Jacob Lawrence, "Struggle No. 30," 1956
Jacob Lawrence, Struggle...From the History of the American People No. 30. Old America seems to be breaking up and moving Westward...—an English immigrant, 1817 (1956)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

January 14, 2003:

She manipulated me into meeting her in New York City.

"I want to talk about our relationship," she said. Later she admitted she'd been afraid to be in the Big Apple for the first time, alone.

Backstage, New Jersey. You have your bag of Nikons with you, so she manipulates a press pass, which turns out to be the sole press pass given at that show. You're together in the fourth row stage right, and you're allowed to take pictures during the first three songs only.

"That doesn't matter," she said. "You can take as many as you like." You don't really want the pics, but you take them for her. The band seem surprised to find you snapping away at the climax of the set: the famous singer standing screaming into banks of multicolored backlights. In the dressing room Manager Man rightly chews your head off. You take the film from your pockets and drop it angrily at his feet. You're not angry at him.

The band blew the roof off.

She was sleeping with the singer for the opening band. The crew, wearing wet towels, were chasing her around motel rooms uttering romantic nothings. "I'm gonna git me a piece of that ass, little girl."

Backstage, MA. With a college friend, now a grad student at U. Mass. With his red beard and good-egg smile, he's ecstatic, raving about how great the show was. Guitar and Bass stop to chat. Guitar looks at you suspiciously. Everyone remarks how similar his appearance is to yours: you even play the same models of axes.

The day before, three of you driving into the back country, photographing the spectacular New England Fall fire-colors. She's charming: your friend falls for her instantly.

Journal entry: "Greatest moment of desolation, when she said she really is over me. How can she be?"

Backstage, Philadelphia, final show. Acappella encore, "Moon River" in three-part harmony. Gorgeous. Singer wears a black armband because he broke up with his girlfriend. The band's mothers are in the front row.

She says goodbye to the singer for the opening band. It's a long goodbye and afterwards she's tearful.

Walk in the rain to the Econo Lodge, 22nd and Franklin, where you're supposed to meet. At midnight it's your 27th birthday. It's long after dawn before she shows, and when she does, she sleeps in the second bed.

The singer for the opening band did not look pleased to meet me. Afterwards he called her from his motel room. "Come see me right now." That was her last night with him, the night of my birthday, in Philadelphia.

Pickwick Arms Hotel, East 61st Street, New York City. Tour over, she collapses in fatigue and depression, spending evenings trying to track down the singer for the opening band. She takes calls in phone booths, to keep them secret from you. She drags you up and down the island, shopping for shoes, finally buying a pair from a shop next to the hotel. She realizes she doesn't need you there, stops talking to you, stops hiding her distraction. In the end she levels with you about the singer, and like a good sport you help her locate his hotel room. When he turns out to have left town, she asks you to help her reach the airport in Newark. She flies home alone, leaving you there, tearful in the subway on the way back to the hotel.

In your notebook she wrote, after a not-so-flattering passage about her, "(TIME OUT. HI POOPSIE)".

From a journal entry: "Life is for hurting, I suppose."