Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Aimless Reading: The N's, Part 5.1 (Pablo Neruda)

Neruda, Pablo
Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair

Given to me as a birthday gift in 1996. Inscribed.

My college friend, V., gave this to me. V. came from a very wealthy family, had gone to Choate for high school, etc. In college we all expected her to take over the world -- or at least Broadway. Everything she did was infused with her ambition.

Most of her circle of friends were involved in theater -- she was often tagged with the "fag hag" label. She didn't act or sing or dance or direct or work on the stage crew, but she seemed to keep the whole gang happy through her presence and encouragement and so forth.

She chain smoked. She had a very worldly, knowing air about her, but there was also a kind of intimacy she could share with you that was very attractive.

Later in college she got an internship at William Morris Agency that became a job and we all expected her to become the next super-agent. After a few years, however, she seemed to have a change of heart. She hated her job, was getting sick of New York, etc., so one day she up an left. Not for Hollywood, though, for Boston. Before long she was teaching high school and from what I could tell seemed quite happy.

We had a brief encounter one evening after a New Years' party, just before she left for Boston. After the party we wended our way over to her apartment on the Upper East Side, where we sat for a while in the living room before making our way to the bedroom. She had a new cocker spaniel with a barking issue that V. had tried to solve by purchasing a shock collar. Every time the dog barked, the collar would give it a little electric shock and then emit beep so the owner would know it was working.

V. had one of those NYC loft beds that float five feet off the ground on wobbly stilts. As our intimacy progressed, the bed began to wobble and knock against the wall. It was a rather noisy affair, the two of us moaning and groaning and the bed banging repeatedly against wall.

All of this upset the little pooch, who eventually popped open the bedroom door and started to bark, causing the collar to admit a beep, until it all began to seem like a scene out of a Jeunet film where the random noises of everyday life suddenly cohere into a comic, cosmic rhythm: Oooh, boom, woof, beep! Oooh, boom, woof, beep! Oooh, boom, woof, beep! Oooh, boom, woof, beep!

That was the only time we ever got together, and we lost touch after she left New York. She's not even on Facebook, so I have no idea what she's doing nowadays.

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