An Affair in Beijing [Final Chapters: Nantucket]

Chapter Fifteen

Swimming at the Country Club

And the Red House in Stockbridge

[We decided to stay an extra day in Stockbridge before driving down to Nantucket, after reconfirming our new reservations at the hotel there], drive outside of town and see the Red House where Hawthorn lived. We crossed an old bridge on the way, a green mill of some score, and a small dam of some sort]

In any case, here I was, in Stockbridge, with my new Red Lion’s Inn, t-shirt, and on our way to the swimming hole; or country club, which was a fine looking establishment, and she again was proud to take me in, as she never ceased to surprise me.

Once at the Country Club, I got my swimming suite on in the locker room, men, much older than I were laying about naked, walking around with their loose football nuts hanging halfway to the floor; not much reserve here I thought. When I got to the Jacuzzi, I jumped in, waiting for Sandy to join me; there were several guys in it, one woman and I. When Sandy came out with her two-piece swimming suite on, fit to kill, the men starred wildly, and I did to. She jumped in the water with us, and we enjoyed the rubbing up against each other, and then we went to the pool, she again paraded a little, and I was proud of her, but not sure if she needed to be so naked.

The Red House

After swimming, we sat in the pool area, in a pause, Sandy looked away, and up the pool where others were swimming, walking alongside the pool, and I’m sure caught the sharply rich voices of the people talking, more than their appearance.

“Would you like to go visit the Red House now?” Asked Sandy

“Oh yes, by all means,” I suggested to her suggestion with a short laugh “the sooner the better. Been waiting for that.”

The afternoon was to prove to be one of the significant ones I had on this trip; for a few hours I really enjoyed the outskirts of Stockbridge: a lot of my time was unpleasantness (and more to come), trying to pacify her, this was to the contrary.

Once I got to the Red House, where Hawthorn lived in the 1850s, I had to walk the same path he did, see the same lake he would have seen day after day: in my eyes he was one of the greatest writers this world has produced. I looked in those many windows the house hand; all three sections of the house and could picture Hawthorne sitting in that leather chair by the fireplace writing his stories, I seemed to fall into a daydream, a vision of sorts.

I think the Red House had been restored, a fire once took place there, leaving only its foundation, but it was rebuilt to how it used to be. The fireplace remained also. And so here I walked through the cold thick snow, along the fence, looking into the windows, and walking its paths along side the house in back of the house. It was most invigorating, and the image of he house, the path and all would last a ling time in my head.

The Red House of Stockbridge

[One Winter’s Morn]

Within the Forest large and deep

To Hawthorn’s house I walked

One winter’s morn

And touched upon the soil my feet

Where he once walked this snowy ground

Then resting upon his wooden fence

Where surely he strolled

To and fro

I listened to the story he wrote:

“The House of the Seven Gables”

Within this forest fresh with snow

Gazing upon a lake near-by

The Red House

Stands all alone

To tell his tales gone-by

Oh Yes! He walks this lane I stand

Talks to Melville of His plans

And chats with

Emerson who lives near-by

Of dreams, wishes, and winter’s sky

And as I turn to walk away

I see him resting by the fireplace…

IN the Red House of


Written while visiting the Red House, in 1997. I paced the same path the paced when he lived there. As he once wrote: “This path is he only remembrance of me that will remain.” 1864. I wrote the poem 33,000-feet flying from New York City to St. Paul, Minnesota, and sent it back to my friend in Stockbridge, and it was mounted, and 50-copies sighed, and sold in Stockbridge’s special stores for my friend. This poem was also published in the book “Sirens,” 2004.

Chapter Sixteen


[And the long ride to Cap Cod]

Cap Cod

We were now standing on the ground of Nantucket Island, it was not the Mediterranean Sea, but it was special. We had driven 750-miles down the state to take a boat ride from Cape Cod to this small colonial island, where the oldest house on top of a hill dated to the late 1600s, I would lean against its fence in a day or so, and bust it, embarrassing; but that was yet to happen.

