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Well, holy shit.

The is Sarah-Katherine's final morning here, and her first chance to spend some time away from me. I walked her to the BART station and kissed her temporarily goodbye, as she took the train to the city to have lunch with Gordon. He's the major domo at Epicenter, and she's been corresponding with him, so I'm selfishly hoping they're having a great time while I'm typing this. The more friends she makes here — me and Judith and Gordon would make three — the more likely she might be to move to the Bay Area.

And while she's in San Francisco and I'm in Berkeley, some thoughts while they're fresh…

♦ ♦ ♦

When Sarah-Katherine accepted my invitation to visit and told me she'd stay for five days, I wondered if we could stand each other for that long. Usually when I spend that much time at a stretch with anyone, we end up wanting to kill each other.

Well, guess what? Neither of us is dead, and there've been no close calls. That's highly irregular. I'm still enjoying our time together, sad that it's coming to an end, and I like her more today than before she came. I like the maniacal look in her eye when she's laughing hard. I like her apparent lack of any goals beyond simply enjoying herself and her life. I like how her hair is a jungle when she first wakes up. I like the sexy scent of her hairy armpits that never smell like something from a bottle of perfume or deodorant. I like that we both hate the zines everyone else raves about. I like that she's at least a little, maybe a lot smarter than me, but she doesn't rub my nose in it. I like that she hates the word 'love'. I like her tattoo, her taste in music, and her general outlook and inlook on life. 

She puts up with my faded hearing, bad breath, ill manners, and my shortcomings in the sack. She prefers shadows to sunlight, baldfaced truth to civilized lies, authentic bums to middle-class poseurs, and big greasy meals to tossed green salads. And so do I.

So is Sarah-Katherine the girl of my dreams? Ah, it's way, way too soon to say, but she is certainly a girl worth dreaming about. 

She's not looking for a commitment, which is convenient, since I'm not sure I have any commitments to give. The concept kinda frightens me. I've dated women who wanted to wrap themselves around my life, and expected me to be wrapped up in theirs, and it didn't work out. Anyone who wants that kind of dedication should get a dog.

I treasure my solitude, and I've given it up for the past few days, but I'm not willing to give it up entirely. Much as I'll miss her, I'm also looking forward to being alone, having some serious Doug-time every day. One of the best things about Sarah-Katherine is that she seems to feel the same way.

So we're not anything more than good friends, I think, albeit friends who like to play naked. She's easy to like, so I do. She's easy to listen to, laugh with, be with, and hold. I've enjoyed these few days and I'm hoping for more days like these, but she's cling-free, and I like it like that.

You know what I don't like, though? I don't like what I've been writing this morning. It's too damned gooey, and I ought to delete all of it. How embarrassing. It makes me want to go wash my hands.

It's what I'm feeling, though, so I had to write it and I'll let it stand.

♦ ♦ ♦

Well, holy shit.

When she came back from the city, we went to lunch at Makris Café on University, which is by the way a better-than-average diner, but it's not worth saying "Holy shit." What I'm holy shitting about is what Sarah-Katherine said as she finished her chicken chop suey or whatever it was. She'd told me days ago that she was leaving Seattle, and she told me in the café that she's decided she's not moving to the Bay Area.

"I've always wanted to live in New York City," she said, "but I don't want to live there alone. Would you move there with me?"

Holy shit.

♦ ♦ ♦

I would seriously consider moving to NYC to be Sarah-Katherine's lover, but after a few horny months I'd regret the loss of my solitude. I'm almost sure of it. I am a solitary man.

She's not asking for a lover, though. She wants us to share an apartment, not a relationship. We'd be fuck buddies — friends sharing a flat, who might sleep together when we're both in the mood. An open relationship, is what it used to be called, though even the phrase sounds more formal than what she's offering.

I've been in open relationships before, only I didn't know it because the 'open' part was happening behind my back. It was the finding out that hurt, though — the betrayal, not any jealousy — and if we had no promises I guess there'd be no betrayal. Maybe it could work.

If not, what's the worst that could happen? We'd get settled in New York, and after a few months she'd start to hate me, as every woman in my life has. We'd go our separate ways, and I'd be all alone in a strange new city, but big fuckin' deal. I was alone in a strange new city when I moved to San Francisco four years ago, and I landed on my feet. I usually do.

Pretty sure, though, that Sarah-Katherine and I could never hate each other, so that worst case scenario isn't going to happen. What's the second worst, then?

Much as she wants to be untethered, she'll probably find some special someone some day, and it probably won't be me. She'll fall in love, and I'll be alone, but big fuckin' deal again. I've been alone for as long as I've been a grown-up, maybe as long as I've been alive. What she's offering still sounds like a good deal, for as many months or maybe years as she wants me around.

What else could go wrong? Well, one or both of us could get mugged or killed, I suppose. Rumor has it NYC is a big mean city. So's San Francisco, though, and so's Seattle. We could get mugged and killed anywhere, so that worry is moot.

We could decide we're 'only' friends, so no more boinking, in which case we'd each have a good friend for a flatmate. Every woman who's every boinked me has decided we ought to stop boinking, so that hardly seems like a worry. More like an expectation. Mark your calendar.

Turning her proposal over and over in my mind, I'm unable to see a downside, unless I turn it down. I'd be blue as hell, I think, if I said 'no' to this invitation, and then started receiving occasional post cards from my pal Sarah-Katherine in New York City.

Nothing is holding me in the Bay Area. I have some semi-jobs and some semi-friends and I know where to find a good burrito, but there's nobody here I feel half as much for as the woman chewing chop suey across the table and asking me to move with her to New York.

♦ ♦ ♦

All the above went through my mind in about a second and a half, between the time she asked and the time I said 'yes'.

Holy shit.

Guess I'm moving to New York City.

Then I asked her on a date to see Letterman, and we walked to the library to look at a map of the New York subway system and start thinking about which neighborhood we could afford.

♦ ♦ ♦

Manfully, I didn't cry when we kissed goodbye at the airport. My eyes were a little misty, but I don't think she noticed, so it didn't really happen.

Then came an empty feeling in my gut as I rode BART home without her, and jangled my key at the door with only myself to let in. Walking upstairs alone, I asked myself the big question, even bigger than the question Sarah-Katherine had asked me, and decided that the answer is 'no'.

The answer is 'yes', we're moving to New York, but the answer is still 'no', I'm not in love with that woman. Maybe I'm too selfish to feel it, or to care that much about anyone but myself. Or maybe I wouldn't recognize the feeling, having never felt it. I like her plenty, though, and already miss her.

In the apartment, I talked with Judith for a while, petted the dog, and then wrote for a while. The writing stank so I crumpled it and went to bed, where the pillows, sheets, and blankets still smell wondrously of Sarah-Katherine.

From Pathetic Life #14
Monday, July 17, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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