I’m a magnet for crazy experiences. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m a creative type. Maybe God fills our lives with crazy, fucked up (in my case) experiences so we have things to write about, paint about, sing about, play music about, dance about, and whatever else we all do. But still, that doesn’t make it any easier for us. Or maybe it does a little. Maybe that’s why I’m doing this.
I did try to do things “the normal way” for a while. About fifteen years actually, and it was going really well for me until all the shit went down. The “my wife is gay” shit. I guess we all try to be “normal” at some point. I was married, had kids, was going to church every Sunday, had a good high-paying corporate job. I still have most of those things and I guess I should be grateful. Just not so much the wife anymore.
Well, I guess it’s time to start actually telling this story. I had a lot of trouble getting girls all through school, up until college. Probably because I’ve always had self esteem issues and it was always hard for me to approach anyone I had any sort of romantic feelings for. There were crushes, and there was the one girl I know of who had a crush on me. I crumpled up her love letter and pretended I didn’t ever get it. In retrospect I should’ve given her a chance. I mean what did I have to lose?
Anyway, there was the girl I dated in high school. She was a lot of fun, and she was a cheerleader and sang and danced in the musical. The sister of the starting quarterback on our high school football team the year before (he’d graduated). Very pretty. Miss popular for the class one grade lower than me. And I was a total dork and a nerd. Go figure. The only reason I had the courage to ask her out was everyone else dated her too so I figured she’d probably say yes. And she did. And we made out a lot. But we never actually had sex. And we broke up just before senior prom when she cheated on me, so I ended up having to go with a friend. Story of my life.
So I didn’t end up getting laid until my second semester in my freshman year of college. She was another beautiful one, with long blonde hair I used to love to brush and comb for her (but maybe it was really for me). I’ve always had a thing for hair. And like the other girl, she’d been with everyone, only this time it wasn’t just dating and making out she was doing.
I met her one night when I went over to a friend’s dorm room to play Magic the Gathering. You read that right. Magic the Gathering got me laid for the first time (indirectly). Did I mention I’m a big dork and a nerd? My story’s full of Magic the Gathering, Star Wars, Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, you name it. So there was this pretty girl sitting there with long, blonde hair and a sunburnt left arm. And I remember that was my door into the conversation.
“What happened to your arm? Looks painful.”
She smiled slyly. “Oh, I woke up and decided to drive to Ocean City today and my arm was hanging out the window and got burnt pretty bad.”
“You just up and drove to Ocean City?” I was imagining beatnik road trips to California, something I ended up doing a few years later.
I grinned. “Jack Kerouac style.”
Her smile widened. “I love Jack Kerouac.”
“What’s your name?”
“Like Janis Joplin.”
She smiled and nodded. “What’s yours?”
“Like Jerry Garcia.”
I grinned. “I love the Grateful Dead.”
“Me too. What’s your major, Jerry?”
“I’m an English major.”
“So am I.” At this point I vaguely remembered her. She’d come to my room once to drop off a CD for my roommate and I told her he wasn’t there. I remembered her face. It was a pretty face that reminded me of hippies in the sixties for some reason.
“Do you want to come to my room and smoke some weed?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said. And I grabbed my Magic cards in one hand and her hand in the other and we left my Magic-playing friends and headed to my dorm room. It didn’t dawn on me until later that one of them had probably invited her there and I’d just ran off with her. I don’t think they talked to me much after that if I remember correctly.
So we ended up in my dorm room sitting on the floor smoking a joint. So many times there was a circle of people sitting in there smoking, but this time there were just two of us. My roommates had disappeared for a few days as they did often.
So while we got high, our minds filling with the warm haze of marijuana and my dorm filling with the sweet stink (which was probably always there residually), we talked about literature, poetry, music, and whatever else.
“Have you ever read James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’?” she asked as she puffed.
I shook my head. “My friend Buddha’s read it a few times. I’ve read ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,’ but haven’t read ‘Ulysses’ yet.”
“It’s a great book. I’m taking a class on Joyce. I’m a senior. What year are you?”
“Freshman,” I said.
She smiled a sly grin. “That’s cool.”
“I’ve actually been writing more lately.” I puffed in a big lungful and coughed a little, then handed her the joint. “I’ve been working on this crazy stream of consciousness type story that follows one character for a while, then a piano falls on his head or something, and it follows somebody else until it randomly stops following her and follows an insect or something and sort of keeps going on like that. Experimenting with perspective and character. I think it’s a comedy but I haven’t decided yet.”
She chuckled. “Sounds cool. Sounds surrealist.”
I smiled. “Yeah. I’m definitely a surrealist.” I thought about all the LSD I’d been doing with my roommates and occasionally with my friend Nick. That’ll be another story, though.
We finished the joint. “Hey,” she said. “I’m over 21. But since you aren’t, I know a bar where they don’t card and they won’t care if I buy you drinks. It’s on the other side of town. Wanna go?”
I shrugged. “Sure.”
We stopped by her dorm for a second and she got one of many bottles of Southern Comfort out of the fridge. She chugged a little and offered me some so I did the same. I pretended I didn’t see the naked couple resting in the bed next to us.
Then we left the dorm building and got into her pickup truck, talking more about poetry and literature on our way. “This is Bunny,” she said.
“Huh?” I asked as I got into the passenger seat of the truck. “Bunny?” I was a little buzzed and stoned but I think even if I’d been completely sober, I’d have had no idea what the fuck she was talking about.
“My truck,” she said. “His name is Bunny. I always name my cars. When the transmission jumps, it kind of feels like a bunny hopping.”
“Oh okay.” I started trying to think of a good name for my used Chevy sedan.
She drove for a while at an alarmingly fast speed until we reached the other side of town, a neighborhood full of strip joints and parking lots it seemed. And lots of overhead highway bridges with huge concrete columns. And there was this tiny bar tucked in the middle of everything.
We got out of the truck after she parked and she vomited all over a street sign. “Sorry,” she said to me with a grin. “I’ve been drinking all day.”
“All day?” I asked. “I thought you drove to Ocean City and back.”
“I did,” she said. “I started drinking before I left.”
She threw up on the sign a few more times and then we went into the bar.
For the next hour or so, she ordered me drinks and I got shit-faced and she got even more shit-faced then she already was. It got to that point where we were both so trashed we just said whatever the hell we felt like saying. “So how many women have you been with?”
“Seventeen,” I lied, putting totally unnecessary pressure on myself for later.
“I’ve been with about thirty men, including your roommate.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I know.”
“You ever been with an older woman?”
“Yeah,” I lied again. “A few.” I’d never even had an older girlfriend.
We talked and drank a little while longer. Then we went back to the dorms. She drove fast as ever, but a little more erratically.
When we got back, we decided to go to my place since her roommate was there. And then it happened. I won’t get into details since this isn’t one of those kinds of stories, but I will say it was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t the mind-blowing, life-altering experience I thought it would be (that would come later). May have been because we were both trashed out of our minds.
We ended up becoming boyfriend and girlfriend for several months at least, but it wasn’t quite a year. And it was the kind of relationship I wish I could have now. We had a lot of fun together, but there was no pressure. We just made each other happy and that was it.
I’m too old for that sort of thing now, though. Life’s shortening up and I guess it’s time for me to start seeing if I can find some sort of soulmate or something before it’s too late. I’ve had my fun. I tried the family thing. I think it’s time to hold out for something real. Even if it takes twenty years.
But I’m probably not ready for that shit anyway. I mean I just found out my wife is gay a few months ago. I need to stop reeling before I even think about that sort of stupidity.