our last days together

Dale's departure

By Diomedes | Robert O'Reilly | 28 Apr 2022


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Anguish

Now I enter the final stage of our union, or rather ‘dissolution’.

“August 13th Sat. 6:30 A.M. Up all night after another coke party at Brigitte and Ed’s. (just Dale and I were there. They were out of town and lent us the house again). Now it’s over, my infatuation with Dale, a love affair ended. I have some scars and some present pain, but it’s a memory, her and me. I have some new clothes which she picked out. I’ve spent most of my petty savings. I’ve had a good time, most of it spent partying. But now it’s over, by mutual consent. She wanted good thoughts from me as we parted. She thinks it would aid her Karma”. If only she could have seen the poems.

“But I shall give her what she deserves, some hate, some love, some reproach and some compassion. She taught me little directly. By example she taught me more. I am a changed person to some degree. I don’t know how much. I want to spend a while alone, and I shall.

Aug. 13th Sat. 7 P.M. After sleep, a balm I did not expect in this wretched state, I have a resolution to sit here and wait for her call, though I don’t know what I’ll say. My emotions have never been so tossed before. I almost feel seasick…I would make myself comely and a fair sight for her though she could not see me on the cart to the guillotine…I shall compose my future. It will compose my mind… Plan to get a typewriter… begin little stories, not private but for other readers. Private and public writings are sometimes worlds apart.

Remember how mad you were yesterday walking up Telegraph Ave. to get your hemmed pants. How full of declaiming against womankind, how ready to make a scene, a verbal war and stab other’s hearts right and left, full of fury and venom, thinking only daggers”.

Then I settle down again. The next days I write down some thoughts, poetry attempts, quotes. Here’s one from August 23rd. “When you’re in that kind of cesspool, you really start swimming”. Then August 27th a terse note: “Dale left today, about noon”. And right after that a piece of a poem:

“The fact that she’s gone sinks in and with that a calm envelops me and I’m finally able to analyze the situation from a safe shore, and recount the events of the last few weeks, which I couldn’t as they happened. They were too traumatic.

Sat. Aug. 27th, evening: A warm, serene summer night, and the daily traumas, pleasures, ecstasies, reverses and anguishes with Dale are finally over. Since ten days or so we were reconciled and madly in love. But the last three we argued and felt terribly, off and on. Thursday I was up all night on coke with her and Maggie talking drug induced madness, contradicting myself totally every other hour…But I tried to point out some faults in her, just little ones, (with Maggie as arbiter, sitting at her little kitchen table in her apartment, the coke spread out in front of us). What a grand mistake. I ended up recanting and bowing down to a perfect woman. Such is the tyranny of love. We argue, say mean things and apologize profusely. I have not apologized in my whole life half as much as this last month, exclusive”.

The next day calm philosophy sets in: Sund. 8–28. “As love is mostly a creature of the imagination, I find that I am in varying degrees of love at different moments of every day. And the range is huge and distressing to think upon. When I was with her, as she provoked my imagination and I used little control over myself, I was as one tossed on a stormy sea. Now that she’s gone I shall at least regain my ancient dominion over it and smooth the seas for my own good.

Just a few minutes ago, walking back home from the café Med., I felt my heart broken, until by chance I thought of Pat and that others have a far greater right to feel that depth of privation than me. So I felt better and soon far better upon realizing that more than half my thoughts did not concern her at all, indicating that I really must not be affected that much”.

The next remark deserves to be in textbooks in bold letters: “We love so much more strongly before we really get to know the object of our affection that it’s obvious that the imagination has the major role in the drama. In fact, the consummation of a love affair is often the beginning of the end of it. But this is partly because, basically, sex is swinish and a thing too close and real for the imagination to decorate”.

Next follows what I consider a beautiful and compassionate sketch of her, like an epilogue, remarkable in that it was written in haste and only one day after she had gone away. But then, among her many gifts, the foremost was the power to inspire poetry: “Most of the deeper thoughts in her head were born of the fear of growing old, and most of her acts were an attempt to get me to contradict and efface this fear. She wanted to hear that she was young and lovable, in words and actions, in a thousand different ways. I care nothing for ‘young’, thinking that I’m looking and actually growing better each year. I only needed feeling lovable, and not half so desperately. This made for a vast difference between us.

