Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba
Taken from Huatusco, Veracruz, the closest town to Margarita's family's ranch.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jumping off Train Bridges... Cathy

Would you believe that I had forgotten the true reason I had become involved with Mónica la Puerto Riqueña?  Part of the reason I haven't entered into the incredibly formative and difficult period of 5 years between breaking up with Randi and leaving for Mexico is because, truthfully I didn't know how to approach that experience.  In as important as being with Mónica was for my painting and for meeting Margarita 4.5 years later, I couldn't find any interesting way of bringing Mónica into the story.  Well, I just found it.   Don’t believe it for a second.  She will have to wait. You’ll see.

In early Spring 1983 I had visited my friend John Stowe, who I had met through my friend Ronald Granberg, both of them in the Gifted and Talented program that never neared taking a whiff of my poorly developing mind... At Somerville High School John and Ronald and Hank Toyes, Jamie Barna and a bunch of people who had been my friends in elementary school and or middle school, who had been chosen for the Gifted and Talented Program at Central School would compete for the top academic positions those 4 years they were there together.  John Stowe graduating in the top 3 of his class.  Before choosing to repeat my 10th grade year, I was somewhere around #170...  I was well aware of my academic positioning.  Why?  Maybe because I also knew just how intelligent I was. I just didn't know how to create a life that could be healthy for me.  Like I had mentioned yesterday about a cheating spouse is an opportunity and not a tragedy, I couldn't replace my mother because she created a horribly unhealthy environment for me...  You can't choose your parents so they say... I couldn't "save" us from my father's impending death in 1973-74...  I was given a surfboard on the Hawaii Pipeline and was dumped into the shallow waters as the surf was being pulled out to sea. However, I didn't know how to swim.  

That day I went to John's house, we played softball in the back yard of Cathy's house if I am correct...  I saw this short petitte girl with big cat eyes and curly light brown, dirty blonde hair.  I never took my eyes off her, embedding her image in my mind, later to see her in the hallways of Somerville High School my 10th grade year when she entered as a Freshman.  How I wanted to attract her attention approaching her between classes.  But truthfully, I didn't know how to begin a conversation with her nor with anyone else at the time...  She was my Kira (of the Dark Crystal). I had the fortune of sharing Mr. Gonzalez's Basic Geometry class with her in our 10th grade falling in-love with the chime of her laugh everytime she responded to one of my joking attempts towards cracking Mr. Gonzalez's stoic face...  She sat infront of me and would throw her head back with a glance at me laughing all the while.  After so many years looking for her, we were finally connecting.  However, I was with Mrs. Mendrick's daughter Francesca.  What could I do?

That 8th grade day John's mother lauded my bravery; a 13-year-old having "survived" the removal of his large intestine and then having to be rushed to New York City one more time for emergency surgery a month later. While eating pizza in their dining room, Mrs. Stowe exclaimed that I was a hero and that all the newspapers should know about my endeavor.  That she would call them the following day. It was her son John and his friends who were the heros.  Not me.  They were the academic and athletic superstars in our grade. Not me. I had Mr. Westerholm and Mr. Mangione breathing down my neck like dragons, threatening that I would repeat 8th grade because I was 3 months behind due to the surgeries.  My peers had 3 months for handing in their first research papers.  I was given 2 weeks. Had either of them had their abdomin cut open from their pubic hair, through their belly button to just below their rib cage and have their large intestine pulled out?  Mother, did you know about that conversation? But for that small moment in my sad childhood, someone exclaimed that I shined.  I would never forget her and truthfully wish that I had maintained my friendship with her o so balanced and calm son John.  However, I was too aware of all of our differences, my not truly belonging there, since I was a failure, an academic fool, a mess of a person, dirty, a loser cast out, an outcast in the pre-political precoscious society of my peers, an outcast within my own house and amongst my cousins...  No remedy.

