Frehel Diaries: The Fine Art of Loss
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One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

The last thing I remember is taking the third shot, my spirits high. I wake up in the hotel bed with no idea how I have gotten here. Did I walk up the stairs? I don't remember walking up the stairs and certainly if I was that drunken they would have posed a serious difficulty. I think all this with my eyes barely open.

As the Sauvage gathers his stuff, he sees my eyes open. He pats my head and tells me he'll be back-he tells me to rest. I'm not sure there is anything else I could have done. Later, I'm not sure how much later, I wake and decide to do inventory. My pocketbook and my wallet are present, but my notebook-my Bible-is not. Neither is my favorite cardigan. I collapse back on the bed. I wake up again and the Sauvage is there with his daughter. I tell him I can't find my cardigan or my notebook. He says he'll look into it while I rest. He asks if I want to come to the beach. I tell him no, and he jokingly asks me if I would like some more vodka.

And if I had had the strength I might have strangled him in front of his daughter. As it was I merely gave him a hungover hot look of death and collapsed on the bed. He hear his laughter echoing in the stairwell as I fall back asleep.

By 5 in the afternoon, I had recovered enough to take a shower and drink some water. I felt much better and got dressed so that when the Sauvage returned from the beach with my cardigan, he was surprised to find not a hungover mess reeking of sweaty vodka from every pore, but a sweet smelling showered together girlfriend.

Still he couldn't find my notebook. He searched the hotel room. He seemed more upset about its loss than I was. After all, what's a notebook compared to a boyfriend and a few hours of my life?

In the car on the way to dinner, the Sauvage jokingly recounted the parts of the evening I couldn't remember. Apparently we both did 6 shots of vodka...each. I don't remember those other 3 shots, but then I have no reason to doubt it. He laughs as he describes me falling over repeatedly on the way to the car. Of course, rather than walking WITH me in my drunken state, he continued to walk in front of me. He tells me how he would walk, notice I was gone, and turn back to find me on the ground. Why he didn't carry me after the first time or at the very least take my arm, I can't ask. Furthermore, I'm not thrilled that he finds it so amusing. While I'm relieved he doesn't hold this behavior against me, I'm angry that he delights in finding it so amusing. The moron is lucky I didn't die on him.

Of course, part of my anger is misdirected rage because even though I'm angry at him for not taking care of me when I was drunken, I'm more angry at myself for letting myself get this drunken. After all ,I knew he couldn't be relied on to take care of me. It's not like he had been doing a bang up job until this moment. And if I had been more responsible I wouldn't have had to worry about any of this.

But as my mother would say, there is no point making a fuss about what has already happened. You must focus on what you can change, and so I make a silent vow for the rest of the trip to be sober.

The Sauvage is enjoying laughing and teasing me about getting drunken too much to see how upset I am. I look out at the window and realize in a few more days, all this will be lost too.

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