Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Disruption In Time And Space, Friends And Place

Advisory:  this letter and some of my recollections based on on it contain slightly mature content.

College work, summer work, and other matters jumped ahead of Lady Darley's correspondence in the priority line. So by the time I wrote Lady Darley again, I was in my sophomore year at Mizzou. By the time she replied, I was starting the winter semester. This time, she had plenty to say, in two handwritten loose-leaf single-spaced stream-of-consciousness pages dated January 7th, 1992 and tagged with a notepad slip to contain a few closing words she couldn't squeeze onto them.
Dear Chris,

I know that it took you about six months to actually reply to my letter -- but I thought I'd reply reasonably soon anyway.
Christmas -- well, yes -- I like it really because I just love being around relations and little children. I know that sounds really bad but it's just a fact. I guess my sister is real [bleep] at the moment -- more than usual. She's got the attitude which actually appears to say I'm it and you're [bleep]. If she has to be like that then I don't see why she has to be at our house. She's spending a lot of time with her boyfriend [Redacted]. If my mum and dad are honest then they're not actually very keen -- but as my sister says really frequently, it's her that has to go out with him. I guess I just with that she had some taste. He's twenty in a couple of weeks and is a trained pilot -- but has yet to get a job. It sounds a bit suspect to me that he's supposed to have all these qualifications and yet he can't even get a job in the local supermarket. But I suppose my sister is bound to stick up for him really -- as she reckons they're really serious. As you can probably tell, I don't really think she's that great. How old is your little brother -- I seem to remember something about you saying he was around my age.
At that time, he was around Lady Darley's age, and chugging his way through high school.
I was back at school yesterday -- it's really boring and I suppose in a way I'm looking forward to leaving in May.
Here's where the letter pauses in time. She adds a side note: "This is later in the day," before picking up and delving into some candid reflections.
It's really true. I guess I'm waiting for a new challenge -- as my school is a secure environment for me now as I've been there for seven years now. All of my friends go there, and a vast amount of everyone I know lives in and around my area.

I guess I could say that I'm actually quite worried about a friend of mine at school. I may have told you about her -- her name is [Molly]. She was really smart and hard working in our G.C.S.E., that was up to sixteen. Now, she's far from hard working and has received several warnings from school. I must admit that I think everyone treats it like a joke -- people feel at ease to know that they'll never be at the bottom of class as [Molly] will be there. That may be reassuring for us, but I don't think [Molly] is aware of the fact that she'll never be really happy when she realizes she's wasted 2 years. We used to be quite close before she got to know a girl called [Jackie]. Both girls have close relationships with their boyfriends and they both like to boast of how many time they did 'it' last night. [Molly] thinks it's fun to talk in graphics detail but really I have no desire to know. I only end up wondering whether he'd feel as open when he spoke to us all if he knew that [Molly] was yarning us of how difficult it was doing it standing up. I know that if the roles were reversed, I'd be pretty cheesed off.

I may actually be going on holiday with two friends from school -- we wanted to trot off to the Florida Keys and rent an apartment, but my dad said it was rather a large no-no. The next thing we chose was Cleveland, Ohio, where [Abby's] relations live. But I guess there isn't actually too much to see. At the moment we are actually looking into spending three weeks in a beach resort, Lido di Jesolo. We, well that's my mum and Dad and me -- I thought it was, it was excellent. [Abby] and I should have a really time time looking around the sights and things. We can go windsurfing, riding on pedales, windskiing and sunbathing. I keep trying to tell my mum and dad that I won't be going to any bars because I'm actually so good. If they believe that, they'll believe anything. I'm always so good -- the fact that I had one too many several times over Christmas had nothing to with it. (he!!)
I'm not sure if it was that last Christmas, but I remember being at my Aunt Shrirley's house and gulping down a few shots of Broog's Strawberry Liqueur. I didn't think it tasted like alcohol; it went down more like Ocean Spray. Either something in that booze was bad, or I contracted food poisoning somewhere else, but I ended up praying to the porcelain goddess that night on several occasions. And even after I had sacrificed all, the dry heaves followed me all the way from Kansas City to St. Louis, where a spare super suppository known as Compazine ended the ritual.
I've had my exams about four weeks ago. They went is really the way to explain it. I passed every one of the ones I took, although they were actually not as good as I'd hoped. I've been told it's a good starting point to build upon. But the idea of the fact that I have to spend several hours and I mean several studying over some books that don't even interest me. But I guess that's just life. Don't you just hate spending a lot of time on exams. I suppose it would actually be a lot better if I liked my A-levels. English, I do, but as far as Sociology goes -- it was really boring. Well, there are better things.
My life is studying and keeping my grades up. I have a powerful motivator: if I keep above a 3.75 GPA, my Curator's Scholarship -- that tuition free-ride -- fully renews for another year. Less than that, and I get partial money. But I want it all.
I can't really say that I'm looking forward to going to college -- but then I'm going to explain something. In a way, I am as I'm going on to something new, studying for three years on something that I do actually love. I've applied to several college nearish to us -- Derby College of HIgher Education, Sheffield Polytechnic, North Cheshire College Warrington, and Lancashire Polytechnic. I would like to go to Derby or Sheffield as they're far enough away -- but close enough to come home occasionally. I'm doing a combined degree in all places of media and film studies combined with journalism and photography. I personally believe that this will actually give me a better opportunity to become employed as a writer. What do you actually have planned for your life? I hope to criticize some people in journalism, gain some money and then move to the good 'ol U.S. for awhile to see if it will all work out. I really actually like the Kansas City area as, well I felt as though I kind of gelled -- maybe nobody else thought so but it wouldn't be the first time that I was on a completely different wavelength to everybody else.
In 1992, I was months away from starting my journalism studies. I didn't know if it was exactly the right fit for your humble servant, but given the opportunity to study at one of the world's great journalism schools -- and on the university's dime -- I'd be fool to pass up the opportunity. I'd worry about the rightness later.

