I’m on the train home, to Carmel. I nearly missed the damn train so I wasn’t able to buy my ticket in advance or have a cigarette before I boarded. The train is packed, but I’ve managed to find my usual little bucket seat in the back on the left side of the aisle. I always sit here—I hate when I’m not facing the same way the train is moving.
I never check the mail, mainly because I’m never at my apartment, but also because I never receive anything but medical bills these days. Before I left I checked it, just for my own benefit, to make sure your package hadn’t arrived yet. Well, Zooey, it did, in it’s perfect little shape. So perfect that I didn’t want to open it, and didn’t, until I read about your creased suit pants six or seven times. I walked out of my building and remembered the time you fell on your knees and all your smuggled microphones fell out of your suitcase. As embarrassing or plain painful as that was for you, it made feel a lot closer and more comfortable with you, for what I hope are ages to come.
I certainly don’t like this letter so far. It’s far too calm for me. I hate writing when I’m calm. This train is packed with businesspeople but it’s dead quite except for a couple of snores.
What I really mean to say is this, yes, in capitals because I am yelling!
(ZACH, NO ONE SENDS ME MAIL. I DON’T BLAME ‘EM BECAUSE I’M TERRIBLE AT SENDING MAIL AS WELL. THIS ALL MAKES RECEIVING YOUR PACKAGE THAT MUCH GREATER. PLUS, IT’S FROM YOU! I CAN’T BELIEVE I GOT SUCH A BEAUTIFUL LITTLE PRESENT IN THE MAIL FROM YOU. I LOVE YOU AND OH GOD, THANK YOU.)
Zooey, your package was incredible. I can’t thank you enough for sending me a great book in a tiny little package, tiny enough that it fit in my small mailbox, with your beautiful handwriting all over it. I’m so appreciative. I love having a friend as warm and brilliant as you-- I feel absolutely privileged.
When I finally did open it, I held the little book for a moment in the cab ride over and taped the tape around my pinky finger, just to remember how happy I was receiving that package for the rest of the evening. I just smiled while bending the book around, bracing it to be read.
(Are you seeing any advertisements for this “Poseidon” movie? They’re terribly overwhelming and Titanic-like. I hate them.)
I got a voicemail when I got off the subway last evening but didn’t check it until late because no one important leaves me messages, really. It was from you! From the other side of the country, no less! I didn’t get a chance to call you back because Norman came over for our final talk on the subject, or whatever. I am going to call you this evening, because you said you’d been drinking vodka and for some reason that makes me as uneasy as me drinking vodka.
As far as the final talk with Norman: I acted super nice and understanding and took all of the blame for everything, Zooey. I felt like someone in a foreign country who could only dumbly smile at all they were being told. I told him I would work my bottom off to keep this relationship intact. I told him that I loved him and that I wanted to give it one more shot before we gave up. He just sat there, telling me that he was in a bad mood.
Eventually, he caved, minimally, and told me, “So, well work then,” and I guess that means we’re back together. He said he’s not even going to bother telling people that we’re back together—that it’s just too much work. He didn’t reassure me that he’d help me to trust him, or anything; he just said, “We’ll work”. Then I seduced him with a tuna salad and some burnt rice. I don’t know what’s with me, Zooey. I’m always burning rice. Then he said, “Well, I guess since we’re boyfriend and girlfriend again, we can smooch,” and I said something like thankgodyoufuck under my breath and we smooched and whatnot. Cut to the finish—I ended up tearing those sentimental movie tears that real lovers tear when they really love each other. I’ve never done that before and it scared me. I just don’t want to hurt, Zooey.
I’m riding this train upstate and the only thing that is keeping me together is your package. I think Norman is going to go to Milk and Honey tonight, with this new pretty girl from his job, nonetheless. I’m assuming of course, but with the right facts, I’d like to believe. Have you heard of Milk and Honey? It’s this speakeasy joint that’s pretty elitist, to say the least, as they keep changing their phone number to avoid people from finding out about it. I’m sure you’ve heard of it; hell, you’ve probably even been there. I want to go there sometime and I’ve never been, so I say when you move back here I take you for merriment, of your return home.
I hate to constantly nag about this subject, but is your move back to New York any more definite these days, as far as dates and such? If you need any help with anything, anything at all, please let me know. I’d be happy to keep some of your stuff safe (or even you safe, of course) while you’re getting everything together, et cetera.
Well now, of course I’m worried to be going home to my parents. I have such a bad association with going upstate ever since I’ve known Norman. I’m supposed to be giving him space, and as hard as it is for me to do that with my deemed “trust issues,” I insist on giving it a shot. We’ve decided to only spend three nights maximum per week together. We have quotas to meet, Zooey. Now just how lame is that? But, I think by doing that, we’ll eventually get into the flow of our own lives again. And “sharpen each other” again, for Chrissakes. I’m just so devastated every time I see a goddam couple or a goddam bouquet of flowers in a goddam man’s hands. I’ve never felt like love was supposed to be monitored; I guess I just honestly doubt his love for me anymore. Everything is just so weary.
Oh, baby, Zooey! As dreary as the sun in my eyes makes me feel, I can’t help but feel good with the weather lately. Maybe, because I know you’ll be here soon. And I’ll be in a new apartment. And we can smoke cigarettes on park benches all over town.
Hell, Zooey. Come home.
Bird, from a train along the countryside.
PS—I’m sorry to hear that you’re ill with a head cold, especially when you’re due to start touring again. Um, drink lots of fluids? And, I find a glass of milk before smoking a cigarette coats your throat better and doesn’t hurt as much when you’re sick. Also, about your creased pants—just (lavishly) run droplets of water on the creases and hang them up correctly , to dry.
a victoria p
10 September 2007