My writing here reflects a quasi-involvement with initially new habits, friends and philosophy, when the heroine, Meringue, lets go of a more rigorous ecstasy centered around the personality of Jesus Christ. She (and I) jumped down on the first truck to offer a fire escape and took off on a “free” ride. In a brand-new kelly green Mustang, Libby transported us to the nearest chapter of the largest sect or cult of Buddhist believers in America.

Chanting was a convenient scapegoat, to seduce me with something tangible for relief and human support — a retreat from the uncharted waters, more demanding principles, as well as established dogma of Christianity. I picked up on a universal fear among the ladies, that we’d all be losers if we submitted to the Lord, stuck in some waiting room and growing older without an anesthetic. Nonsense! But, I still got down on my knees and prayed to a paper scroll, attributed with mystica1 qualities, about which books are written. With, the chants, it was like trying to keep a Jack-in-the-box down after cranking him up. That is, Jesus was stronger than the other dude. I’d follow the rituals, then talk about Jesus in Buddhist meetings. Such hypocrisy was understandably annoying. I was divided in loyalties and torn by a blatant form of “spiritual” adultery (somewhere, a false idol exists in the imagination.) In the struggle to identify myself with the one true God my ambiguity was left to stew for a year and a half before I got out. On the human level, they offered good sound guidance, but I thank God that this character, Meringue, was able to break off the compromising association. This is a disclaimer to that effect, and a recommendation — “not to do what I have done,” as the old song goes.

— Cheryl Schilling


8/14/77 — Got up at noon. After that the only thing that held any interest for me was having a roast beef dinner. Nevertheless, I went from writing to chanting to errands. The butcher at Fireside Market picked up a huge chunk of rolled sirloin tip and said he could cut it in half, for $2.06 a lb. My finger pointed to the beef on sale for $1.89 a lb. He dismissed the gesture. “Is it a lot better?” I asked. He nodded. When I got home I tried to fasten a belt attachment on the vacuum, before putting groceries away. Jason came in and saw me struggling, brown grocery bags on the table. “You haven’t even got the ice cream in the freezer yet. It’s going to melt all over,” he screeched. Then, because he was in a hurry himself, he charged back out the door to play.

The roast beef turned out perfectly. My mashed potatoes, taken off the stove prematurely, were gravelly. I fixed twice as much salad as we could eat, as usual. Spending an entire day oriented toward a roast beef dinner is, for me, almost surrealistic. It makes me smirk to see myself easing back into a housewifely attitude. I have a hard time accepting consumerism without a provider present. I get more satisfaction out of writing or devising schemes of action when there is no one to witness my enjoyment. Sometimes, however, I go ahead and enjoy my appetites for sex, food or buying baubles, alone, and watch myself do with what I’ve got. This is the ultimate in self-fulfillment.

Some people’s unacceptance of reality causes them to overeat and they get fat. The creative person tends to overeat ideas when he is unaccepting of reality and this causes his head to swell.

My boys are getting happier with me home each day, fixing their food willingly, especially since I stopped yelling. Children of single women with strained nerves are really disadvantaged. Men come and go. Friends come and go. Jobs come and go. And, they become flexible, which is a real plus. Does true joy spring from the flexibility of our lives? Maybe only from optimum flexibility, which guarantees certain constancies in a life of change, adding up to a trust in God.

I was a real dynamo today. I wonder whether all my activity will produce a man. I am going through my life lately as though I have a husband. Little details of an organized household take on new meaning. Like a good and faithful wife, I am waiting for him to return from his long journey of the soul and other places. The assumption fits into my life more easily than other fantasies. There is the strain of loneliness in the meantime, and a more limited choice of men, but overall it minimizes stress; fragmentation is less likely.

It is an assumption I can live with, because it seems real and truly believable to my inner self. Until I met Chas, I was running in pursuit of the fantasy’ s fulfillment, or destiny. He slowed me down and showed me there is a righteous path.

