What didn’t happen between kayetta and me

Three dreams last night:

One: I'm sitting on a hillside above the lake – it seems to be Big Deep Lake. I want to go swimming but when I look own to the dock I see that there are people there. I realize that I don't have my pants on. That's okay with me except that I'm sure the people on the dock would disapprove. I plan to go back to the cabin to get some clothes I can wear.

Two: The setting is unclear. Perhaps it's a fair. Many people are around. I have used some expressions or words from another language in talking with someone. It seems like it might be an Aztec language. Perhaps Nahuatl. A native speaker comes by and pushes me aside. He pushes me gently but I end up sitting on the ground. He demonstrates how the words and sentences should be spoken. He realizes he has been somewhat rude to me, and tries to make it up to me. He says “you're not stupid.” His suggestion is that it's not because of stupidity that I can't speak that language correctly, but simply that I am not a native speaker.

Three: I'm walking through a long hallway. They used to have some very excellent paintings in it. I liked them very much. They've been replaced, and now the walls are hung with a large number of Impressionist paintings. They're nice, and I like them too. I tell the decorator that he has done a good job.

I have always wanted to be able to speak another language well enough to sound like a native. The nearest I came to this was when I was in Greece, and studied popular, modern (Δημοτική) Greek. I came to a point where I was able to use the language moderately well, and carry on coherent conversations with people about everyday matters. However I have no natural aptitude for learning languages and never became truly proficient in any foreign tongue. I remember one of my deep humiliation was when I was on a trip through Italy on my motor scooter.

It is late – the sun is setting. I find myself in a small town. I need a place to sleep and I begin asking around. A small group of people who are curious about what such an unlikely foreigner might be doing in their town at this hour have gathered around me. I know no Italian, and nobody in that group seems to know either English or Greek.

Somebody asks me if I know French. I say I don't but that if someone knows Spanish I could speak it a little bit. My language skills are decidedly unimpressive to these people. Someone makes a disparaging remark to the effect of “some international traveler this is. . .”. A kind family takes me and puts me up for the night and feeds me breakfast in the morning. They actually seem interested in talking with me and we make do with gestures and my ability to guess a good deal of what they were saying because of the similarity between Italian and Spanish. I am grateful for their respect as well as for their hospitality. I try not to think about the humiliation I felt earlier.

The slightest faux pas followed by a raised eyebrow can be remembered for life. In my first dream I clearly want to be able to swim naked, and be with people who are also naked. But clothes are required.

I recall the beach at Hand Lake:

A grandson of Joe and Winnie Smith, a couple that are friends with my parents, is down on the beach. He is perhaps four or five years old. He decides to take off all of his clothes and play in the sand and water naked. The other children accept this with no special show of alarm, embarrassment, or even interest. I think it's very nice. I see Joe, his grandfather, coming down to the beach. Someone has reported his grandson. He takes him by the hand and sternly leads him back to the house admonishing him for his lack of appropriateness. He reminds me of the old grandfather in Peter and the Wolf bringing Peter back into the house and scolding him. It makes me feel sad.

Our experiences are clothed in language. In the second dream I am trying to express myself in a more primitive language – a language of which I have no mastery. I am put down (literally) by someone who is proficient in that language. This is doubly painful. It was like my experience in the Italian village, in that it was a humiliating. In addition though, I really did want to know reality through that language.

Paintings are also a kind of language. The hallways in my third dream were like the hallways in Robin Run.

I am visiting my mother at Robin Run. I find it to be a sterile and inhospitable environment. When the television is on at night I feel the need to escape. I say that I want to walk a little bit. I go out and walk up and down all of the halls on all three floors. They are all lined with prints of paintings. By and large the paintings are well-known. Most of them are Impressionist paintings. The painters when they did these works, were trying to say something new. They were trying to create new reality. But the paintings along the walls have been domesticated. They have been co-opted into something that is no longer dangerous or exciting. They are only pretty. Yet something of their old glory lingers and I enjoy walking up and down the halls. At least it's better than listening to the television in the apartment.

I remember when I was at Big Big Lake I once walked into Kayetta's room while she was changing clothes. I am very embarrassed but she does not seem to be disturbed at all.

She turns around and smiles at me. I think she was happy to be seen partially naked. I remembered years before that when we were swimming in the same pool together. It must've been in Pekin Illinois. I am pulling up my swim trunks which are a bit too big for me, and I pull them out away from my stomach. My penis can be seen if one looks in from the top. I noticed that she's standing near me and she looks down to see my penis. I find it rather exciting.

I remember baby-sitting with Huck (maybe 8) and Ginny (about 10).

I am sitting on Huck's bed, reading them a story. Huck is playing with his penis. Ginni tells him to stop. When the story is done, I tuck Huck in and am walking down the hallway past Ginni's room. She has left her door open so that I can see her naked from behind. Some years later I heard that Huck had killed himself playing Russian Roulette. I never did know what that was about.

I remember an incident that occurred many years later when I was living with Bill in Miami: I have to walk through his bed-room to get to mine.

I have come home from somewhere, and enter his room. He is standing with his back to me. He is naked. He turns and smiles at me. I apologize and go on into my room. He just smiles. Does not seem to mind at all.

How long it it has taken me to understand that, as a rule, people like being walked in on. Kayetta was older than I was. I thought that boys had to be bigger and older than girls for there to be any romance, or sexual interest that was mutual. In fact I think she was somewhat infatuated with me throughout my childhood and early adulthood. And I found her very attractive, but assumed that she was too old to have an interest in me. I remember once seeing her with a girlfriend of hers at a summer camp.

I am small for my age -- am maybe thirteen years old -- and physically immature. They both have well-developed breasts which are clearly visible through their T-shirts. I think they are very beautiful. I am surprised that Kayetta actually seems interested in talking with me.

Later I learned that she felt very attached to my mother, an attachment that was not entirely welcomed by my mother. As a young adult I visited her one day. She had married a black man. In those days that was unthinkable. She was also a breaker of templates. I liked that, but nothing that was interesting could have emerged between Kayetta and me as we grew older. Something about our mental templates would not allow such possibilities to come to fruition.  When we were little, the templates do not have so much importance. We skated in the basement, we played jacks, we played board games, we played Dr. in a playhouse made with blankets thrown over a card table, and we played show and tell in the woods.

She wants to see me pee. I show her and ask to see her do it. She doesn't want to show me that. But she shows me how she looks. She turns around so that I can see all of her. I tell her that she looks the same in the front and the back. She seems annoyed with me. But we like showing ourselves in the woods.

Our reality, and our desires were not at that point so thoroughly molded by the language that we would gradually learn. 

Whatever my inadequacies, I want to teach a new way of being. It's something I am only beginning to understand myself. I begin to live it and to put it into language, but  I am intercepted, incarcerated and isolated.



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