. Dave’s reaction is precisely the kind of confirmation he’s looked forward to. Having a gorgeous woman in love with him.  If he wins her he will be in heaven.  He will have won  the ultimate prize, like an Oscar, MVP 1968.  Bathing in glory. At last proving to everyone that he’s the man he has always imagined himself to one day be.

“Unfortunately…” Dave hastens to add.

“Unfortunately what?”

“Remember Davidoff’s class at Penn, how he went on about Helen of Troy?”

“The face that launched a thousand ships.”

“He left his wife and kids.  CC’s even more beautiful than his girlfriend.  I get where you are.”

“Right.” Jeremy answers happily

“Which is what makes her dangerous.  Bringing back Helen resulted in thousands of people dying.”

“And the end of Davidoff’s marriage.”

“And career.”

For a moment Dave’s put a dent in his glory.  But he is soon free of that, and acts contrite more for Dave’s benefit than his own. That doesn’t last either.

“I can’t get her out of my head. I have no choice.”

“You saw The Blue Angel, right?”

“Thanks a lot!”

“Well…”

“ You really think I’m like that professor–what was his name, ah Professor Rath. Right, he’s in love with this torch singer.”

“ Marlene Dietrich.”

“CC’s prettier.”

Dave is unimpressed.

“You think I’m that pathetic. He’s this fat pedantic old fool.”

“You think you are more exciting?

“Absolutely.”

“He loses everything.”

“CC’s not a dumb chorus girl.  And I’m not an old fart. Don’t worry.  We’re not going there?”

“I don’t know.” Dave says. “You’re a lot like the professor, plenty bookish.   Books and beauty don’t mix.”

“Except  CC’s been  turned on by my lectures. She likes braininess.”

“You better not be a one hit wonder. You’re going to have to keep being brilliant.”

“Dave, come on.  There’s more to me than that.”

“I agree, but basically, you’re like all of us.  Ordinary… Your ideas are window dressing.”

“Thanks.”

Just don’t tell me you weren’t warned.”

“Great.  You’ve warned me.  You are off the hook if I kill myself.”

“It may come to that.”

“Jesus.  You’re becoming Mr. Doomsday.”

“Okay fine.  But this worries me.  You’re swimming in deep water and you aren’t the best swimmer.”

He shouts at Dave. “Okay. I get it.”

Both are quiet, thinking over how to smooth things over. Jeremy needs little incentive to keep going.

“It’s strange.  This is supposed to happen when your marriage is bad. I love Carol as much as ever.  I mean I really do. We have a good thing going.  Much more than I expected. Carol doesn’t bore me.  I admire her. I’ve never had a friend like her. We are inside each other’s souls.”

“I hope you are appreciating that. That song you sang.  You matter.  She loves you.”

Jeremy’s eyes water.

Dave notices. He looks at Jeremy with sympathy, but, his disapproval hasn’t changed.

“I can’t help it.  I can’t get CC out of my mind.  …”

Both are quiet again but not for long.. “I can’t help it.” sputters out of Jeremy  again as if he is talking to no one other than himself.

“I get it…Do you still get turned on by Carol?”

Jeremy’s guard goes up, Dave and he don’t usually take it this far, but he continues.

“Not as often as before… I take that back. it’s fine. I love what happens between us. She’ll do practically anything I want, Wherever my head goes she’s there.  Weird or not. Weird doesn’t concern her.”

“You can be weird?”

He shrugs…“ The same as everyone else, but that’s not the point… What we have is alive. . Seeing me excited turns her on.  It can make her crazy, passionate That gets me very excited. It’s who she is.  My desires become hers.  She loses herself.  She loves it.  Not just about sex. Wherever I am she goes there. When we make love that makes me go crazy. It’s good. I’m lucky.”

“So why do you want more? I don’t have to ask.  That’s you.  It’s never enough.”

“You make it sound like it’s greed.”

“I’m not calling it greed, but that’s you.  More, more.

“That’s the way I’m built.”

“Do you have to dream up things?”

The conversation is going too far.  Jeremy answers reluctantly:       “Sometimes, but what’s wrong with that?  Variety is the spice of life.”

“Do you have to dream up things with CC?”

“We haven’t gotten that far.  But I don’t think it will happen.”

“But do you have to dream up stuff?”

“You mean kinky?  No.  With Carol a bit. But not really. With CC, I’m there. I’d go ape shit for a kiss. If I could touch the back of her neck.”

“Why the back of her neck?”

“Don’t know.  That’s what I just thought of.”

“Okay.  You’re all heated up about CC. But you have so much with Carol…  You have it all.”

“Almost all.”

