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I am going to see him. I am on the train right now. Outside, itís Narnia in its eternal winter. New England is beautiful that way, when all the dust gets covered and all you can see for miles is the white damask.
     Across the aisle are lovers, happy in each otherís company. And across from me is a bald man who is frowning at his laptop. He and I both. The laptop glare furrows our brows.
     I lean towards the window. I am always filled with a wave of regret when I pass by places at great speeds. It upsets me because it is so beautiful and yet I cannot stop to visit. Trees laden heavily with snow. Exit 52.
     The depths of the forest whilst wind blows the silken dust of snow amongst the landscape .I want to escape there. I am tired, as usual, of maintaining my possessions. Does the tree sway to wave hello? Sunlight colours the snow to hazy yellow. The depths. The forest never seems to end. That may be the charm of it.
     The lovers smile.
     I couldnít get lost in your eyes but I could get lost out there. Itís gorgeous.
     The man across the seat just looked at me. I smiled. He didnít. As soon as I smiled, he went back to his work. The lakeís frozen over. Yet the sheet of ice looks so delicate; I suspect that no one will skate safely there.

     Sometimes I feel overly affectionate towards you, and at other times, I feel so icy cold that I would push you away even if you came naked and sultry to my bed.

     A woman with eyebrows and an appropriate mole that suggests her name should be Colette just walked by. High-arched half-moon eyebrows and deep-sunk eyes. Faded red lipstick. Women and makeup. A story of unrequited love. The makeup gives and gives and the woman uses and abuses.

     Iím sitting by the door that connects each of the cars. The wind blasts me every time someone opens up the door to enter this car.
     At the Cafť Car. Some men converse on the usual. There are so many ilk of men. My least favorite is the kind whose laughter is less merry and more vulgar. He, on the other hand, laughs so heartily and loudly that I can hear it even when I hold the receiver a foot away from my head. I smile a little and check if the teabagís seeped in enough. Sitting in this car fills me with a panoramic sense of being surrounded by nature since the windows are so large. I think it is because the seats are lower than those in the passenger cars; I can see more of the windows. Being able to see both windows left and right at once, employing parallax and peripheral vision gives me the sense of belonging.
     I actually tried to leave the Cafť Car. But I couldnít. The scenery was too dazzling. I feel old, as if I was experiencing something marvelous. Marvelous events only occur in antiquity.

     Night.

     I spend a lot of time looking outside, but it is so dark that I can't see a landscape, only my reflection. I like looking at myself. I consider myself beautiful. Sometimes I think I look horrid, not so ugly, but so mediocre. Thatís what I cannot stand. Mediocrity. The train shakes so much. Iíve changed a lot since I was a child and more innocent. Every day, I try not to lose my innocence but it just ends up being a feigning of innocence, a surprised look and a reddened face instead of answers. Thoughts. No organization whatsoever. It is truly a diary. I donít want anyone to ever see these again.

     There were many moments with him, when Iíve felt a sense of helplessness drape over me heavily.

     I canít wait until my opinion begins to matter so much that people will literally pay to read them, my worthless opinions. If I felt the way I used to feel, Iíd be better, feeling so invincible and having my opinions override everyone elseís at least in my mind. If I could convince myself that I can live forever. If I can believe my own lies. The notion of my invincibility is such a strong one, that if I were to feel it ardently, I would be free to do whatever I was feeling at the moment, instead of being limited by others' views of me. If only they knew the grueling introspection that I went through each moment before speaking my thoughts .if the rehearsals repeated several times in my mind were even half worth it. There are so many ideas running around, if only I could catch them, Iíd be ecstatic. If only I could catch them and write them down, maybe itíd all sell. Sometimes, I only say things to elicit a certain reaction from people mainly to please them, whether or not that is the truth. Am I then a prostitute? Am I then a woman who changes her name many times, in order to please her lover? Am I one who forges her personality to suit the tastes of man to man? Oh, that I were a man, I would impose upon women all the roles traditionally carried out and hated by women. I would force her into the kitchen and never let her out, except for the times I wanted her in the bedroom. A whore in the bed, a saint at church, a cook in the kitchen, a maid otherwise. I want my women to be that way. Yet how uncomfortably do I play this role, juggling one too many faces at once.

