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While the attic was making me stronger I watched as another girl, Eliza; they’d sent up there for punishment, became unhinged to a severe degree. From her and from that creepy attic, I learned a valuable key to surviving in this world. Survival is at its core a patient and strategic practice. It does not come by chance, not for me anyway, but it does come with some control.
The attic became a chapter in my life, an episode that changed me.
I dutifully, I read all the books assigned to my studies in Latin and Greek. When I asked for ”Plato’s Symposium”, no one was the wiser much less cared about my interests, and so it was Plato’s playwright, Aristophanes, who gave me the answers to my homosexual identity. I was so grateful I wept. Finally, someone was speaking to me in a language that made sense, even if he wrote the words fourteen hundred years ago.
Reading Aristophanes’ thoughts when I was sixteen, I remember thinking how everything inside me was already in a maddening search for everything else, duality included. It irritated me that no one had bothered to tell me that homosexuality was thousands of years old and there’d been plenty of women like me who’d lived before.
And yes, I confess. The entirety of my momentous self-discovery happened through the pages of a book I was reading while trapped in an attic with Eliza threatening periodically to hang herself.
For that reason and more, Plato’s revelations of our human sexual duality had a sense queer dramatic tension I felt drawn into, but most poignantly what I understood better that day than the day before, was that intricate to duality —ergo: intertwined in myself —was the compelling motivator for my wholeness: Human Connection.
I will find the answers to this in my lifetime. I see it so clearly that if I had the talent to sketch with a pencil, I could hand over a hand drawing of my would-be lover’s face in less than twenty minutes. Naturally, I’ve timed myself.
But on the days when ennui overtakes me, I physically ache for the parts of myself that are missing.
She has to be real. It would be far too cruel a trick to play on myself to close my eyes and feel us wanting each other this way.
I have the urge to put my ink pen down and instead search my desk drawer for a pencil. How can I miss what I don’t know, but feel so near? if I worked at drawing for twenty minutes, I’m sure I could reveal her face.
More soon when Anne goes on a journey in 1824 to Paris where more puzzle pieces fell into place, and Anne moves closer to understanding the complicated navigations of seduction on the path to finding love.