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David Maraniss has a must-read in Vanity Fair — and what looks to be a must read book, “Barack Obama: The Story” later this month — on the early post-grad life of Barack Obama and two of his ex-girlfriends in New York.One of those ex-girlfriends — Genevieve Cook — sparked the first deep romantic interest of Obama’s young life, Maraniss writes. And, oh, she kept a journal of her experiences in the relationship.
What it reveals: They had a prosaic relationship. From Jan. 22, 1984:
What a startling person Barack is—so strange to voice intimations of my own perceptions—have them heard, responded to so on the sleeve. A sadness, in a way, that we are both so questioning that original bliss is dissipated—but feels really good not to be faltering behind some façade—to not feel that doubt must be silenced and transmuted into distance.
No. 2: Barack Obama wore “comfy T-shirts depicting buxom women.” From Feb. 19 of that same year:
Today, for the first time, Barack sat on the edge of the bed—dressed—blue jeans and luscious ladies on his chest [a comfy T-shirt depicting buxom women], the end of the front section of the Sunday Times in his hand, looking out the window, and the quality of light reflected from his eyes, windows of the soul, heart, and mind, was so clear, so unmasked, his eyes narrower than he usually holds them looking out the window, usually too aware of me.
No, she’s not talking about Business Insider here. She’s talking about Business International, where Obama first worked “uninspired.” From April 3:
He talked quite a lot about discontent in a quiet sort of way—balancing the tendency to be always the observer, how to effect change, wanting to get past his antipathy to working at B.I.
Now, this is probably the most bizarre passage in the journal. Some background: That summer, Genevieve would challenge the “virtuous daily jogger” Barack Obama to a sprint, because she thought she would win.
On Sunday Barack and I raced, and I won. I ran so fast my body transformed itself onto another plane. We ran, he started off behind me and I just said to myself stay ahead, stay ahead and my body became a flat thin box w/ my arms and legs coming each precisely from a corner. And I didn’t know how long I could keep it up, but I was going to try—my whole sight concentrated on the lamp post when I felt him slow and yell you beat me, at first I thought he was giving up, but then I realised he’d meant the lamp post on the left and I’d really won! The feel of the race was exhilarating, but I didn’t feel very victorious. Barack couldn’t really believe it and continued to feel a bit unsettled by it all weekend, I think.
Finally, on May 23, 1985, the end of the relationship:
Barack leaving my life—at least as far as being lovers goes. In the same way that the relationship was founded on calculated boundaries and carefully, rationally considered developments, it seems to be ending along coolly considered lines. … Obviously I was not the person that brought infatuation. (That lithe, bubbly, strong black lady is waiting somewhere!)
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