On the way dawn to Cap Cod, Sandy talked without stopping, about her boy, her ex-husband, and how she felt the boy was in need of her, trouble would befall him for sure if she was not present, and should it, she’d be 750-miles away. It was menacing to say the least, and I was becoming exhausted with this ongoing paranoia, suspicion, terror of a fatal catastrophe imminent to befall the son (it was too stressful for me to endure); this obsessive fixation of doom, this fatalistic view of her son’s impending destiny, was all placed, or based, on her presence, if–if even if she could not be with him, she should be by, or nearby him. So went the conversations for hours on end, twelve to be exact.


I pick up where I left off; we were now standing on Nantucket ground, there were a number of lighthouses on this island, but the first one I say was too far in the distance to be recognizable, the one I got to like and could see when we came into the pier, was Brandt Point, a attractive little lighthouse looking out from the island, to Cap Cod from Brant Point. For a moment I stood on the ground of this island, suspecting (thinking) this trip to Nantucket might not turn out as well as I had predicted: as it was a horrid ongoing conversation for hours on end driving the down state, and I was physically drained; although it might turn out I thought, now that I was actually standing on the island, but it would not be like the time we spent in Beijing, matter-of-fact, that spell was broken, it would never return, but what was to be in store for us? Whatever it was, it had to be less, and I had to take advantage of enjoying the presence of being on Nantucket for Nantucket itself, not hoping, expecting, or wishing for Sandy to make it all right for me to have a good time, or for her to be my main reason for being here, she wasn’t, she was for being in Stockbridge, I agree, but not here; once I cleared that up in my head, I was fine. I even told Sandy, if she needed time alone, she could just take off in her own direction, and we could meet at the port later on. This would take place on the third day, second night, of our stay on Nantucket: she’d leave for wherever, and so would I, and to be honest, it was a breath of fresh air.

I was hoping the first night, hoping I say–for I had already endured the most unloving of her characteristics–hoping her moods would change; but it was inevitable, it had to get worse before it got better I figured, but perhaps a few moments of excitement might be in store for us yet. Henceforward, we went to a few bookstores, extraordinary, and at night, the first night she still held the power to arouse me, but I was quickly getting limp, I had lost my stamina, yet I had my climax, and I’d try again to no avail: and I think that irritated her somewhat, yet she did not claim it did; plus, we had lost something: perhaps I was her wish, that is to say, she was replacing me with her husband, since she could not have him anymore. Thus, I was a replica (rebound)) she was rebounding)), and such folks like me caught in the middle of another’s rebounding from another relationship not yet healed, usually get thrown in the wastebasket sooner or later.

The Hotel room was great, the fireplace nice, the canopy over the bed, regal, and everything you wanted was there, it was all lovely, she looked lovely, a carnival o
f affection surrounded us, yet we were not as affectionate as our environment called for. And I grabbed the moment, for I knew they would not last, and would be far and in-between. We played our sexual games, this time with less lust, and more reservation, we were not exquisite in any measure.

The second day, we searched out the city again, went to Brandt Point, and I had to take a leak on the corner of the lighthouse, I could no longer hold myself, hold it in. I knew this in Beijing, didn’t know why I couldn’t, but a few times I found myself running to the bathroom, and pissed allover my pants, and was not about to do it again. It was of course my Multiple Sclerosis [MS] so the doctors had told me this was one of my symptoms. She made light of it, as she normally would, and the day went well. We had made love but once in the Hotel, and I was becoming embarrassed of my performance of that one time, I tried it again, straining, but I could not perform. She knew something was wrong, but not exactly what.

[Third day] The boat was to arrive at 1:30 PM, to take us back, over to Cape Cod, from the island, and Sandy asked for us to separate, I think she was getting in her moods again, and didn’t want to blanket me with her manic-depressive behavior for once. And although I frowned on this, I grabbed the opportunity to just have a nice morning, and forenoon, by myself.


When I had left Stockbridge, I knew the relationship was mush, but I held only disappointment for the way things turned out, she was trying to get her life together, and we always had Beijing; I had learned, as I had learned many times before, people are not always as they seem. She would call me for a few months thereafter, talk to me about her new boyfriend she had met at the pool hall, the bar she went to, and I told her I didn’t care to be her counselor; a friend I didn’t mind, but it could never be, she was too demanding, too much into her own affairs, to be able to care about mine, and so I kindly asked her not to call.