…And were we go. The first installment. This novel-in-pieces thing is going to take a long time. How deliciously Dickensian.
Come sit on my shoulder for a while. I’ll show you how a crisis looks and sounds up close; it will pass quickly – it’s not yours.
- Michael A. Kohl (But you can call me MAK like everyone else.)
July 20, 1990
Hi…I’m here with my parents in Montana. It’s six a.m. Kind of cold out for July. I’m sitting on this little ledge in the side of a mountain overlooking a lake. There’s still “smoke” coming off it. It’s so quiet and clear that all the mountains surrounding it look like they’re in there, touching the bottom upside down. And the sun’s down there, too, looking kind of small. Hesitant. It’s odd – that warping of depth and height. Anyway, on this continuum, I take up zero space in the Universe. Deep thoughts, with Mak Handy. (Are you smiling yet, beautiful?) I’m sitting here trying to write a poem because I forgot my camera.
I really didn’t want to come on this trip, as you know, magnet girl, but even your pull can’t compete with my mother. This might be the last time we take a trip together as a family, she says. Truth is, Donnie’s not even here – med students don’t have a summer the same way they don’t have a night. That’s what I’m hearing, on the hour. Poor, poor Donnie. He’s buried in books and corpses and here’s fancy free humanities me, lucky to be breathing the mountain air with Joe and Lily. Complaining and looking sour is just not even an option. Look at it as a free trip out West; forget you’re with your parents, she says. I hear that, I tell her.
But what I can’t forget is that I’m not with you. I think we have something really good, Rach. I miss you when I’m walking in these huge, grassy spaces, with mountains all around, and the sound of rushing water, and no other human beings for miles, and I’m thinking, damn, if Rachel was here…Well you know what I mean. It’s like I want to see it through your eyes, more than I even want to see it through my own, is I guess what I’m saying. Did I just write that? Whew.
Meanwhile, today me n’ the Doc are doing some canoeing and some real hiking. [My mom is staying back in this village near here and doing pottery with this woman she met in the hotel. There’s an Indian woman (are we supposed to call them Native-Americans now?) who owns a shop where tourists make all sorts of crafts. It’s right up her alley.] But anyway, I feel like it will be easier to hike with you in my step…
We’ll be back in Baltimore two weeks from tomorrow – save me a dance at club Kitchen. I’ll be out to Silver Spring almost as soon as we land.
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