I’m listening to Chris Connelly’s new album this morning on vinyl. Listening to Chris Connelly has always made me think of you, despite the years and distance. This new album, in particular, brings thoughts of you flooding to the forefront of my mind. Pentland Firth Howl is a song cycle about Connelly’s childhood in Scotland, so it’s obvious…
We met back in high school at a writer’s conference. I guess I would say that I was just coming into my own as an official “man slut” (or so they say), and when I heard your lilting accent from across the designated meeting place, I knew you had to be mine.
You had driven down from Portland for this conference; who knows why? You’d lived in the States for a few years, so you were used to useless American bastards like me. But still, you talked to me, and we established quite a rapport.
I asked for your name and you gave it freely. It’s so classically Scottish that I nearly choked on the terrible buffet spread. I’m sure I was smitten. Or maybe it’s just the hazy memory.
We talked about James Joyce and Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen and Edith Wharton and everything we ever wanted to do and everything we were going to do and how utterly fabulous we must be for just being there, that very day. It was glorious. And it was oh-so brief.
By the end of the conference, we were holding hands. You gave me your address, and I gave you mine. And we did exchange letters for a year or so. But we never met again.
I never figured out why. I guess some distances are never meant to be crossed. I don’t belong in Scotland. And maybe you don’t belong in America.
But I still remember that day.