In my letter, the one I did not write to you,
I said, "I'd been thinking about Lynard Skynard
and how the band ended in a plane crash
and how I hadn't remembered much about it.
I'd admitted I wasn't up on the music.
I said the idea of someone else coming along to preserve
a memory by singing songs was almost pentecostal
and probably well intentioned. I discussed my curiosity
about a man who would climb out of himself and into
a dead reputation, down to adopting the
habit of appearing barefoot in concert and how it made
me wonder who he was when he wasn't being someone else.
And then I rambled on about Oprah and a recent interview
featuring an author (whose name I couldn't remember).
I said it was unfortunate that the author's adventures
ascended to the height of victory because she met the perfect
man and all her former brokenness was mended in the
glue of their ardor. I looked up the spelling
of ardor because of the "u" that always seemed to force
itself into the middle of that old time word. I carefully
explained that it was not a disdain for men that led me to
this conclusion but my suspicion about the equation of singlehood
equating to brokenness. I reassured you that it is possible for
women to be strong and honest and loving without shackling men to the altar of
their expectations and giving them to task of playing god.
My tone was playful. I strove for lightness of conversation so
my surgical thoughts would not carve away the possibility of
your listening. Rather than mail the letter, I read it
to you so I could watch your eyes while I read to gauge
the prudence of continuing on and entering the arena of
literary structure. When your eyes said yes I described
how a woman longs for a man's words to veer
from Freitag's pyramid as much as a man
wants a woman's body to peak and peak again
and in so doing share in mutual waves
of excitement breaking the prevalent
flawed rules of romantic structure.
In your letter, the one you did not write to me, you said, "I
really had to stop and think about Lynard Skynard and his
missing shoes and the missing man who didn't fill them.
There was a time I might have mistook your observations
as little assaults on my sense of fashion. Once I might have
assumed there was something in your bevy of words that
clearly directed me to run. Words are ridiculous things
after all. Little squiggles on a page. Little fricatives making
sense of sound. Bilabial courtship with language when
kissing would do just as well. I have to say I agree
about Oprah, and by the way, I think it was my idea about
the unremembered author. The fact you stewed on it and
spilled it into a literary pot, making a clever sexual analogy
didn't frighten me as much as I wanted to let it. I've learned
alot about women over the years. But still, climbing into
a woman's brain doesn't make for safe spelunking. No
combination of rope, harnesses or pulleys could
ensure a safe trek out. Woman are fabulous, I just don't
want to think like one. It's all good and well to be on this
side of your mind and master the questions. Which is
why I wrote in the first place. I have so many.
For starters, what possessed you to fixate on Lynard
Skynard and how did it lead you to Oprah and what
story are we living anyway?