Nov 24, 2021

Dear Ella,

Sorry for the hasty departure and for burdening you with the trunk! The last couple of days have been a mind-blowing experience. Though I’m sad and bewildered—and anxious to start seeing a good therapist—I’m feeling more “together” than I have for several months. This mind shift started within twenty-four hours of breaking up with Jack. I wondered how I could feel so devastated—but stronger at the same time. Strange, isn’t it? I wish I could talk to you at length the way we’ve always done in our marathons. In case you don’t already know it, you’re a very compassionate listener—a beautiful quality, I think.

I know you’re having a lot of problems now as well. I hope things get better for you. I’m sorry (for my sake!) I’m not going to be there to share in your life. I don’t imagine I’ll ever live in southern California again.

Right now, everything seems so precarious, not knowing what the future will bring—living with my mother for a time, working on my leather project, seeing a therapist, and doing volunteer work to help structure my time—those are the things I’ll be doing in the near future, I guess.

The trip back to Berkeley was as enjoyable as it could be under the circumstances. Arlen and I spent the night in San Luis Obispo in a fleabag hotel that cost $8.50. I was horrified. Didn’t it cost only $4 or $5 when you and I went to Santa Barbara? (At least this hotel didn’t catch on fire!) The next day we drove up Highway 1 and spent several hours in Carmel, window-shopping and having Swiss pastry in a little European-type coffee shop.

I wish you had been there. I think it would have done you good to hear Arlen talk about her love life. Her relationship with Harry (who’s only thirty) is turning into a beautiful one. With all her problems and all his, they are having a relationship that is really nurturing for both of them. With plump, easy-going Harry, Arlen is finally getting over her handsome, debonair ex-husband, who made her miserable during fifteen (?) years of marriage. She finds Harry both “dear” and “fascinating,” and she thinks she wants to marry him. Wow! Does that make me feel better…just knowing that such a thing is possible.

Well, the talk-machine has run down. It’s evening now, and I should make some dinner. It makes me sad to think that from now on I’ll be writing you. Take care and try to demand the best of people and life. It’s your due.