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2002-04-17 - 10:34 a.m.

Today is Rob's birthday. Heís not really big on celebrating it, so if you were to wish him a happy birthday, you didnít hear it from me.

He didnít want to celebrate last year, either. This is the email I wrote him back then, when we were just becoming friends:

April 17, 2001

Dear Clayton,

I think I'm okay, most of the time, or pretend to be, or like last night, go to Spider House alone, and write for a while (nothing of any import, really, just convincing myself that I can still string words together in a sentence), but mostly just looking at people, and then I can get an email like yours which will reduce me to tears.

Damn cubicle culture. Ain't no privacy here.

I've been thinking a lot, about being single and being coupled, and this thinking has been accompanied by a certain degree of self-righteousness on my part. It is harder and harder for me to be around couples (Chris saying "I love you" to Amy right before he goes inside to get the water bottle pre-bike ride, and back out in 30 seconds; Loweth and Anne congratulating themselves that they are so lucky to have found each other, considering the fact that they both like to work on houses), and harder not to say cynical smarmy comments. I manage to convince myself that I am happier being single; my life is certainly less complicated that way. But I know I am happier single when I have at least one (usually only one) person that I can cling to. Last spring it was Jessa, who turned out to be crazy. And then Anne clung to me all summer (and I still feel a sense of abandonment that she went back to Loweth; what does she think I do with all my spare time now that she is not occupying it?). For a while it was Gary, and still is to some degree (although that involves more than I admit to most people). Sal is my closest confidante right now, who knows all my secrets, and I can call him up spur of the moment, anytime. But even now I feel I rely on him too much, and that he is distancing.

I suppose I had a point here, but it's been lost. When I am around a breakup, or hear of a breakup, it makes me feel very sad, but maybe more because it reminds me of my last big breakup (senior year in college - I can't even imagine going through something like that again, and I think that is part of the reason I distance myself from people, that I have never let myself get attached to anybody as much as I did that time, that I would rather be alone than suffer that, ever again). What is also strange is that I dreamt, Saturday night last, that you and Jennifer had broken up, and I remember crying in my dream. It is strange that I remember my dreams, and even stranger that they come true.

But one thing that I do know about myself is that it is always easier for me, and nicer, to do things for other people. I struggle, even now, and always, with what I want, and I fear I will never know, but just stumble around, hoping to find someone with a clearer vision in their head, so I can just follow along. And I wonder if I do find something, will it have any meaning if I am all alone? If no matter how many people I hang around with, if there is always somebody more important in their lives, and then I come home to an empty bed? I suppose that sounds a little melodramatic.

So happy birthday, Rob. I think you should celebrate, in some form, because years later you will want to remember how you celebrated this birthday. And there are many people in your life who love you very much, and will want to be with you.


everybody felix, itís felixís birthday

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