But she was never feeble headed, a thing the vast majority on womankind are. What she had besides a physical beauty, a compactness and proportion, though starting to fade, was a young heart, which shone in the smiles of her face, and in the dim lights of night made her look like a young girl. Her face could radiate pleasure then.

Preeminent too was her voice, so feminine I could not imagine one more so, often soft, but even when harsh and angered still beautiful, not loud, feminine with sighs of exasperation.

The voice too reflects the soul, and I've noticed in many women a sometimes stone-cold voice emanating from a truly crippled soul that will never be repaired, and a look to match, that freezes the heart of the beholder with its cruelty. But her angered looks were those of a child, very transient and on the verge of a tear.

So I conclude that her heart is still sound and whole, that her fault is a spoiled childishness and not one of those wounds or infirmities that make some humans so inhumane, the dead weight they drag around and carry to the grave”.

Now I face the heavy task of writing an account of our last two weeks, painful though it is:

“8–28. The continuing saga of Dale and me: There appear to be no notes since 8–13, yet such a variety of memorable nights and days that to fail to record them (in bare outline at least) would seem a crime.

After our disagreements of Sat. Aug. 13th I spoke again to her Sunday night on the phone, agreeing to loan her my car so she could go out with Sally. We met, she kissed me gently in the front yard as I handed her the keys. Monday night I got very drunk with Jim (four pitchers and then some), talked to him of my affair with Dale being over, bitter and mad. I called her to tell her to leave the car keys in the mailbox (at the Plough, where we were), so I could drive home. Tuesday I saw her again, about ten at night, argued a bit, then bought Popsicles for us, like a lackey, alcohol too, then reconciled and slept together. Wednesday she quits work and plans to leave for Chicago.

Thursday I score speed for her after card game, but she is ill and tells me not to come over till Friday. Friday morning I do an electrical estimate for Paul Bedford” (a British chap and guitarist who hung out at the Plough occasionally) “and go to her at noon. She’s lying in bed, complaining of little sleep. I lay out three lines of very powerful stuff and return home to fix the car, where Mike and Chuck help me adjust the timing. Then a rainstorm starts and I return to her place, 9 p.m. Sally is there talking of the sale of their clothes at the flea market. So I leave them and go into the Plough, playing video games with Bob, high on speed. They join us, we dance, (a character named Mike joins Sally), it’s one a.m.

The four of us go back to Dale’s for more lines. He has some coke, long raps with him about lithography. We try a futile attempt to get more at 4 a.m. (me and him), but he gives me a number for later on. We return to Dale’s. Mike and Sally leave at 6 a.m. I borrow Steve’s truck and drive Dale to the flea market but now we’re coming down and feeling wretched, the number is bad, the weather lousy so we return to her house at eight a.m. lying in bed and sex till eleven. Then I go home to work on the car. I crash at 7 p.m.. She sleeps a bit in the afternoon. Her friend John from S.F.” (He was a really nice Australian, an old boyfriend of hers, who went to acting school with Mel Gibson, knew him well and even looked a bit like him, in build and good looks) “comes over to her place at 9 p.m. with coke and she does an all-nighter again. I meet her at the flea market about noon. (She is trying to sell her clothes for money for her trip) I help her sell to 3 p.m., take her home and put her to bed. Late Sunday night she’s up again, 11 p.m. I take her to ‘Kips’ for pizza then home. I go home to bed as I have to work the next day at 8 a.m.

