Tuesday, October 15, 2002
I’ve been working on a larger project at night. I usually spend about two hours a night writing a novel. (Earlier, I was afraid to tell anyone this for fear of jinxing it, but now I’ve told quite a few people and the words keep coming, so . . .) Unless I’ve got a really good flow going, I take a break at the one hour mark and go outside to smoke a cigarette.
Tonight the words weren’t coming so easily so I took a smoke break at the hour mark. Sitting out at the picnic table in front of the dorm with Steve, another Premont Hall resident, I saw Sarah and Tommy leave, and it reminded me of the piece that follows. I’d started a “daily writing” file on my computer before I started the novel. Wanted to get myself in shape. This is the only thing I ever wrote in it before I started the novel.
September 23, 2002
Sitting outside with Sarah and Tommy tonight on the picnic table behind Premont Hall, we smoke cigarettes and toss the butts toward the cars parked in front of us or at the wall behind us. They talk of Boston and next summer and old friends. Names that are foreign to me. Places I don’t know. Stories I’m unfamiliar with.
I sit mostly silent smoking my American Spirit fifteen minute cigarettes, as they speak of next summer’s jobs and trips to New York City on Christmas break. Sarah curls her feet bringing her knees to her chest while they talk on the level of old friends and former brief romantic partners. Minutes before, online, Sarah said she thought she should’ve noticed when I was sad last week. I told her, at the time, that she has a life of her own to live.
I listen to Tom and Sarah beat around the bush about their failed romance and summer spent angry at one another. Tom says he now likes her new boyfriend. Or, at least, he wants to meet him and get to know him. The thought strikes me that this poor bastard lost his chance with this wonderful girl. This girl that’s taken now by a guy thousands of miles away. Tom has settled for (or been relegated to) the position of friend through his own action or inaction. The thought continues: And I never even had the chance, the opportunity to try.
I become childish about it. I begin to wish the impossible: that history were different, that the present were more malleable, that the future could be my way.