If you open yourself up to more of the unknown than you have developed the trust and resources to handle, you can upset the balance and this is how people blow it.

8/15/77 — Woke up at 6:30 a.m. and began reading Patterns of Inner Change. Later, Jeremy walked in as though nothing were out of the ordinary. “Are you surprised I’m awake first?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said.

A small group of poets took their turns reading their works at the Matrix Theatre. I read my poem, “Travelling at the Speed of Eternal Bliss,” for the first time, to an audience. I wrote it the last time Chas left me. Iris said she had a reaction similar to her reaction to James Joyce, that she was eavesdropping. It also gave her stomach cramps. Felix said he would like to touch me afterwards. I would like to get over this trembling which the energy of my longer poems brings out. I am exposing myself in them. I strive to make the organization of energy transcend intellectual games. The tension mounts when my space has been pushed to greater states of expansion and new conceptual discoveries, at the same time as the necessity arises of putting on the brakes for a slow train in front of me.

There’s a precarious balance between shifting consciousness internally and not ignoring altogether the external reality of your existence. A tug o’ war between the landlord environment and more room for self-discovery. To what extent can you afford to tune out the real demands of that environment? There is always seemingly great risk in tuning out even some of those demands. While tuning out survival mechanisms of contemporary living, I am also called upon to find greater trust in the unknown. if you have opened yourself up to more of the unknown than you have developed the trust and resources to handle, you can upset the balance and this is how people blow it. Either way you look at it, trusting in the future doesn’t mean ignoring it.


8/16/77 — Jeremy and Gary, his friend, came and told me the police wanted to talk to me at Gary’s house, about a neighbor. I got dressed and walked down the block, and Gary’s Dad ushered me into the breakfast nook of their newly remodeled duplex. I was introduced, and sat down in a corner of the second story kitchen, with two detectives, Gary’s Dad, and Jeremy and Gary standing nearby. They asked Jeremy questions, about this middle-aged man who lived in a half-way house on our street.

“Did he give you any money,” they asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“How much?”

“Fifteen cents.”

“What for?”

Jeremy hesitated, then said, “I don’t know.” Then, finally he admitted, the guy wanted to show off his dick. So then the officer said he wanted to speak to Jeremy privately. They left the room. The other detective asked Gary questions. Larry had showed Gary a Playboy, nude pictures and had nude pictures all over his walls.

“What kind of magazines?” asked the officer.

“Creepy magazines,” said Gary. “Mostly men. Oh yeah, there was the Playboy, though. He doesn’t seem to like girls.” There were more questions, repetitions. The officer explained he had to fill out a pile of papers.

“Sure is a paper world,” he said.

“Had the man exposed himself more than once?” he continued to ask. “How many times? What was he wearing on the last occasion?” (It had been more than ten times). After a cup of coffee and a cigarette of Ed Kearney’s, Phil’s Dad, I said I wanted to make a phone call, to my other son. They said I could leave if I wanted. As I stood up, a crazy man walked by on the street below, and did war salutes and drills, by the drainpipes. Ed Kearney said he did this all the time, then he laughed. The policemen seemed amused, but in a different way. The quiet one, a black who wasn’t in charge of questions, said, “That’s a strange dude. Whatever turns you on.”

The scene showed me you can be purely objective and right on about reality, but in your detachment, out of touch, non-empathetic. I can see the difference now. When you lose the ability to respect another’s humanity, you are out of touch. The action machine has taken over, and what feeds it is amusement. I have been Ed Kearney before. I smiled so Ed wouldn’t feel too uncomfortable.

I freaked out afterwards, I think. My states of reality are so total now that it is difficult to know while I am going through something what to call it. I started to get super-concerned about Jeremy having gone back to this Larry’s apartment more than once. Jason was never there. He hasn’t been with Gary and Jeremy when other matters have come up — like stealing. I asked Jason what he would have done. He said, “Walk out.”

