TITHONUS' DIARY!!


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nostalgia
2003-08-16 - 2:48 a.m.

Ok, what follows is basically some muddled up self-pity and nostalgia, so for those of you who find maudlin self-pity offensive (I'm looking at you, kiddo)(j/k) you might want to give it a miss. Really, the undisguised workings of my mind - or anyone's, I imagine - is a pretty ugly affair, so, yeah, I apologise for that. Um. But, you know what they say - this is what the diary's for, right?

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Iím so lonely. So unbearably lonely. I keep imagining that if I were having sex with someoneÖ or if somebody loved me, or if only Iíd had the courage to tell K how I felt when I felt itÖ I could probably have L if I really wanted her. Or DP. Probably, if I were ruthless and cunning enough. Or B. I could have had TC for real, if Iíd been willing to say I was serious about her. Thatís allÖ I could have D if I wanted herÖ sheíd be lovely. A real treat. Yum. And then I could throw her aside, like I have with all the othersÖ today I had this terrible pang, this awful stroke of pain at the memory of TD hugging me in the library. She just suddenly and spontaneously hugged me, and as she hugged me it came to me thatÖ that what I needed more than anything in the world was that hug. She was a bitch to me, she really was, but I donít care anymore, all I can think about was how nice that hug was. Iíve had sex hundreds of times and most of them Iíve forgotten, but Iíll never forget that hug. Was I an adult or a child? Am I an adult or a child now? When Iím teaching a class then a lot of these 18-year olds seem like kidsÖ real nice kids, some of them, but just little kids. Iím only a few years older than them, and in a way I feel as though I havenít done a great deal with the intervening years, but thereís no mistaking the barrier between me and the ones who are 18. I am old and they are young. I am middle-aged and they are adolescents. Iím only a few years older Ė Iím 26, which isnít so ancient, after all. I donít know who to have sex with. This is the problem. Women my own age are basically looking for the one, the last one, the one thatís going to be an end to running Ė but younger women are too idealistic, and anyway, thereís that barrier there, that makes me feel like a pervert if Iím interested in them. Just because itís legal doesnít make it alright. And besides, nothingís going to let me travel back in time to when MN was in my bed. I still canít believe how lucky I was. I donít get it Ė look at me at 14, with my big square glasses, clutching my Dungeon Masterís guides and my Monster Manuals, getting hyper at the thought of computer games, hating the popular kids at school and fighting with my parents over having to tidy my room. I am a nerd, and like every other nerd I think Iím nothing like any other nerd. Now, look at me at 19 Ė Iím drunk, or a little tipsy at least, in a haze of smoke and strangers, and talking to MN, whoís just finished her HSC. Sheís beautiful. Beautiful and smart Ė such cute glasses! And sheís wearing some sort of sheer black lacy top, so that her cleavage is showing, just a bit, just enough. I canít believe sheís talking to me Ė not just talking, sheís flirting. She wants to dance with me Ė we dance in an unmistakably raunchy way, people looking on, I think some of the ones who know me are even a little shocked. She asks me to buy her drinks and I do. I ask her how sheíd feel about coming home with me, she says that sheíd like that. She goes to the bathroom and a friend of mine comes and tells me she has a boyfriend, that Iím being played. I say I donít care. Being played? Please! Iím happy, itís a beautiful night, everything in the world is just the way it should be! I donít care if I wake up broke or hurt or dead tomorrow, tonight the world is on fire! This is what I waited through all those lonely years for! Iím really fucking living!

Well, we had sex, and it was good, although, I donít think it was as good for her as for me. I was 19 and didnít know much, had never really had a long-term relationship with a girl who would tell me what was good and what was bad. I think although she was a year younger than me she was more experienced than I wasÖ but the sex wasnít the thing, not really. It was what came before and what came after; before was the feeling that she wanted me, she wanted me and not some other guy, someone better, someone more confident or popular or whatever it is, but me. I was desirable. And after, the feeling of peace. Naked, with her naked body wrapped in my arms, feeling life was good and sweet and generous, feeling that the gods were kind. Feeling happy and open and able to talk without reservation. I used to get that feeling after I had sex, every single time without fail. Now I donít think I ever get that feeling, before or after anything. I think itís been years since Iíve felt anything that I could call peace. Maybe a little of it, when I was with TC again the last time. When we were having sex.

It seems so unfair to characterise men as being only after one thing, because I think really weíre after a whole lot of things, but we donít really understand what those things are and we imagine that we can only get at them via sex, and so thatís what we aim for. I think thatís what motivates my sex-hunger, that I feel somehow this core of loneliness and nostalgia and fear about my age can only be touched through the magic of sexÖ but of course, itís only magical when the way you go about it lets it be magical.

I gave her my phone number but she never called me, I suppose something to do with that boyfriend my friend mentioned, and I was hurt, but I donít mind that I was hurt. I donít mind being hurt so long as I have some happy memories; the same thing goes for TD as goes for MN. What I canít bear is guilt; what I canít bear is hurting other people. Because Iím used to carrying the weight of my own pain, but I canítÖ I canít bear being responsible for someone elseís. Maybe because it makes me inseperably implicated in the world, in the mess of it, and I want to be clean and separate, using my pain as a shieldÖ Perfectly Alone.

Iím so sad now, so fucking sad, thinking about MN and L and TD and TC, thinking of how young and beautiful and good I felt then, and then thinking about nowÖ I am in a wasteland. Thatís how I feel, like in the Dan Bern song, ďbroken up in the wastelandĒ. Everything looks the same. This is my problem; I canít fall in love because I donít trust myself to not hurt someone elseÖ but without love I feel nothing but this loneliness, this aching need, this void that I want so badly to fill up with stuff, with anything, just to stop feeling it for now, for the momentÖ Iíll let myself feel it later, but not now, not right now, not today! Thinking about all the girls Iíve been with, all the girls I could be with, all the girls Iíve ever wanted to be with, thinking about good times in my life and using the sharp edges of them to cut at myself, to try to give myself some sense of where the edges are, so that I wonít have just this amorphous sense of endless wasteland all around in all directions... theyíre selling postcards of the hanging, eh Bob?

My great Aunt called tonight, wanting to speak to my parents. Sheís old, very old and alone in the world, no children, her direct relatives are all dead, all sheís got are her sisterís children and her sisterís grandchildren. Sheís old and lonely and sick and it wonít be long before she leaves this world. I think to myself that I wonít end up like her, but look at me; how different from her am I right now, really? How much better off than her am I right now? The things that made me happy in my last year at school, and in the little while that followed, are as far away from me as her glory days are from her, and nothingís going to bring them back.

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"Broken up in the wasteland

Broken up in Disneyland" - Dan Bern

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"They're selling postcards of the hanging

They're painting the passports brown

The beauty parlor is filled with sailors

The circus is in town" - Bob Dylan


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