A Life of Letters

She Showed Me How to Fly, But I Could Never Fly as High as She

Posted in 1999, Elaine, Loves by southpawcom on January 11, 2010

She loved Dunhills, Bass Ale, Irma Thomas, and Chipper Jones.

She was my Wild Bird. In the spring and summer of 1996, she was my favorite waste of time.

Her name was Elaine, and she came to Marquette, Michigan, by way of Jacksonville, Florida, by way of Kensington, England. She was there for the summer art festival season with her much-older photographer/companion, Edward. I met her at 10 O’Clock Charlies on Third Street in Marquette one besotted night, while I was a-tomcattin’ with my brother, Michael, and trying to reclaim my sanity after my mom died the previous December and my live-in girlfriend, Mandy, dumped me in January. She was 23, with an athletic physique softened with just the slightest baby fat, long dark brown hair, and smoldering hazel eyes. She shared her last name with a famous English seafarer, purportedly a pirate, but when asked about it, she would demur, “Not a pirate — a privateer, luv.”

We had our spring and our summer, and it was at times torrid. We drank, and rambled about, and smoked a lot of dope, but at the end of the summer, I had to let her fly away.

After I finished grad school in January 1999, I reached out to her again. We would spend hours on the phone, getting drunk together and reciting Rilke and Shakespeare to each other, and planning to meet again.

We never did.

PS: Moe was a rose. Elaine placed Moe’s petals in the envelope for me.

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