My mother says that I brought the difficulties onto myself.  But she was the ring-leader in her circus of so many supportive spectators defending her to the death.  Only one person could have broken that spell back then and later on and that person prefers protecting herself from what her fanatics would say about her...  She wouldn't become the next Peewee Herman caught jerking off in the movie theater.  Had they not aired that in the press, what threat would he have presented to America's children who would also learn the art of masterbation without the help of that poor foolish man.  Truthfully, I don't like circuses, nor do I like clowns...  What an urge to punch their big red noses and step on their swollen black shoes and make them cry for real.  No!  Just kidding.  Mexico is a world leader in Clowning and is very South of the South Style Lynching...  I could have on my hands a mob of angry painted faces with nappy rainbow colored hair.  And, truthfully, I don't want to know how it would feel being kicked in the ribs by that big black shoe!

Cathy's letter sank me into a strange despair that July 1997.  I felt that her marrying Billy was the closing of a trap door and the throwing of the key into a lake.  I desperately desired the forgetting of those fantasies of finally being with her after so many years of one of us being in a bad relationship with someone else...  That August 1992 day I could have kissed her under the full moon before I left for Hampshire College I was confused.  I was leaving for college and I didn't know how to manage that relationship. Plus, she was surrounded by males I was sure would discover my being an imposter in the world of men.  I wasn't a real man.  My mother assured me of that.  She cut off my balls so I wouldn't pee on the furniture...  She castrated me but didn't teach me how to dance.  At the least I could have been a ballerina in a tu-tu.  She stopped up my mouth with a bar of soap so I couldn't sing, the lyrics to my song floating to the sky in beautiful bubbles carried on the wind like so many hot air balloons during Branchburg summers... watching them disappear into the distance over the trees, over the high tension lines.  

My mother sarcastically saying "How I hate myself now!"  Yes, get angry at telling you how it was with you... My father's name is Allen.  But, he's dead so I write Alan as is normal in Mexico as I am normal in Mexico, if you know what I mean...  Do you think he would care?  Why did my mother ask me if he would be angry?  Was she not concerned about how she turned out his son?  Was she not concerned about his wrath because of that part of the story?  Maybe she should divorce Bruce and remarry her deceased bag of decaying bones.  Maybe she should fuck her son just one more time, a mind fuck, like Queensryche Mindcrimes.  Stick your dick in the ass of my mind, no crime, no crime.  Your screwed up son is his very own sign of the times...  This open-eyed fly on the wall of your fears reminding you that the judge and the jury is blind...  In the end screwed is you you godless jewless super fuck jew... Beth trying to kiss me wetly in front of your bedroom door because she so badly wanted to be YOU.  And you think I am the one with the problem.  Beth, that all so beloved and successful younger sister of mine.  Fuck her too.  This time I'm rubber, you're glue... 

Did I so easily get off track James?  Did I get angry?  Did I lose control?  Did I open my mouth and soltar the tongue? Not a loose tongue flapping in the wind like that of my mother. It's an arrow.  Not the split flecha tongue of a snake with it's long neck squashed below not so earth friendly strangers hundreds of feet above the Delaware Water Gap of my dreams.  Just the beam of the film projector projecting my life upon your mind...  Do you have the time?  Is anger a crime?  Would you rather I live a lie?  I wasn't Morrison's spy in the house of love.  As I told you before, that house burned down a long time ago.  We're reconstructing with bricks and heavy stones...  Not a castle, for I don't need those presumptions and exagerations, assumptions and inflations for me to believe in my own grandeur.

Back to you James.  Do you remember Sue that I don't believe I pawned off on you?

