Monday, June 26, 2006

Mind Fluctuations After A Long Island Wedding

On Saturday Rod and I went to D. & D.s wedding in the small Long Island town where Rod grew up. Most of Rod’s old high school and college friends were there. Kind of like a reunion and wedding all rolled into one.

The wedding itself was pretty amazing. I’ve never seen more food at any catered event—wedding; banquet; bat or bar mitzvah. Caviar and sushi stations. A chocolate fondue fountain and espresso. I had three deserts. Well, plus a cookie. AND they had bagels and muffins for you to take home with you for the next morning.

Afterwards, Rod, T., D. and his fiancée K., M. and V. and I went over to this place where the boys would hang out to smoke pot and drink beer. Harvard Dr., just a little isolated bit of roadway between housing developments and five or six cars would just pull over and they’d all get fucked up the way teens do. We toasted days past and went on our way into the hot foggy 3 am darkness.

It was funny, though: as I drove away, I thought how much this road reminded me of roads I’d traveled along in my own suburban town. How all the tiny roads in eastern suburban towns in summer will always remind me of the tip of Ralston, sitting on a rock in the darkness smoking pot and cigarettes and drinking saccharine home-made lemonade spiked with pilfered vodka with R., both of us staring up at the streetlight and the insects dive-bombing their way through the beams. And that heavy late summer ache—will I always be alone, untouched and angry? Will my body always vibrate so painfully with longing? And always the cicadas and katydids and frogs thrumming the air. (The soundtrack of my adolescence, this insect chorus…)

I’ve been writing about this for years, you know. This little scene shows up in just about every story I’ve written. My first (unpublished) novel is saturated with the teeming insects and their calls. It seemed so essential, like there was some nugget in that moment and if I could press it just right, my life would crack open like some silver-coated clam.

But on Saturday night I realized: it was just the summer I turned 18. It was just the summer I spent high and drunk with a girl I’d fallen more than a little in love with. It was the summer before I went off to college, the last summer in the confined circle of my childhood. And that was it….


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