I was tempted to say things to Jeremy, like, “Why didn’t you stay away?” and more. I couldn’t figure out a way to talk about it with a certain severity, and after all, it was over. Considering the subject matter, I decided to drop it until later. I did ask Jeremy why he went back so many times. He didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t trust myself to take it any further because what I was understanding was causing anger. I sensed this was dangerous. Worse than eventual silence. I had been really out of it while all of this was going on in the old neighborhood. Perhaps, if I’d given him a bigger allowance?


8/18/77 — Jason said he wanted to sell his comic collection. I jokingly said, “All right, you going to help pay the rent?”

“All right,” he said, in a resigned way. I looked at him in the car.

“You want to do that?” I asked.

“I don’t care,” he said.

“Yes, of course, you want to help keep things all together,” I said. “I’ll tell you what. If I do borrow money from you, I’ll pay you interest.”

“How much?” he said. I decided on $3.00 a month and explained it to him. He wants to sell his comic book collection for $30.00. Today, he wanted $1.00 of that to go to the movies. Although I don’t want him to sell it, if he does, it should have some other value, I thought. Perhaps our situation might turn out to be good training for Jason in understanding how family units work together. It makes me feel good that he was willing to do this. He is such a good little boy, it makes me regret the lack of love there has been in his life in these last few years. Yesterday he fell asleep on the couch with the kitten on his chest, in his bathrobe still. I went over to lift the kitten off, because it was moving. He half-opened his eyes, smiling, and said, “I wanted her here.” “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “I thought you were asleep.” “I’m just half-asleep,” he said. These days where I don’t go anywhere or do very much have been very good for him. I think the kids are inwardly very appreciative of my recent efforts to be a good mother by giving them the right attention, taking time to explain things, responding quickly to questions and events, “just stayin’ awake!” And having good suggestions. I woke up one morning to discuss breakfast plans with Jeremy when we ran out of cereal. My initial feeling was to yell at him to leave me alone, but I didn’t. I suggested donuts, but he said they weren’t filling enough, so we decided to send him to the store for cereal and milk. As I let them impose on me more and more, without resentment, in ways that I had closed off over the last few years, they respond better to my demands. I used to let them have their way often enough, especially under duress or for convenience. The difference is willingness on my part again. Now I try to comprehend situations and react accordingly. Sometimes I’ll give a flat no to requests that fall outside their needs.

Tonight I was chanting in the living room. I had shut the door to the hall, but Jeremy walked through two or three times. The next time he did so, I asked him arbitrarily not to walk through so much when I was chanting. He said “Yeah,” and continued on, when suddenly I was inspired to say, “Jeremy, if you’re going to interrupt me, you can at least give me a kiss.” I put my arms out. He came over and fell into them.

This afternoon at Auntie Mae’s I knocked a hat rack over and almost fell down myself. Arthur hung up the phone quickly, and we both laughed. Then another customer walked in. She was dressing Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson. We all talked awhile. The fabric for Rita’s dress at Carnegie was going to cost $250 a yard. Red silk.


Talked to Donna, a Buddhist leader, on the phone. I enjoyed her a lot. She is very patient and engaging in conversation. She is the first person I’ve talked to in ages who could positively sway to and fro with the workings of the mind. She dealt with my negativity head-on. I didn’t have to position my thoughts to adapt to our relationship, since we didn’t have one. But, in addition, she didn’t force ideas or concepts on me, except by dealing with the exact meaning of my words. Most people are still stuck in their own reality or “bullshit” and though some are enlightened for themselves, they cannot respond for long without taking the machine gun of their minds, and firing shots from thesubconscious gallery of stable data, or “knowledge.” In today’s hip world knowledge is as old hat as yesterday’s fashions. The wisdom of intuition is hip. Razor sharp intuition is “right on.” I must remember to dot my i’s. I told Donna I’m tired of going through human revolution. I want easy money.

