In Which Diane Renders All Other Faces Useless In Comparison

Sob Story

by DAN CARVILLE

What I noticed about Diane first was actually something about myself. When I saw her I cycled through so many different reactions, unable to fixate on one in particular. First came a kind of mental thrust, a movement towards an indiscernible affection. Then lust, at how she was arranged. I only felt that bracing sadness afterwards, reminiscent of when I was a boy and saw a bird lose its sight.

I love animals, humans especially. Last week I witnessed an earthworm wriggling on the sidewalk. I put it in the ground. I thought to myself, “Is this what I think I am always doing?”

Her real name is not Diane. At times I wonder what this looks like from above.

I have told so many people I cannot be with them over the years. I suppose we all have, but when I think back on telling Diane, I realize on how little hinged my choice. The others held something messy and incomplete inside that I could not really ignore. Maybe that sounds harsh, but I am not really thinking of these women as they are, only what I saw in them. It’s awful to think you want to make someone else more whole. It is no reflection on her, only on you.

On occasion I imagine my life if every time I had said the word need, I replaced it with want, and vice versa. Because that is what I meant to say, really. Whatever I wanted, I actually needed. Whenever I said need, I lied.

I suppose I could be the worm, wriggling. My metaphors are relatively less substantial, the further I get from the one I love.

She had marvelous taste. I know there is nothing in that except my own admiration. She spoke of everything outside of me with wild abandon, as though it were being described for the first time.

painting by patrick hughes

Diane was impressionable. Unfortunately she realized this, and took various measures to guard against it. I learned quickly, going over her lithe body, her arrested torso, that cruelty was useless. She was unconcerned by such things. She called them waste. (Like so many, she was the only one who could harm herself. If she was going to suffer, she and only she would know what she was punished for.)

To impress yourself on such a person, as is my habit and function, seems impossible at first. I used the internet. She came over at all hours; sometimes she would agree to come but not show up. When I asked her what had happened, promising myself I would be restrained, she waited for a long time before responding. Or maybe it just felt that way on gchat.

From time to time she would text me, but exclusively aphorisms and quotations. Largely they bore no relation to me, every once in awhile one would seem to comment on my lack of humility. It felt like we were never reading the same book.

Diane was a musician. I don’t know why I say ‘was’, probably she still is. I am afraid to bing her and find out. I am happiest when I am writing, gleefully explaining this chronicle of her so I no longer have to force sense on it in my own mind. She has a marvelous voice, dusky and gravelly. I loved how she said my name, but I loathed myself for thinking there was anything substantial in it.

Our sex was high level. It transcended intimacy, since no other emotion could have been brought to these events without being overwhelmed by their intensity. Other writers make sex sound so similar to my own experience, or so foreign from it. I do not trust what they say about it, nor do I think I am ever supposed to.

We rarely went out together. Once I asked why that was, and she answered that no one asks why a blouse cannot nurse a child. I was quiet for a long time after that.

Yesterday I went back to a grotto she took me to once, a natural elision in the rock. Fog swarmed over beetles dancing between the parapets, oak and pine shivered and turned away. She was always saying how light went through objects; to be honest I thought it was kind of horseshit, but sometimes disbelief can turn around and become a kind of wonder.

Possibly I should have said this before anything else, but Diane had a serious addiction. Still, she was never high all the time, and she never used in front of me, for which I was grateful. Once I was so ashamed when she did not come to see me, as she promised. I typed to her what I suspected. She typed that it was inappropriate for two drugs to bicker amongst each other.

I thought it was a compliment when she said it, but I now believe the statement lacked any inflection at all. Diane excelled at unadorning the truth while still softening it.

Sex really had nothing to do with Diane. It was something she exuded, as I said, but then it would be replaced by what she was. Her lower body was a bit larger, and depending on what she wore, my attention could be drawn anyplace. How is it that a woman can be something and never say what she is?

Reading that back, it sounds sexist. I am not really talking about women, only Diane who is not Diane. I hope she reads this, because it will prove everything to her. She will hold this webpage in her arms like carrion. Most of what I said is true. Diane typed that it is wonderful to relinquish something that has already been destroyed. When I wake I see that mouth; I’d be lying if I said I was not entirely consumed with her in these moments, when the light hits any tender face other than her own. She seemed to absorb envy.

Dan Carville is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in Brooklyn. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. He last wrote in these pages about the falcon and the angel.

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