24 February 1995

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

I talked to Beth on the phone yesterday and we both marveled over Teresa–how lucky I am, how astonishing she is, how unusual, how perfect. Beth is crazy about Teresa and may have a small, proprietary pride in having helped get us together. And she said the nicest thing:  “You know who Teresa reminds me of? The girl in that Williams story, The Girl With A Pimply Face, not because of her face, of course.”

“Oh, no, no of course.  I know what you mean!”

“It’s something like, ‘she was completely without the rotten smell of a liar.’ “

And looking it up now, I see that Beth remembered it almost exactly right. 

“…nobody was putting anything over on her if she knew it, yet the real thing about her was the complete lack of the rotten smell of a lair. She wasn’t in the least presumptive, just straight.” (Williams, The Farmers’ Daughters, New Directions, 119.) 

And here’s where he first sees her.  Williams is so impressionable. Wary too.

I opened the door and saw a lank haired girl of about fifteen standing chewing gum and eyeing me curiously from the kitchen table.  The hair was coal black and one of her eyelids drooped a little as she spoke.  Well, what do you want? she said.  Boy, she was tough and no kidding but I fell for her immediately.  There was that hard, straight thing about her that in itself gives an impression of excellence. (117)

Teresa got here last night.  It’s always surprising and wonderful to get her in real life again. I can’t hold her in my mind when we’re apart.

I had washed some clothes and hung them up to dry on hangers which I hooked over the ceiling fan:  two nice shirts and a pair of velvet underpants.  When we woke up this morning, she looked up and said, “Did we fling those up there?”

“Yahoo!” I said.

Yesterday morning, before Teresa left Santa Barbara, we were on the phone and I said, “I want to get a video so I’ll have something to occupy my mind while I’m waiting for you to get here.”  (I can’t read when I’m excited.)  “But the video store is sort of a hike, and I just remembered I don’t have a car.”

“Princess!” said Teresa, “Where is your chariot?”

Teresa just got back from running, all pretty and sweaty, and I kissed her.  “Potato chip!” I said, because she tasted salty. We kissed some more and I could taste the coffee on my own mouth. “I’m coffee, and you’re potato chip.”

“We’re breakfast,” said Teresa.