Lady Darley pauses again and picks up two days later. The sidebar reads "09 January," but she's not quite back on that wavelength she probably desires. And she's a little desperate.
Well it's the next day. I've been really busy as I'm trying to get all my notes in check for when I have to start revising. I have three pieces of coursework and a project on the go -- so I'm bit strapped as you can imagine.

Now for [your Raytown friend] -- well actually for me it's quite a touchy subject. You have probably gathered through my letter that I am actually quite a shy person and only really open up to them once I know them. But I'm only tell you this as it will explain what I'm trying to tell you. I probably told you this many times, but I felt totally different when I met Kate. We appeared to be very similar in what we liked and disliked except she was far outgoing than me. When I arrived I thought we got on really well, we spent several times talking to one another. But obviously I got a different impression of the relationship we had obviously as she had written to me for ages -- well I'd say it was ten months. My mother just tells me to let go of the friendship we once shared and just remember my good holiday. But I don't think she understand, as I get older I look back on the holiday and think oh yes, it was nice, but she never spoke to me again.

I've been racking my brain about whether I must have done something to offend her -- and the only thing I can think of is that once she asked me to comment on all of her boyfriends. She know all of my opinions on that, which I won't go into right now, but I guess she despises it for me now. As I read through this page it sounds like a load of old sentimental claptrap. But I hope you will understand me when I say you kind of jell with someone, you kind of regret abandoning it.

I haven't actually dared to ring her because I could get so agitated if she was totally rude to me. But could you do me a really big favour? I would really appreciate it. I know you can't get her to write -- but I just would like you to write or ring her and ask her why. I have come to realize now that she won't write for some reason, but I would love to know why. Whatever it is, I would like you to ring her and find out why -- ringing would be better if you don't mind, then she can't not replay. I know you haven't spoken to her for such a long time, and I appreciate it may actually be difficult -- but you can't appreciate how I would be pleased to know why. I know that [she] will probably cringe at my desperation, but it's just a fact of life. I'll give you her address and phone number at the end of this. I would appreciate it so much as I have no other way to find out.
Again, remember that I have only one side of the conversation. And I also have my fading memory. I can't remember if I wrote my Raytown friend or tried to call her. But I can also remember I never heard back from her, either way.
How is your writing going at the moment, or don't you have that much time to devote to it now that you have to go to college full time! I know that I would love to spend all of my time writing, but I guess I would feel a lack of personal involvement with people. I need to be around people, I guess.
I didn't have that need, but every so often, when I wasn't burned out from school work or other papers, I would plunge back into the world of the unfinished novel I had created, writing and wallowing in it. I had no deadlines to finish it. I found myself content to just wallow in what was finished and add a little bit to it at a time. That's less like writing a book and more like escapism.
I'm trying to get into my photography when I actually have some spare time. I guess I just feel the need to have an artistic skill. I do appreciate art, ballet, etc., but I'm not really good at anything -- but rather average at photography.
I got an international roommate for my sophomore year -- Ting Chay from Singapore. I got on with him much better than Andy, seeing as we were both journalism students, both studyholics and both broadcast news junkies. He was getting a free ride from the Singapore Broadcast Corporation, and a job was waiting for him after college. That's a great deal all the way around. Chay kept mostly to himself, although I loved meeting his friends when they occasionally ventured into the dorm. Every so often I'd get a call from a girl asking for "Tingy."
About this boy that you're sharing rooms with? I personally would believe that the exchange student sharing a room with them, if you know what I mean, would be really interesting. Tingy sounds like quite a fun typed guy, someone that you can really have fun with. I don't really have any justification to not like as he appears to be really studious -- like you! I don't really believe that you could actually get a better roommate. Don't you actually get any choice in who shares your room with you? I bet it can be really a little disturbing if you don't get on with your roommate, would they move you? What's Chay studying? You don't really explain that much!
I probably didn't. Or Lady Darley forgot. But getting Chay was my choice since I rolled the dice and desired to opportunity to have an international roommate. I figured that might be a better fit for your humble servant, although I didn't know why. My Queen Mother was not so sure, as was the Royal Father. What bothered them a little more was that they never spotted Chay during those times they picked me up to go back home to St. Louis for a weekend, or elsewhere.

"He's like The Phantom," my mother once said.

I only just saw Silence of the Lambs on video and I believe it was actually an amazing film. It appears to me to be a sad world when there are people around in the world like that. He [Hannibal?] really was once kind of ousted man. Robin Hood [Prince of Thieves] had a lot of hype in my area as it's almost a regional film. The only thing that disappointed us was the fact that Kevin Costner never entered the woods around Nottingham -- but it was filmed in Hertfordshire, Southern England. It's such a pity that we couldn't have met -- as we've been to each other's part of the world but never met? What do you reckon to Nottingham? I think it's great.
Months earlier, I had been to Lady Darley's beautiful country with my family, to London and Scotland and Nottingham. But I didn't get the chance to meet her. If I had only written to her like I should've, we could have set something up.
Please write me as I'm beginning to believe that I'm losing touch with all the people I know in America. [Your Raytown friend] has taken offence over something I said even though I don't know why.

I will be eternally grateful to you if you can write to [her], or ring preferably and let me know as soon as possible.

Take Care of Yourself,
[Lady Darley]
She forgot to include the address she said she would give me for that friend she hadn't heard from, the one who had -- according to Lady Darley's previous letter -- apparently forgot who I was.

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