Friday, July 31, 2009

Crazy Making

NOTE: This is a repost, but it is a story that takes place in Rockport MA, which is where I'm heading, so I thought you might enjoy it! XO Suzy
CLIFF MONTGOMERY Pictures, Images and Photos

Yesterday my mother called me to relay a message from a dear, old friend. Older than me, he was the "older" man I was in love with from sixteen until... oh well, you know. It wasn't a crush that could have ever materialized. Not only was he a grown up man when I first met him, but he was also Montgomery Clift like in many ways. I had (and still have) hero worship for him.

And he was kind. Always so kind to me. We grew to know each other in a summer place, where the rocks of Massachusetts loomed against a cove. I am sure the mineral components of that water took on magical proportions. I can still see him there, standing on a high rock, making his body arc and dive into the deep, deep ocean. He shined.

And I remember that afternoon, on the stone porch of the summer house, while I played guitar (badly) and tried to be someone I wasn't as he swung in the hammock with a drink and convinced me, silently, that who I was was better than anyone I could ever lie up.

Anyway, he called me Suzannah with the "h" on the end as if he knew already it was my secret wish, to have that softness on my name.

I haven't seen him in almost twenty years, and still he asks about me.

My mother just got back from her summer stay at that house by the ocean. She still goes, every year. I don't go. I have many reasons. Some things have to stay in the past. They stay sweet and pretty that way. My grown self could muck up those memories and I won't chance that because those summers are my safest, sanest places to run to in my head when the crazies come.

She called me on the phone to extend an invitation from that old dear friend. She said he was excited to hear about my writing, and that he'd just bought home in New York and wanted me to come and stay with him for a bit... to write.

My mother described the house as he must have described it to her. Old and charming. Big windows, a lot of light. A third floor studio type space. I visualized it in my head, the sun streaming in the windows, I could hear the quiet.

She told me he said he would only bother me when it was time to eat. That he would yell up the stairs "Suzannnah! Dinner's ready." Imagine. Someone calling me down to dinner.

I let out a long sigh on the phone. "Give me his email..."I said.

"But don't you want to go?" she asked.

"I can't." I said.... and she knew it.

It isn't because of the three children. It isn't because of the full time job. It isn't because of spousitis . It is more complicated and simple than that.

I can't go because I can not (at this point in my life) immerse myself in the other option. The option I chose to veer away from when I decided on normalcy instead of bohemianism.

I can't go because I am afraid of what could have been, and of what could possibly become, if the quiet peacefulness and soft attention from a beloved and accepting person should penetrate the armor I wear so fiercely.

But the option? The tantalizing lure? Oh my. It is truly crazy making.

For now, I will email him and ask him to visit my world. Maybe in a few years, maybe then I can visit his.

(Update: I have been back. And I have seen this wonderful man. And I have shaken out most of these demons. But still... that time in my life was the beginning of ALL the magic.)


  1. You have some beautiful posts, but this is my favorite so far. Ah, the pull of the invitation vs. the love of where you are. nice dichotomy.

  2. You're such a great writer, Suzanne. This was such a moving and descriptive post!
    I know what you mean about not being afraid of being alone and sometimes feeling most lonely around other people. Of course, you said it better :)
    I hope you get some time to write. If I could bundle up some of the time I spend on meaningless pursuits (ahem, TLC. Staring off into space. Composing declarations of hatred between my W.I.P. and myself) and send it to you, I totally would!

  3. Thanks for the sweet link. Your post brought to mind one word -- Rodanthe. (Hope I spelled that correctly.) :)

  4. Suzanne,
    I love the way you describe landscapes and what people mean to you. I too want to keep some of my memories as just memories,revisiting places or people sometimes dispells our fantasies and we all know how we need those...

  5. That was amazing. I love your writing style and I could really relate emotionally. Have a wonderful weekend.

  6. Thank you very much for this post and for the opportunity to glimpse past your writing and into your personal life. It's appreciated!

  7. There is so much beauty in this post, I hardly know how to describe it. I can't--so therefore it should just be read and savored as the jewel it is.

  8. Tess: OMG such a compliment I am veclempt (sp?).
    Sarah: Send it to me baby!
    Angie: I am glad! I am working on less description and more seeing. Whatever that means ;)
    Sundi: XO
    Weronika: I am happy you visit me. Such a wonderful young talent you are!
    LT: Jewel? I thought I was whining. I should write off the cuff more often! Seriously, thanks folks.

  9. Beautiful post! I know what you mean about being alone. Sometimes, there's no better feeling. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Wonderful post, truly beautiful. And conjured up a few similar feelings and images of my own. The lure is almost irresistible, isn't it? :) But not quite. ;)

    I hope you find some writing time. If you have a little extra, send it my way ;-D

  11. Abby: We aloners are a rare breed!

    Michelle: Sistah! We should have one of those writer retreats. All you people out west, though...

  12. Suzanne, each post is better than the last. I agree with one of the other commenters - this was my favorite so far.
    I can relate - as much as I dearly love my family and all the corners of my life (and every room in my house!) they fill up, I also really loved living alone. What a fantasy that offer is!!
    But, I bet, you thrive in chaos as I do and all that solitude would be bad for your creativity :)
    Can't wait for a recipe tomorrow :) Happy Weekend!!

  13. Ariana! Thanks! You writing ;) Tomorrow... I think perhaps a sweet? or not?

  14. Beautiful post! It's rare and somewhat poetic for a person to have such a defined break in their life. I think it's much more common (and mundane) to have a life like mine that was made up of lots of little, seemingly meaningless decisions that brought me right where I am today.

    I think I'd like having a path not taken to moon about every once in a while.

  15. What a wonderful writer you are, Suzanne! Please, please tell me this isn't something you whipped together in like 20 minutes.

    Just a thought... I could totally go for your friend in NY calling me down for dinner. You know, in case he asks if you have any friends.

  16. Cindy: You got lost up there somehow. Thank you for that compliment. I really appreciate it!

    L&L: I think i may begin to stalk you. Is it wrong to like cyber people so much?

    Vegas: Get ready girl, I am hoping to convince the spouse we need to come out there. We could write together by a pool. Or drink. Whatever!

  17. That was beautifully poignant, Suzanne. And you've made the right decision (I know you know that). Recently I had the chance to catch a glimpse of my own "road not taken", and was quite disillusioned as to where my life would be had I gone there...much different than I'd envisioned long ago. I feel like I lost something in the "knowing" now...pleasant memories soiled.

    As for being alone, I too lived alone - 4 blissful years by myself in my own house. I adore my husband and our life together, but I loved living alone too. I truly hope you get to find some "alone" time to write soon, and recharge in the midst of your busy life.

  18. Wow that made me hold my breath! Spousitis? That made me giggle. Well told!

  19. Wow, I loved this post so much! You're such a great writer. Using Montgomery Clift as an example paints the picture so well. Your post so perfectly captures glancing back at the path not taken.

  20. Wonderful - your story makes my name seem more beautiful - thank you for that :-)