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December 04, 2023

Tango 9

By Beate Sigriddaughter

Chapter 9: Kevin's Story

It still breaks my heart. "Good morning, world."

I've read that and whispered it and said it out loud a hundred thousand times, and it still chokes me up. I'm not a religious man. I don't know enough, and I can't just make a conscious decision to believe in things. If I were a religious person, I would hope and pray that Robin gets another chance, another life, in which she could succeed at having as joyous and fulfilled a life as she always yearned for.

I am being sentimental here. Come to think of it, Robin would have loved me being sentimental.

I tried reading more of her notebooks. I couldn't at first. There was still this wild fear of having an unveiled mirror held up to me and I'd end up seeing things I would rather not see. Sometimes, in a light mood, I thought not reading her notebooks was like Robin refusing to read Norman Mailer or his ilk on the topic of women. Why expose yourself to unwanted disdain? Better to avoid the whole issue.

I didn't want to find out that perchance she hated me. I was afraid I would find contempt for me. Worse: I was afraid to find out that I might not have mattered to her at all. Or not much. I wanted her to adore me. I didn't want to have any rivals. Or if I did, I didn't want to know about them. I wanted to be the best, the most loved. All that without even trying. That's probably something she would have understood. She was big on the concept that we all want to be loved and adored.

Oddly enough, it didn't bother me so much when she was ranting and raving at me in person, and, oh, did she ever. I could always dismiss that as female hysteria. However, in the calm atmosphere of the permanence of written words, I was horribly afraid of her opinion. True, I would have loved to read her undiluted love for me. I had a small snippet of that in her last notebook entry. That was a relief and I felt I didn't want to jinx it by reading stuff that would contradict it in this ambivalent world of ours. I'd rather live in a nebulous world of uncertainty and hope than facing some unpalatable judgments from the woman whom I loved most in this world in all my long life.

I know, too, how she suffered from my lack of interest in her published writing. It was the same story there. It was all about my fear. Even if she wrote a story about, say, a thirty-year-old race car driver, so long as he was male, I would translate anything he did or said into "Kevin did" and "Kevin said." I was afraid of what I would find. In her poetry she was luscious and devoted to the beauty of the world. In her prose, she didn't mince words, and she found a lot of unhappiness to not mince words about. At first she would show me things she had published in magazines. In the end she didn't even bother.

I so loved her, even in her frequent fury over the way things worked in the world, but the threat of having my lovely Robin officially hate me for my male entitlement and other proclivities -- in green on white (she almost always used green ink) -- was too much for me.

I used to tell her she was crazy. Thing is, she was crazy. She had no choice but be crazy as a woman in a male-dominated world. I miss her so.

The further she drifts away from me in time, the more her taunts, her fury, her ugly face when she was shrieking insults at me, these all fade. No, she was not pretty then, but I can barely remember. I can only remember her loveliness. And my relief when she wasn't mad at me.

In the end, though, I finally broke down and read it all anyway. Some of it was boring. Some of it I wasn't sure: was it real or a draft for a work of fiction? One could of course argue that nothing going on between our ears is real, that it is all fiction.

Here is a piece like that, written in a separate notebook and without dates. Fiction? Reality? At first I stopped reading after one page, so insecure was I about the whole thing. Three months later I finally read it all. I even typed it up as an exercise in getting a grip -- not sure I succeeded, though.

Article © Beate Sigriddaughter. All rights reserved.
Published on 2020-09-28
Image(s) are public domain.
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