Talked to Libby also. I mentioned my axis theory, a perception of the world or globe (of ours), spinning, always perfect, even when some of our favored scenes are out of focus (she called it out of phase). I said that even though you may not be with Mike physically right at this moment, what you are experiencing is still another side of the same thing. A side you wouldn’t get to see if you were with him. She was amazed because she had, while changing tonight, experienced her and Mike as spinning on an axis. So I was amazed.

I told her I wanted to hang up quickly. “I will explain tomorrow when I see you,” I said. ’’You think Chas is trying to call you?” she said. “Yeah,” I said. But then she began to talk some more and we talked another fifteen minutes. The static I heard made our conversation seem long distance and this thought lent to a heightened feeling that he was calling at that moment. I wanted to hang up and find out. By the time we hung up, tones were normal. She is going to dinner at her former husband’s aunt’s house tomorrow. Mike is seeing his estranged wife.

She feels there are no words to describe a relationship with a soulmate. I pointed out that when I met Chas I hardly talked about him, for that reason.

I told Libby when she said Donna was an Aries, that they were supposed to be good leaders. “I want to be a great housewife,” I said. “I know what you mean,” she said. “In fact,” I said. “I’ve been rehearsing at great cost to my finances.” She laughed and said she knew exactly what I meant. I heard the dishwasher running in the background.


8/19/77 — Mr. Sunquist called to say he would be by about one o’clock if I wanted him to put a new black belt on my vacuum. I said I’d be here. When he arrived he tried the belt I’d been struggling with and it was too tight so he got another belt and it fit; then when it was working again, he said he left the other belt on purpose, so I’d have to call him. He asked if my next-door neighbors were still interested in a vacuum. I said perhaps. He went next door and got his foot in the door, left a Kirby he had in his truck, for them to try. If he sells one to them, I get a 10% commission. He came back to my apartment to tell me the sale was pending and tried to get me to take some B’nai B’rith tickets to the Golden Harvest Ball in November and sell them them for 30 cents a ticket, my profit. I told him I had too many things on my mind and needed to raise bigger money. Then, he tried to put the make on me. I got indignant. At the door he said, “I can’t help it. You’re quite a dish. Just a little?” “No,” I said vehemently. “Meanie,” he said, pouting, and left.


8/20/77 — Chester and I discussed schizophrenia. The two-sided message different children get: distinction and praise, or rejection; fear and attraction. So we have the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personalities of a lot of artists and some preachers.


8/22/17 — Talked to Chas and got a temporary job at Billboard magazine. Jason put the pies in the oven and I was in a swoon on the couch. Am starting to fall in love with — something. All my love is shining through again like the sun rising from behind a hill, only I am missing a strong focal point for it. Chas. Or, one could say, “appropriate target.” Jason and Jeremy very happy, fighting very little, laughing a lot. Jason came out tonight to listen to the stereo and he played with the cat, laughing and talking to it like a very little boy.

When they are happy, it makes my whole existence worthwhile. I finally realized that if I put half as much energy into my relationship with them as with a new lover the results would probably be appreciated much more quickly and, as they are still young, their blossoming so easily and readily would be more satisfying. Finally, they deserve it, by virtue of the fact they are children and given to me. My love should surely be directed toward them rather than some stranger, until such time as a responsible man appears who wants to be part of our family. Chas wants this — but when will he be ready? I need him to rivet my attention, however. Otherwise it roams.

Camille called. They are back from their Hawaii vacation. She said they wanted to fly the boys up to San Francisco to be with Gordon’s mother and Jim, now. Could they go Wednesday night? I said yes. Then, she asked if I would drive them down to the beach that night. I said that would be a problem, because I was starting a new job and I didn’t think so, it would be too much for me to handle. She said I didn’t have to come down immediately after work, but could wait and drive later. I explained that I knew my limitations now and I felt a two-hour drive on the freeway was going too far then.

