Dusty Old Love

“That’s my dissertation, more or less.”

“I know. You know, some time back, I ordered it and read it. I was…”

“I know. It’s not all that great. I don’t know if I was ever meant to be a writer.”

“I don’t know, either. I wish you’d stayed around to find out, though.”

“I think the whole purpose of my life was to wrangle with the question of my sexuality. Pretty fucking stupid purpose if you ask me. It looks like your blog prompt wants you to take a Dickensian direction, right? Not my direction, you know, sex and death.”

“Remember when that professor of yours asked you why all your stories were about sex and death and you answered, ‘What else is there?’ Really, he was right but so were you. That’s one of those paradoxes.”

“Interesting paradox, but how useful is it?”

“Not very. I wonder now if a paradox is anything other than interesting — and a really effective dead end sign.”

“What are you going to do with that prompt? It’s actually quite interesting…”

“Oh, I thought I’d seek refuge in the shop. The shopkeeper — your shopkeeper — would come out, blue trousers and all — and say, ‘I’ve been waiting for you. Peter left you this’.”

“What did I leave you?”

“That’s the part I haven’t figured out yet. You could leave me your dissertation — the story that begins in almost this way but not quite, or you could leave me a wooden chest holding your still beating still bleeding heart or you could leave your flannel shirt. I’m not sure.”

“Or my, you know, like in the dream you had?”

“That’s a definite possibility. Seems like that was quite troublesome for you, at least during your living years.”

“Intriguing idea, though. What WOULD I leave you?”



5 thoughts on “Dusty Old Love

  1. I am intrigued to know more about the characters speaking. Where does the discussion take place. What prompted it. What is the significance of the bookshop visit… 🙂

    • The conversation takes place in my head. The characters are me and the great love of my life who died in 1988 of HIV. We were in grad school together and more-or-less together for 5 years. He was gay but we were very deeply in love and very in sync with each other. He was working on a Doctorate in creative writing. His dissertation is a short novel set in a junk store in Chicago. The characters actually DO seek asylum there from a storm. One place I could/can find him is between the covers of his book and naturally the prompt for today took me right there. Interestingly, he introduced me to Laurence Durrell and Laurence Durrell, in his novel, Justine (about hopeless love) wrote this (I paraphrase since I don’t have it anywhere around anymore ) “Wrestling with an impossible love grows a writer up.” I read that about 3 years into our relationship and I realized what was going on between us. I knew then that I would ultimately walk away and that, as he feared, Peter would die young.

      • Martha… Beautiful and tragic. Thank you for sharing your story. I am touched. I wonder at times whether any fiction can embody such complexities and challenges as life throws our way.

      • That was another revelation I had during that time — imagination is far more limited than reality. I have written a novel (?) about this — I did that in my 30s. I worked on it again about 4 years ago. It’s good, but I don’t know that I will ever try to do anything with it. It almost seems like the story is so fundamentally inscrutable that it shouldn’t see the light of day.

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