Monday night I skip the card game to eat out with her at a Thai restaurant. We argue over the wine. She almost leaves in anger because I insinuate that she’s fastidious to a fault about cheaper wines. But she claims they give her headaches. Dinner proceeds (after I order a more expensive bottle, with my limited funds) we drink afterwards at ‘Larry Blake’s’ just up the street, get drunk, then, just as we leave she starts crying profusely in the street and I somehow offend her, exasperated at her behavior. She runs off into the night. I do not follow. I return to the car and driving home I see her sitting at a bus stop. I turn around and pick her up. She is apologetic. More alcohol at her house, much great sex, best ever-and last. Tuesday: zilch. Wednesday morn I loan her my car. She drives me to work then goes to get speed from the warehouse, picks me up with Sally along at 5, takes me home, lays out lines, kisses me a lot, then leaves. I shower, Mike comes over and we practice music. At 11:30 p.m. she calls and puts off coming over though she promised. I sleep. She calls again at 1 a.m. and puts it off again, making me mad. Thursday at 8 she comes with the car to drive me to work, dismal, ill, coming down. After work she calls and says she can’t pick me up, she’s too burnt, so I get a ride home with Terri. I clean up, walk to her place, hungry and tired, ready to take her to dinner somewhere. Her room is a mess as she’s started packing clothes, everywhere. Dinner at 11 at ‘Giovanni’s’, then coke is scored at midnight by Maggie’s friend. I’m falling asleep, but we drive to Mag’s at 12:30, collect her, return to Dale’s do lines and I perk up. Much talk, a bottle of wine consumed, Mag’s friend leaves and the three of us go back to Maggie’s for more wine and lines at 3 a.m. Strange arguments erupt as I get feisty, still peeved from her no-show the night before. I criticize her and come out with a strange, eloquent speech on why we do drugs: damage stimulates thinking. Dale is now very tired and wants to go home. I still want to party and so does Mag. But Dale does not want us together with her gone”. (with good insight, as I was very attracted to her) “I drive her home and we get into a huge argument. I’m half out of my mind, recant, beg forgiveness, and leave, half reconciled. (I drive back to Mag’s but the lights are out, one light knock on the door, no reply so I leave) I get home just before seven for an hour of sleep before work.

Friday- the hardest day of work in my life, humping shingles for a roofer who’s assistant didn’t show up, then on a steep roof nailing all day. I’m so tired I go home and crash at 7 p.m. Saturday I have a ten-thirty estimate to do. Dale has been binging on coke with John, struggles out of bed after I call her three times to get her to bring over some storage stuff before the train leaves at noon. At eleven-thirty she calls me to come get it. I arrive, her hair is dripping wet from shower, she’s standing there ‘sans chemise’, a chaos of objects across the floor, totally unready. I leave without saying goodbye, shrugging my shoulders. It’s what I expected, half laughing, half sad, leaving it to John to get her to the train on time. But it was very unlikely. She probably had to hang out with him another day to catch the next one.

Finis.”

Sunday: I read books, bought books, fixed the muffler, read more and wrote this.

“I added the last entry for Sunday because it’s so laconic and hints that I’m free of a great burden, mental and emotional, and can get back to some kind of normality. It really was a relief for me to see her go”.

My life again entered what I would call an idyllic phase over the next year. I would move two times in that period, but each was into a new and stimulating scene. The poker games and table followed me in each of these transitions, so that didn’t change, and that was a large part of my social life, my best friends, and the concomitant partying and bar visits that came with them, on a weekly basis. My affairs with women, (five of them) were one-night stands, except for two, a little more heart involving, (one lasting five days and the other three weeks) but easy to get over, being of such a short duration and ending with mutual agreement (almost like a polite handshake goodbye) that it was for the best, trials, flirtations, not infatuations, not entrapped in any web of commitments. I was still too young and free and happy with my drinking buddies. My hours were all pleasantly filled, with work, with reading and writing on my days off, and with bars and parties on weekend nights.

I sobered up quite a bit after Dale left. If not, I might have permanently damaged myself with a few more months of it, a car wreck or accident of some sort, in that love and drug induced swirl of events. She was near that stage of collapse when she left. Love is a heady thing. Love and coke and speed and alcohol all mixed together on a daily basis is an unsustainable, insane thing.

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Diomedes
Diomedes

B.A. in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkley. Writer, Blogger and retired Electrician.


Robert O'Reilly
Robert O'Reilly

I am educated in the Western Classical Tradition, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Latin and Greek, English major, one year at U. of Toronto, studied under Alain Renoir and Northrop Frye, read most classics full time for many years after university in French, English, Latin and Greek to the modern day. I am interested in the near future of technology, what changes it imposes upon our heritage and character as humans. Short stories and Essays are my medium.

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