“Well, you’re not looking at the whole picture,” she said. “After all, you will have a few days afterwards to yourself.”

“After looking at the big picture for five years, it almost killed me,” I said. “Now I’m just taking one day at a time.”

“It would be too bad if the boys missed out on this because you can’t bring them Wednesday night,” she said.

“Why don’t you come get them, then?

“We’ve both got busy schedules too, and it would be inconvenient for Gordon.”

“It’s not a matter of my convenience, but my health. I’m the head of this household and the housewife and it takes a lot out of me.”

“You’re not the sole provider, but we won’t go into that.”

“I’m the only one in this house earning money. Anyway, I’m not asking for your sympathy. That’s just the way it is.”

“I guess we just have to call it off then, she said.

“All right,” I said.

There was a long silence. Finally she said in a falsetto, “That’s really too bad. I’m sorry.”

“Good night,” I said.

Afterwards, I wondered, of course, if I was being too stubborn, or if I was indeed standing up for my self respect. Why should I burden myself? On the other hand, was I doing myself out of a good thing, the week alone. Somehow, I thought I would manage through my poverty willingly, if they didn’t want the children to go any worse than that. Why should I turn my children over for a week into the hands of people who operate like that? They called at the last minute and still expected me to accomodate my plans to their whims. It’s almost more than I can bear. She has a beautiful big home, a good husband, she doesn’t have to work. Why is she so demanding and selfish? I don’t understand unrelenting insecurity, except in psychological terms.

The boys went to bed finally at ten o’clock. I gave them backrubs. Then I called Libby. When she answered she said she was having an awful ordeal, and couldn’t talk.

“Do you not want to hang up or hang up?” I asked.

“I want to hang up,” she said. “Do you have any good news?”

“One thing that’s good,” I said. “Chas called this mornmg.”

“What did he have to say?” she asked.

“He told me at first he was on La Cienega and then I found out he was still home.”

“Is he coming?” she asked.

“Oh, he says he is, like always,” I said. “I told him about that line, ‘the right things happen to the happy man,’ and he seemed interested. So, I asked him if he’s happy and he said noooooooooo. I asked him what he needs.”

“What did he say?“ she asked.

“He said he wants a dynamite gig and to have everything together so he has no worries.”

“What everybody wants,” she said.

“Yes. He thought when I said the same thing, that meant a lot of musicians in L.A. — he’s narrow-minded in that respect. So, I said ‘No, everyone everywhere.’ ”

“He’s self-centered, isn’t he?” she said.

“I suppose.”

“I’m really glad he called,” she said.

“Yeah, I think it’ll work out.”

“I’m happy for you.” This made me wince as I knew something terrible had happened between her and Mike. She told me she had bought me a new chanting book, better than the old ones we were using. I said that was very nice of her. I also told her his wife was in L.A. now and wanted to send him a ticket and I advised him. She also thought it would be dishonest, if he wanted to see me. I said if someone makes him feel better, he feels loving and she takes that to mean the relationship is more than it is. “That’s just the way he is.” But, now, he is finding out it causes too many problems to be loving for the moment only, because a lot of people don’t understand a relationship is only what it is, not smaller or greater than that.

“She’s very manipulative, isn’t she?”Libby said.

“I guess so.”

“I have to go,” she said.

“Sure you don ’t want to talk?” I said. “Anything I can do?” She started crying. “Sometimes you have to think a long time and watch patterns develop before you can grasp the meaning.”

“I don’ t want to think anymore,” she wailed.

“Libby,” I said. “There’s a lot worth living for. Believe me, believe me.” She was crying hard. I recognized the piercing disappointment. I didn’t say anything while she cried several minutes. I knew she was ready to hang up and I didn’t know what to do to alleviate her loneliness; then I found myself saying “I love you.”

I love you, too, Meringue,” she said. That made her cry harder. She started to talk and to make it easier I said, “You want to hang up?”

