Obama's Old Fling Shares Love Letters In New Book
The president was shacking up in the 80s
Author David Maraniss may not have found any birth certificates for his new book Barack Obama: The Story but he may have found something better, an ex-girlfriend.
The book will not be published until later this month, but Vanity Fair got their hands on it and shared some of the more intimate moments of the book, including love letters that he wrote to his first "real" girlfriend, Genevieve Cook.
He met Cook in New York City when he was living in Manhattan, going to Columbia University, holding down a job at Chanticleer Press, a company that made coffee-table books. After spending some months dating, Obama eventually moved in with Cook. She kept a journal the entire time. Not because she felt like he was going to be the President someday, but because she just kept a journal. Now, sharing journal for use in a book? Yes, she has to be doing that because he's the President.
Some of the journal entries paint a nice picture of Obama (he cooked her dinner on their first date), others paint him as a lost soul searching for an identity (he used to carry a copy of Invisible Man on him). Others simply show him as a dude she couldn't live with. Yes, the President was shacking up. Take these two entries for instance:
Monday, December 10, 1984
After a week of Barack and I adjusting to each others constant presence and his displacement, I expect that this week will make it hard to be alone again when he has gone [to Hawaii for Christmas]. We got very irritated w/ each other Fri. night and Saturday, talked about it.
Thursday, December 13, 1984
Induced a flare-up yesterday between Barack and me over a suddenly felt irritation at doing the breakfast dishes. Then I was less than honest when I broached my irritation w/ Barack in the vein of, I’m going to tell you I’m irritated, but only because I don’t want to be, and expected him to just let it roll off his back ... living w/ someone, you inevitably turn your private frustrations out on that person, because that kind of projection is such a basic and pervasively influencing ego defense mechanism. And too, as one is so unaware of the other person’s living reality, I had not taken into account Barack’s feeling of being displaced and in the way. In the end he said I know it’s irritating to have me here, and I wanted to say and mean, no of course it isn’t, but I couldn’t. That has been the biggest surprise, that rather than enjoying his extended presence like a very long weekend, as I think I thought I would, and reveling in the comfort of reliably having someone to eat dinner with, and talk to and go to sleep with, I’ve been …resentful I suppose — no — as he said, impatient and domineering How beneath the surface things are after all.
The journal entries also revealed how distant Obama could be, even when in a relationship. After a while, Cook, who is Australian, took it as her simply not being the one for him.
Thursday, May 23, 1985
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. I read back over the past year in my journals, and see and feel several themes in it all … how from the beginning what I have been most concerned with has been my sense of Barack’s withholding the kind of emotional involvement I was seeking. I guess I hoped time would change things and he’d let go and “fall in love” with me. Now, at this point, I’m left wondering if Barack’s reserve, etc. is not just the time in his life, but, after all, emotional scarring that will make it difficult for him to get involved even after he’s sorted his life through with age and experience.
Hard to say, as obviously I was not the person that brought infatuation. (That lithe, bubbly, strong black lady is waiting somewhere!)
From that point, we all know how the story ends.