Sleeping with Sontag

A dream

Hi Joseph

Sorry to have missed Mass this morning. I was up very late. In a last minute e-mail the pagans next door said they wanted to meet at 10:30 this morning. In spite of these excellent excuses, I am filled with appropriate guilt, and beg your forgiveness. While I am confessing to my priest I should also add that at about 4 am I dreamed that I was sleeping with Susan Sontag. It was a wonderful dream, so do not forgive me yet because I am not yet sorry.

Happy New Year

Following her death, Susan Sontag was in Tucson for a stop on a tour of retrospective lectures, to put a long career of writing and social activism in context. Her flight on to California was not until the following day, and I was both surprised and honored that she accepted my offer to spend the night at my house and have sex with me.

She made a puzzling reference to her excessive weight as we were getting ready for bed, puzzling because she was really very slim. When I pointed that out, she clarified her remark as referring to future weight which she had not yet acquired. It was then that I noticed that she was only about 35 years old, much younger than her age (71) last week when she succumbed to cancer. Appearing in public post mortem apparently gives us the choice of any of the ages we have visited in our lives, and it would only stand to reason that Susan would pick a season of robust libido and possibly more heterosexual orientation for our improbable soirèe.

As might be expected I was more an oversolicitous fan than a proper lover. I told her that I had read a couple of her books on photography. I told her that I thought her piece in the New Yorker after 9/11 was the only one of all the contributors represented that really hit the nail on the head. She had heard all this before.

The next morning I walked her to the edge of a grassy mall across which her entourage and her flight were waiting. "Let's say goodbye here," she said.

Filled with a flood of affection and admiration for her exemplary liberalism and goodness, I told her that I loved her. "I can see that," she said. "And I love you too." And so she departed, leaving me with the wonderful gift of forever being one of the few guys ever to sleep with Susan Sontag. I suddenly realized that she had seen my feelings in my face. My squinty, wrinkled, 65 year old face, a face that stopped having proper facial expressions some years ago. The only explanation for this, if not for the whole erotic affair, must be that I was also 35 - a prerogative, apparently, of sleeping as well as dead people.