“Fine it’s not perfect. But what is?

“Okay fine I have it all.  As much as I will ever get. As much as anyone gets.  There’s just one thing Dave.”

“What’s that?”

“CC erases everything else. When I’ve been with her I can’t take my eyes off of her. I can’t think about anything else. I’d do anything for her.”

“I understand but—”

“If you were in a room with Elizabeth Taylor, you’d want to stare at her. Right?  Stare and stare.  Drink in her beauty.  But you can’t do that.  You’d look like a jerk, like a nut.  You’d feel like one.  So, people buy magazines, or they watch her in a movie so they can look at her.  Everyone needs that.”

“What’s your point?”

“Imagine if Elizabeth Taylor looked at you with desire.  Like she was dying to be yours. CC’s looked at me like that! What I feel with her is unbelievable.”

Again they are silent.

“Do you remember the first time you saw the Seagram Building you dropped, right?”

“Yeah.”

“What about the second and third time?”

“Fine. But Trust me   The thousandth time I’ll look at CC. It’ll still be there. Her face– she has dimples–the way her chin meets her neck. Her fingers are long and slim. When she moves them they are as graceful as a ballerina.”

Dave shoots Jeremy a look that he’s over the top. Jeremy doesn’t notice.

“The way she walks.  How she eats slowly, deliberately,. Last year I was at Joey’s when she came in with some girlfriends.”  He takes a breath. “The way she handles her knife and fork she cuts a slice of pizza into small pieces,. The way she brings it  to her lips.”

“Jeremy, I get it.”

Dave waits hoping that will register.  Clearly not.  Jeremy is somewhere else.  He can’t listen. Dave continues anyway,

“Beautiful is nice.  Beautiful is beautiful. But a taste . . .A taste That’s all you get. The last thing you need, Jeremy, is to fall under a spell.”

“This isn’t a spell.”

“Believe me, it’s a spell.”

“That’s easy for you to say.  It could happen to you!”  Dave’s smiles Makes it clear that he is not with him.

“I can’t just drop it and go on with other things. I can’t.  No one can. Who can do that?”

“Millions of people.”

“That’s all you have to say?”

“What’s there to say? Frankly, to me the only question is whether you would leave Carol for her. All the other bullshit…  Would you?”

“No.”

“You know that for sure?”

“Yes.”

Dave look at him doubtfully.

“Yes Jeremy repeats, “I’m not stupid. I know Carol’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“So then stay away from CC. Do you remember how dangerous the Sirens. were?

“So.”

“You did a paper on the Sirens.  Right? I assumed you wrote about it  because you  had a bad case of it.”

“I did.”

“Didn’t you learn from it?”

“I learned it was dangerous, but I always knew that.”

“Who was the girl then?”

I don’t remember?

“Really? So how is CC any different?”

“No comparison.  I had that for maybe a week, maybe two. What I told you about watching her eat at Joey’s. That was last spring.  This has been going on in my head for months, actually more than a year. Longer  than it has gone on was with anyone else.  CC is a whole new category.”

“I thought this just started.

“It’s a long story. The first time I spoke to her was this semester. But before that she was this mysterious beautiful face that I had to look at.”

“You stalked her?

“I wasn’t stalking.  I was in love. And now, I can tell.  She’s interested. That’s not stalking.”

“You think that is true love?”

Another shrug

You’ve discussed this with your psychiatrist?”

“Part of it.”  Jeremy puts two thumbs down.

“Your shrink’s no good?  Go to someone else.”

“I have.  They all are the same”

“Let’s not go there.”

They take a breather, go over their conversaion.  Jeremy wonders if Dave thinks he is crazy.  That bugs him. Finally, Jeremy speaks, “Everything you are saying makes sense except for one thing. “

“What’s that?” Dave asks.

“I’m feeling fantastic.  I’m finally alive.  I look at the trees, the sky. I see beauty.  Everywhere. The clouds! I never noticed the shapes they take. I linger Not just on the clouds. Everything.  Before I just raced by. Like I had been  blind.  When I’m reading, I’m understanding what’s on the page more than I ever have. I wonder where my head was at before. The possibility of Me and CC  does that.”

“What do you mean the possibility.”

“I told you.  I’ll never leave Carol.”

“So, CC is going to be your mistress?  Very French.” He says jovially. “You’ve always admired them.”

“You’re not funny.”

“No seriously. You can pull that off with style.”

“So that’s how you see it?

Jeremy I have no answers,  but you want to know what I really think?…Marijuana makes you manic, Jeremy.”

“That’s not this. Dave You’ve given up,.  I remember this guy—”

Dave pronounces his final judgment. “It’s called growing up.”

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