I was friends with her older brother Chris.  We met at the R.V.C.C. environmental club Spring 1990, the year Sue graduated from Hunterdon Central.  That Spring I saw Cathy at the Somerville Bike Races and grabbed her arm.  In the making of the long story short, I didn't tell you how I had ruined our almost cheating relationship in 1987.  I wrote her a letter meant for killing the conflict and the confusion I experienced  within.  Instead, I hammered a stake into my chest.  Less than 9 months later I painted my vacant apartment red.  When I met her that two years later, she informed me that she was still in the horrible relationship with Bill.  She said that she would be leaving him because he was violent.  I waited for her phone call, for her arrival on Old York Road.  I waited in vane.  That summer Chris's younger sister Sue developed a crush on me and visited me randomly at my house.  As I had mentioned earlier, due to my lack of confidence, I have always been attracted to the attracted.  Sue invited me to dinner on Route 31 and wasn't descreet with her intentions. I, on the other hand, was waiting for the appearance of Cathy.  But, I was giving up. One week into my relationship with Sue, she shared with me all her fears and phobias, high school traumas, being abandoned by her father, her being raped twice, once by some Flemington drug dealers, once by her high school boyfriend...  She had flashbacks from a bad acid trip and was afraid of the woods, although that's where she and Chris grew up and lived...  While telling me this stuff, she said "But I know you won't do that to me Ross.  You won't hurt me or leave me..."  At that moment I wanted to say, yes I will.  I should have left her that moment one week into the relationship.  A month later Cathy appeared...

I cheated on Sue.  But not with Cathy, although we spent time together. In fact, it was with a 36-year-old artist from Lawrenceville, Dina, who believed in her art of seduction, although it was clear that she didn't have custody of her son due to her attraction towards young men.  That evening spent in her condo, she tried teaching me to paint.  But I wasn't interested. Truthfully, in what was I interested?  Just in the woods and the mountains, New York City and Philadelphia.  Sue wouldn't hike with me.  She wouldn't visit the cities.  For three years I cheated myself out...  I cheated Cathy out...  My over concern about not hurting another person like I had been hurt...  In the middle of this I found myself with Cathy on the train bridge off station road overlooking the river and wondering when the black monster would appear in the distance.  Suddenly Cathy grabbed my arms and pulled me towards herself.  She asked me to look her in the eyes and said, "you've gotta answer a question and I want a YES or a NO..." Truthfully, she should have pushed me off that bridge instead of asking me that question that day.  In less than 5 minutes I would make a horrible mistake answering her question as honestly as I couldn't...  Do you believe we will be together?  I won't accept anything other than a YES or a NO.  Like a fool trying to protect her from my sand trap within which I found myself with Sue, knowing that I hadn't yet found the way to hurt Sue in the least hurtful way possible , I said, "No."  Cathy walked quickly away from me, walked up the road and entered her parents' house. The conversation had ended.  

Protecting Sue's needs, I neglected my own...  Protecting Cathy's rights to not be led on anymore, I cut the rope swing and fell into the river that took me too far away...

Yes.  We are young.  We are immature. We are foolish.  That said, the story remains the same.  Those train bridges were for us, not to hang ourselves from, not for jumping, not for stories and images lingering in the mind.  But for climbing upon that scary and ominous train and taking it for that journey of that life.  But, I had always been so afraid of going so far from home, of opening the door to my cage and of setting myself free.  

I'm sorry Cathy. I'm sorry Ross.  We were that beautiful unwritten story, that movie reel poorly placed that suddenly heats up from the friction and burns during the projection.  

I didn't know there was another movie in the process.  Cathy's letter sank me into a strange despair that July 1997.  I felt that her marrying Billy was the closing of a trap door and the throwing of the key into a lake.  I was cannonballed into the following chapter, much more real, much more difficult...

1 comment:

Ross said...

Hey Cathy, I'm sorry that you disappeared again. This time from Facebook. I looked you up on the internet when I noticed you had gone. The only thing I found was something about voting if you think Cathy Bayer is a jerk. I voted no. I imagine someone was stalking you and didn't like your response. I sent you an email at Nharba and received a message that it couldn't reach its destination. I've been thinking that you look at this once in a while and am hoping you will read the comment. My email is rossjasong@gmail.com if you can't place a comment here...