“Yes,” she said. “I can’t talk. Goodnight.”


It made me so aware of the desperate loneliness lurking underneath our roles and mild-mannered happiness. Libby will probably get Mike in the long run, but she must learn through experience that she is willing to live for others besides Mike, before she can truly have him. Right now, she has known tremendous bliss, followed by a sense of loss — because of whatever he recently said or did to her. When she has grown accustomed to their cycles, she may gain sufficient strength to truly believe he is hers and will be hers, if she remains steady. This is where people pass or fail in relationships. You have to know what you’re doing, also. You can hit or miss a little in a good relationship, but when things start getting really off-balance, a woman must take control and get her head together and inside herself, find the answer and the right course for Now . It comes from faith, inspiration, and creative imagining, wrought about by strong and sincere desire. Up to a point of a certain maturity — hard to attain — love relationships play like blind man’s bluff. When Randall hurt me repeatedly, I went all the way down and gave in and gave in, ’til he and I were lost. When Chas hurt me, my spirit fought back. I wasn’t willing to lose him. I called off the relationship as we had known it, without reserving my feelings and then went out and got drunk, picked up a Bel Air millionaire who drove me to his house in a limousine, and was lucky to get back to my car in Malibu the same evening, safe and sound . I continued going out the next week until I found a man who could also make me happy. Chas showed up two weeks later at my place in Topanga in the middle ot the night, also drunk.

Today I fancied this place as a motel, with a neon vacancy sign outside my door. Chas are you going to fill it? This house needs a man. This town needs a man. Many people said he should be here, when I talk about him. I can hardly wait.


8/23/77 — I called Camille back on Tuesday, having thought the situation out a little more. I felt worse since our conversation, and thought perhaps my stubbornness was doing me in — a danger of sabotaging me from the best intentions. I decided to risk my position and leave work two hours early, so it would not be the strain it had seemed at the time.

We got into a long-winded conversation, which turned out to me talking about Chas and how I felt. I took the risk of confiding in her, because after we exchanged initial complaints we seemed to move onto a philosophical plane. I told her she always seemed to oppose whatever any man or I said around her, twisting statements in the oddest way, there was no cohesive point of view, finding fault. She started to tell me it was odd the way my children didn’t respond or even spontaneously kiss me good-bye and hello. Then, she said that since she had been studying speech therapy for years, she could recognize defects in children easily and she said Jeremy had numerous “articulation” problems. I said he has always had a curvaceous sound in his y’s and a few other syllables, which I found enchanting, and pleasing to hear and add to his original style, when he’s free to be himself. She scoffs as though she couldn’t believe someone else would be as stroing in their point of view on the other side. She insisted he needed help, saying I was the mother and so of course it was hard for me to see it objectively.

I could hardly believe her this time. I said that I was too aware to be that subjective. She used an example of Jeremy having to repeat himself three times before Gordon understood him. I felt terrible hearing this, because I knew that Jeremy, being such a gentle soul, was intimidated and that his voice grew faint when an adult was too self-conscious with him. And this was his own father causing him to falter. And, to have his stepmother stand by construing some physical defect out of his shyness appalled me.

She said they were very complicated children, which is all right to say, and I said their world is different from hers and Gordon’s and this was probably somewhat confusing. I finally steered clear of these damaging comments because they are nonproductive and I am really not interested in her point of view. (I had retaliated by asking her if she was doing anything about Jennifer’s lisp. She said the books say not to worry until a child is eight, because it may go away and Jennifer is only seven. Later, I realized she is ashamed of Jennifer’ s very real speech problem and is trying to transfer what she considers an imperfection to my children, so she can feel superior in every way.) I ended by saying that she should relax, that they were all perfect beings and it would be best for her to start seeing them that way. She started to object and I righteously said, “Really, Camille, they’re perfect the way they are.” That cut off any more child-oriented discussion.

