Dear Marlene,

If you or anybody else wanted an explanation, here it is.

I woud like to say I am angry with these men because they pulled power trips, because they treated me like a four-year-old with below-average mental capacity, because they turned the painful pieces of my history into cause for ego tripping and manipulation.

Though in the last year I have involved myself with men who were guilty of each of the above, I have to admit that these are merely excuses. The truth is I am angry with these men because I did not love any of them and did not have enough to give any of them.

Yes, it's also true that I felt guilty, just because I had so little to give. It's true that I am stingy with my attention, my laughter, with everything good about me. It's just as true that I have no business feeling guilty about any of this, nor did these men have any business making guilt-inducing, puppy-dog eyes at me.

About J., the one who did not think he knew everything and who was curteous enough to ask what I wanted on my waffles, it's more complicated. And this is where I am really having trouble, Marlene. About J.:

1. He could hold up his end of a conversation without foundering like R. and without patronizing me like M. and N. used to do, before I stopped talking to them.

2. Freckles. There. I said it. I have a freckle thing. Now shut the hell up.

3. Did not throw me out like he should have when I played "Crazy" (the Patsy Cline one, not the Britney Spears one) three times on the jukebox, in a row.

4. I already said about the waffles.

5. Besides that he was a good talker, he knew when not to talk. We could sit like a beautiful blue-haired couple (which, thanks to Manic Panic, we were for a while) already through with talking and sex (though neither was out of the question just yet). It was like this within a couple days of dating.

Conclusion: I hit the jackpot. And after a month I decide to pick up and flee. I really don't get it either, Marlene.

Here is one hypothesis: as a kid, I thought Say Anything was the perfect movie. No one would expect this of tiny, black ice-hearted Charlotte, but I still do. But even when I was 13 and full with longing, I thought I would like to see the same kind of movie with the same perfect couple being ripped apart and staying ripped apart for the rest of the film.

I figured at the time that that was Reality, and you see so little of that in teen films. In retrospect I think was just a sick asolescent fantasy, like surviving the apocalypse or one's parents or becoming an assassin. I was kind of a fucked-up kid.

I spent most of today on a bus, down the coast, and I was going to write you about that instead of my teen angst bullshit, which, to paraphrase a great film, has a body count. I love buses. As a true white, middle-class, insular American I was raised to be wary of them and to prefer cars, but I am even more negligent of my car than I am of most of my boyfriends, so fuck that. The bus crowd was your usual assortment of drowsy old people and 15-year-old, strung-out runaways and icky leering men. I wanted to write about them but instead I am drinking tequila on a patio on the beach. And now that it's hit me, I can barely hold a pen. So I'll save it for my return.

Night night.