13 March 1995

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

Beth just told me that Annie told her that she was at a party at your house on Friday night, and you did the splits. Yes, the splits. Can this be true?

“Annie said that Max used to be a gymnast or something,” said Beth, “but he’s never said anything about that.”

“Maybe he’s actually a ballerina,” I said.

“He’s never mentioned it,” she said, “Which evidently means nothing.” I wanted to know all the details and circumstances, but Beth didn’t know them. “That’s all Annie told me,” she said.

“Do you think it’s true?”

“I think so.  I can’t imagine it, but that’s true of a lot of historical events.”[1]

After Beth told me about the splits, I went to school, and as I was walking along, Dozier Jackson called to me from across the street, “You look so great!  You look so happy!”

“But I’m not!” I called back.

People sometimes tell me that I smile a lot, and it always horrifies me, and I feel like saying, “That’s because I’m laughing at you.” I have no idea why I looked happy this afternoon, but I think it was partly because I was wearing a bright blue dress and about two pounds of red lipstick (not that this would make me happy, but it might make me appear cheerful from a distance), and also, I was thinking about the splits — so I was laughing at you.

And also, I am happy, because I have my Teresa and soon I’ll be with her all the time. 

She called me about an hour ago.  She had just dreamed that I moved away without telling her and she didn’t know where I was or how to find me.  She keeps having nightmares in which I leave her in various ways, and, though I don’t want her to suffer, I find it pretty flattering.

“Oh, sweetheart, it’s only a dream,” I always say.  “I’ll never ever leave you,” and I hope it’s true.



[1] Note added 2013: I guess some people who read this don’t know who Max is. He’s Max Schott, the writer, also my friend and teacher from the great College of Creative Studs at UCSB. I started writing this diary to him and never wanted to stop. I’ve been sending it to him in bits and chunks for the last twenty years. Most of the time he stands in for Intelligent Life in the Universe. Sometimes he’s an individual, as in this story about the splits.