She told me how content she is and how two or three days will go by and she won’t even know something, like Elvis Presley’s death. I was astounded that she had never detached herself from the world before to that extent, but just went along with her train of thought. She told me she wanted to celebrate life with Gordon. I added, “You know, all the women I know who are really in love seem to need religion in their lives, in order to keep the good feelings alive.” She said, yes, she felt this was true, she had always believed in God and never did buy agnosticism or atheism when it was fashionable. However, she didn’t see any reason to rock the boat and get involved in some evangelical trip when everything was going all right. She mentioned the church down the street where people spoke in tongues. She insisted on believing the Judaistic way — that Christ was simply another man and not the Son of God.

She mentioned these Christians looked like hippies. I said well, I wore my hair frizzed out because I thought it became me more, and I also liked those textures and clothes because they felt good. I asked if they seemed over-joyed.

“Well, when they’re talking to you they seem elated, but when they think nobody’s looking they don’t look so happy,” she said. She and Gordon walked into the church once already. I told her I’ve been reading a lot of books about people who spoke in tongues and had been born again through Christ, and although I had not personally experienced their trip, I felt Christ was possibly the one and true way. “You can’t let other people’s evangelism turn you off, or you won’t have the experience and might miss something,” I said.

I am afraid Camille knows what she really wants though, and is possibly looking for some black magic like I found with Chas. I watched her go from bad to worse, while they made material gains. Prosperity!

But I felt if a person really wants more than that material world provides, or status, that something will come to a head. I was glad, I said, she thought she was happy.

“I don’t know why you think I want to hurt you. I really want you to be happy, too.” she said.

“I am,” I said. Then, I told her about Chas. She said she was happy about that, to hear that I still had this relationship, because I told them one and a half years ago that I had found the right man. “Yeah, the exterior shell of my life may look like I haven’t made much progress. It isn’t evidenced materially yet, but I have been creating what is yet to happen.” She acknowledged it is extremely difficult to be apart from the man you love, especially. She thinks I should have gone back to New Orleans to be with Chas, but as I said, there are two reasons primarily: 1) I don’t want to break up me and the kids, or his marriage, 2) I think he wants to suffer right now. After we covered all the obstacles, she astutely said, “Even so, I think that’s all bullshit. You should just be with him.” I tended to agree and said that I felt “he would be here soon now and it would work out.”

She said having him for only three weeks again would be like letting a kid go wild in a toy shop. I laughed, but then she didn’t. I felt she didn’t understand I was capable of enjoying her conversation, or maybe it was part of some subterfuge. She advised me about his career etcetera although I wasn’t looking for it, and observed herself that I probably didn’t want her advice. I wondered after we hung up if I had gone too far, discussing my relationship. In the meantime we worked out bringing the children down to them. I would leave early from work. Then I found out that she was planning on taking the boys to the airport, but that Gordon would not be along to put them on the plane. I hit the roof. She claimed this is what Betty wanted. When I asked why Gor don wasn’t going, she didn’t answer the question. Instead, she said, “All right, all right, he’ll be there.”

This conversation took many detours and lasted about one and a half hours. During the afternoon, I chanted, bathed, dressed and we traveled to Santa Monica to deposit $65 in the bank . Still $20 short of covering the rent check I mailed, and no prospect of money until next Monday. Will my check be sent by then? In the evening I prepared for the next day. Washed clothes, scrubbed the big suitcase down, so Betty would not be horrified by dirty baggage; they bathed and I washed their hair. I even ironed. After they were in bed, Libby called and we talked briefly. She felt better and was beginning to understand the nature of her breakdown the night before. She is realizing that it is all inside of her, not what Mike does, but that buried pain is coming out, perhaps because she does have love, and that as she feels, she “has a long way to go.” On the negative side, knowing this seemed like an obstacle. It keeps coming back, but you can always laugh. Love is everlasting. The things you’re stuck with are the most comical, like oneself.