     Theyíve turned the house lights off. So many stories to tell, especially in the dark. I wish it was perpetually dark. Maybe Iíll be able to tell the stories a little bit better if I always lived in darkness and never had to have my face exposed. If I had a little girl, what would I tell her? Do I have the iron mask to hide behind, or the courage to say, honey, Mommie made a big mistake? The truth be told, I donít have courage, I donít got the manner, I donít got the class. I just pretend. Itís a very pervasive lie, where to this point, Iím just living the lie and Iím getting really used to playing the part. I like to pretend. When Iím on the train, I put on a different persona, an English girl, a French girl, a Chinese girl, with a charming accent and an innocuous smile. I always wonder what it would be like to carelessly seduce somebody, maybe one of my professors, then leave it to them to fumble around and make a hasty excuse the next morning. Pretended sexuality and homogeneity I certainly know how to swing around my club of overextended words.

     Arguments too often become moot points that I give up explaining.

     Iím the only one with the little overhead light on. Everyone else is enjoying the darkness. I alone stubbornly disturb the other passengers' attempted slumber. They canít force me to turn the lights off. I trust my good judgment. If I think what Iíve done is right, then most likely, everyone else will think similarly. He thinks I am beautiful. Iím so very used to hearing it from him. I began to see myself from his perspective. This beautiful, cat-like, sexual creature that seems to enchant him. I walk around the apartment quite naked. At best a pair of panties. When does enchantment end and love, tedious and constant, begin? Maybe thatís why I still shut the bathroom door.

