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(Some of you are new to this site. Here's part of the opening chapter of Beyond You & Me so you can understand what all the fuss is about)
Day 1: A Spring day, any day, 1975
Temptation has been my undoing. Its fulfillment has been my downfall. And so I am left in its aftermath, too conscious of time’s passage. Painfully, so very excruciatingly aware of each day, each moment, I wish they would all pass more quickly and with them the pain. Time ticks away within my body like a pounding clock, I feel each second racing down the nerves of my legs, knotting my stomach, piercing my head which reverberates in stereo from lack of sleep. Who can remember the last time I slept through the night? Ah, Child, you feel compelled to run somewhere, but you don't know where, to do something, but you don’t know what to do. Or rather, you know where to go, but do not know how. It’s true, I want to run— fast and far— to scream and shout, loudly and unrestrained— to cry with violent shrieks and sobbings until my body is totally shaken into weakness, in a state where it can no longer want anything! To lie in quiet and peace, feeling no urgency, only stillness and weariness falling over me!
And where was it that I did go? Why to Graduation. Drab, soul-less Yale, the scene of my crime burst into activity today as he and the rest of the senior class desert the smother-love of Mother Yale for their new lives outside those clichéd ivy-covered walls. I couldn’t stay away, instead of riding out the storm from the safety of my desk at work, I called in sick— since sick is how I feel— then lost the will to stay home where I’m writing from tonight. The “bright college years” are ending for him, while I stay behind, a Cinderella with no glass slipper in sight, time stretching out before me like a wide lake, the memories of what came before hanging around my neck like a stone.
The crowd I’m sure measured 15,000, the yard of Old Campus swapping its Frisbees and sunbathers for a sea of folding chairs as Yale President Kingman Brewster and the other grandees pranced about in their ridiculous robes and funny caps, each residential college marching in while parents cheered. The bells of Harkness Tower pealed constantly, while silver flasks and joints in a profusion were passed around. One woman in the Saybrook contingent hiked up the hem of her graduation gown to flash a glimpse of stockings, garter belt and no panties. I’ll have to remember that when it’s my turn up there.
What possibly could have brought me there? Did I really think I’d see him? And then suddenly there he was, marching in with the rest of his classmates. Would it look especially tacky if I sat on his lap? Do I care? What about a good-bye kiss? This is, after all, probably the last time we’ll ever see one another. I could lift up my dress and make love to him right here on what’s left of the grass, I’m not wearing panties. That would be a Yale graduation they’d talk about for years.
“Cassie!” he waves with a smile. It looks a bit forced to me, tight around the mouth, as though he’s seen someone he’d rather avoid. Ah, Child, who would not be gracious today? He steps out of the group, motioning me toward a German-looking couple on the edge of the spectators. His parents, of course, the mother dressed in a sober, eminently sensible two-piece suit made of green wool, expensive and well-tailored, yet hopelessly old-fashioned. She’s handsome, I can see where he gets his good looks, she’s commanding the way she carries herself, she’ll be a formidable mother-in-law (not mine, thank God). The father’s nationality isn’t as obvious, he’s dressed in a snappy blazer and slacks, an outfit that doesn’t scream out “Deutschland über alles” like the wife’s.
“Cassie, I’d like you to meet my parents.” He says something in German to them I don’t quite catch in all the noise and tumult.
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