This is Part 3 of a four-part series. Read the last letter here.
A little over three years ago, Rania and I went to Marfa over a long weekend to celebrate her birthday.
On the way back from Marfa was when Rania first told me it was her dream to quit science and move into fashion. Now, she is just a few weeks away from leaving the field she’s been in for nearly 20 years to focus on the next chapter of her life. With it comes a move to more affordable housing (pursuing your passion comes at a cost, of course), meaning I have been sifting through old items as I pack and reminiscing on how far I’ve come in these last 3 years, myself.
While in Marfa, we met a guy named Carl who was getting his master’s through UNT and spending the year teaching middle school English in the small West Texas town. We became pen pals for a few short months, and I vaguely remember where I was at in my life when I was writing him: unhappy with my job, unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, and still sour over past events that were completely out of my control. I don’t exactly remember what I wrote to him, but I’ve enjoyed re-reading the letters he’s sent to me (if only because of his Salinger-esque prose):
Your letter came at just the right time…as of yesterday and beyond now my address is:
PO BOX 360
Marfa, TX 79843
One of my favorite subjects for prose and verse is senility. Indeed, I am quite taken with the notion and have many stories about it and many reaction stories in which I talk about it and people speak back, they bring their own voice into my open, sprawling song of senility, where facts are wishes like I always swear to God I say. I have drunk myself to senility, I have dreamed that way and loved that way. I ate a piece of expired Alzheimer-encrusted meat once, which turned out to be a sixty-year-old piece of nougat! Even today I started noticing a severe repetition of vertigo, where I feel like I am speeding sideways, shifting overland.
Funny…but I have an optimistic take on it, really. The bleak stuff is absolutely too much to bear; I beg you not to discolor something I am dumb enough to look forward to.
I am concerned about this rich man you are courting. Have you actually gotten a good look at his boat, and you are sure you will get to use it pretty often? Trust me, having a boat and not using it is worse than not having one at all. It becomes emblematic of a listless spirit…an adventurous one will always be out there, schooning; or even just anchored near the swim zone, selling snacks. If he is a “III,” also you must consider that he can never be, and more importantly can never give you by birth, a wizard.*
I don’t intend to cast aspersions all the time. But when I do, look out. This guy the third might want to invest in a helmet. Because my words smell like soil; they have flowers growing out of them; and when they come sailing at you in a clay pot from a second story window, the only thing between you and God is a store-bought helmet.
It is nearly 10am and I am listening to Tangerine Dream in the empty English class.
I believe in seasoning walls and flavors with music, even when I am not there. People always say there is a great peaceful feeling in the rooms where I live. I don’t know if they are lying or if that is some kind of bon mot. but I tell them of course, because I play music in the room while I’m not there. Helps the room develop self-respect and personality. Too typical of a room to be a simple box of dead skin. Too typical!
Me and my room are symbiotic.
This present room may be my least favorite. The house, most favorite, but the walls are too hard to pierce so I can’t hang anything. The carpet is ratty and full of the thistles of many day’s walking.**
My books are in the closet, not getting their due – which is a nice bookshelf, like an altar or a book-castle. Just thought I would close on a sad note.
*Carl had a very long-winded footnote here. I chose not to type it, because I hate long footnotes.
**That being said, I did want to note that I remember this gross carpet of his. After we met at the bar, we walked outside and he’d found his bike had a flat tire from all the thistles. We shoved him and the bike into the back of our car and took him to his house, where we had a cup of tea and he showed us all the artwork of his talented but rude roommate. More on him in part four.