     An Amtrak man said something funny to me. I took a tray from the cafť, a cardboard tray, for no real apparent reason, and when I saw that a trainman took notice of my actions, I sheepishly said, Do you mind if I switch seats in order to distract him. He looked at me a little bit longer than a while before he spoke, You can do whatever you want, okay? I donít know if that was sarcastic or not, but I kind of expected him to say, Itís Disneyland, you can do whatever you want, okay? So that I didnít have to feel so unbeautiful. No internal support system. I derive my support system from the outside. Maybe that is why he-who-I-am-going-to-see exists. My mother tells me Iím androgynous. That I have an androgynous personality, no matter how short my skirts are, or how much cleavage I artfully display.
     The trainís stopped. Ten minutes. Weíre waiting so that Amtrak fleet 67 can safely cross in front of us and weíll all be alive. Couple of days ago, an Amtrak train en route to Chicago derailed and twenty people died. How precarious life is! And how much I complain about shabby little things. Most everyone has good intentions but accidents still occur so frequently.
     I play the jigsaw puzzle all the time. Little bits of living here and there, it doesnít really fit anywhere but in the art of assemblage, I can trim a bit and try to make things blend. If there are mistakes, Iíll just have to pretend that that was my intention and smile enough so the corners of my lips curl up subtly and snubly.
     He pays for my trips to and fro. Itís dreadfully expensive to travel and it is so kind of him to pick up the check. And he feeds me too. And suffers my tantrums. I wonder what he gets out of the relationship, other than my body, which I give freely. Your breasts, he often says fondly, while stroking them softly, are perfect. I was a virgin when I met him. Since then, Iíve done all sorts of sexual things for him that I have once considered to be beastly acts that I shied myself away from. Heís become more dominant since he has met me.
     I love getting down on my hands and knees and giving head as long as itís him. I love following his lead the best sex I had with him so far is when we went out into the living room and opened up the blinds and did it there, where the street light peered in and shone along my side, and highlighted my breasts. The glass of the windows became a mirror and I was transfixed, watching myself fuck. I went up and down, with increasing speed. And he, who hardly ever orgasms, came inside of me. It was exhilarating to be atop him, having all of the control to make him feel this way or that, controlling the speed at which he receives pleasure. It feels good to give pleasure, as if it were mine to give in the first place.
     An older woman rises from her seat and passes by. Grey hair, a surprising amount of skirt a floor-length skirt since I thought older women only wore those pesky three-inches-below-the-knee skirts sheís wearing a salmon-pink sweater set and a matching headband. And a clean long strand of pearls. Sheís dressed so well, yet looks so dowdy her movements are timid. She has the innocence of an eighteen-year-old girl just having inherited her grandmotherís pearls. But with the grey hair and all she must be a grandmother herself.
     I dreamt last night that I lay with him in my canopied bed. We were both nude and I held him from behind, stroking his shoulder blades gently and caressed his neck. And from that vantage point, I saw him caressing and stroking another woman, a small Indian woman, fitted tightly against his chest. And it was so tender and she was responding and she was adorable, and she too was stroking him so lovingly . it suddenly struck me that it was I who had advised him to take another lover, besides me, so that it would dull his loneliness when I was not present, and also for the gratification of my sexual deviations. I tried to control my jealousy. Yet they looked so tender and loving. Every touch seemed compelled by genuine concern. I felt the heat of anger slowly rising. I attempted to control the anger, but it was churning as my voice my throat grew hot and bloody. I leapt out of bed, controlling myself from pulling the girlís hair reminding myself that it was I who had encouraged this rendezvous. He followed me and asked me why was I so furious? I explained but he merely reiterated what I had been telling myself over and again, It was you who advised me to do so. I wanted to tell him to get rid of her but I could not verbalize the thought. It was already too late, for his eyes were wide yet shielded from me, and his touch was no longer warm against me. He felt tenderly for the girl.
     Weíre passing through a lighted area full of tractors and big machines. Kind of like riding a tram in Disneyland, going through the Land of the Dinosaurs. It looks surreal, as if I was riding a tram through the land of big machines a machine graveyard, a machine museum. With their long necks extended and ponderous bodies rendered useless in inactivity. Slowly passing through. Okay. Machines all gone.
     Agrab a slave girl and slip her the meat. Such vulgar mnemonics for remembering how to live life. While I frowned and putted, I knew inside I could outdo them all in vulgarity and in sexuality. Most teenagers' and college students' sexuality is put up, made up, the gusto of an inexperienced virgin, set out to show something, without evidence of how the cherry was popped. I think the experienced person would rather not show their hurtful experience and would rather crawl back into the comfort of innocence and pretend to not know, pretend to have never experienced.
     Itís like playing piano. Once your fingers are used to playing the intervals, they are all set and youíll rarely make a mistake like hitting the wrong keys and making a jarring noise, even if you look away.
     Outside the willows or what are they called? They are frayed plants a golden grain with a tufted beard it flows and sways in the wind.
     May I speak, may I speak? Looking through an archaeology book. Archaeology of Mesopotamia, to be precise. A statue in relief, so deep that the figure seems to want to emerge and be free from its wall, from being a legend into being an actual existing thing. From Sumeria, 2650 BCE. This powerful, seductive, taloned goddess. Standing atop two lions with her powerful talons clawing their flesh. Two owls, symbols of wisdom, flank her. Her breasts hang heavily from her small and ample frame, frozen in eternal, vernal suppleness. Beautiful stones must have once filled her empty eye sockets. Her wings are half spread and the bull-horned crown indicates she is a goddess. Vacant eyes, a youthful curve to her cheeks, yet unsmiling, cruel lips. Lilith. A succubus, a goddess of death and sex. She overwhelms me. I close the book. Iíve only now realized that my seat faces the rear of the train. Iíve been riding backwards to my destination. Strange, isnít it?

 

lilith

elizabeth
b.
cho