I first met Her on a hayride, out at my Grandad’s Farm. It was put on by the Catholic Church in Tomball…I was only even a member of the little “Youth Group” to please Grandad…She sat at the back, with me and a few others. I don’t remember any of them. I was, perhaps,15…16; She, a year younger. She held herself apart, aloof;not really trying to be with the others. I sensed a kindred spirit, in this, I guess…because I gravitated to Her. We ended up walking behind the hay trailer, as the sun went down…that white brilliance of the sky at twiglight, early Autumn. Pine trees along one side of the road, we walked along…side by side, then hand in hand. As we neared the house, where the hayride would end, and silly “nice” (church approved) games would ensue, I leaned over and kissed Her…my first time…and She responded. The embrace, the kiss has haunted me since. I don’t remember the games, or even what we talked about on our walk. All that I remember is the feeling…that I had found Her, quite by accident.
I didn’t see Her for years…in fact, I don’t recall the next time. It is all jumbled and melted together in my memory. Images and Feelings and Songs. She had become the stepsister to my best friend, who had moved to Tomball a few years before. I think that’s how we reconnected. At ML’s house, by Spring Creek, I was there, met her Dad(Evil!), ate fried chicken. While waiting for dinner,we listened to music in ML’s room, we had to keep the door open; JS, her dad, didn’t trust a closed door. Something about the Devil…
I remember at dinner, her Dad responded to my comment that she ate like a bird, with “actually, birds eat more than their body weight, every day…” .
All this , and more was somewhat surreal, and not just for me. We went down to the highway, after dinner…where 149 crossed Spring Creek. They were preparing to widen the bridge, and there were great piles of red dirt, all down into the creek hollow…we wandered around, talking about everything, the three of us. This is when She and I determined that we had met, and kissed, before. The Song that was in my head was “Sunset Grill”, by Don Henly….the first time I remember having a song playing in my mind…and the first of many songs, or snatches of song, that invoke Her.
I didn’t see her for a long while, till I moved to Tomball….and then , only rarely. She called me, and said she was at the church (across town), was playing hooky from the classes, etc…and could I come meet her. I walked the 2 miles down the tracks to the Church. She was lurking around the swings and things…We hung out and talked, and even held hands. I wanted a kiss, but she ‘wasn’t in the mood’. I remember it was in Fall of the year, probably November, as the leaves were all gone. The clouds, again at twilight, were dark, Stratus, glowering. We talked about hopping a freight….about how She was trapped, between her insane Dad, and her insane Mom….I told her I was ready, but I guess she wasn’t. It would not be the last time that this abortive escape scenario would play out. Time came, her dad arrived, and I faded into the brush along the tracks for the long walk home.
The next couple of years, I was around her often. Band, the Busrides, the driving around. The parties. We talked for hours on the phone; but she wouldn’t be as close as I wanted. I was “like a brother”, and her best friend. . (we talked about sex, a lot. All her escapades, trysts and affairs…she encouraged phone-sex, of all things, quite often…it had always been a strange relationship)
Her Dad had one of his crazy periods, and she moved back with her Mom, and to another school district. She would call me, and sneak out her window…I would come, every time…stealing my dad’s jeep…and off we’d go. Just driving…and drinking, but not really to excess…once, again, in the Fall, we went to Galveston. 100 miles. Crossing over the ship channel bridge, windows down, Bruce Hornsby and the Range were on the radio…”every little kiss”…she looked at me, and asked if we could run away together. I said yes, but after tonight. This sparked a change in her…a distancing…and I knew I had said the wrong thing. We finally got to Stewart beach, and got out, walked. It was cold and windy…salt spray stinging..her hair whipping around. She walked off, saying she wanted to be alone. I could see her, in the yellow light of the sodium lamps, staring out to sea…and my heart just about broke. When she came back, I could see that she was crying…said she wanted to get away so badly..crazy parents, and all.
Later on she called me again, said she wanted to drive around, so I went to get her. I didn’t realize that she was so drunk till later…she wheedled me into driving past band practice…to look for “Joel”, the tuba guy who had dumped her…and brought on the almost suicidal binge she was on. Screwdrivers. About a minute later, she puked all over me and the jeep. I kept driving, holding her head out the window, trying to get her home (her mom was out of town). We arrived, and I carried her in, put her on her bed, and tried to keep her from asphyxiating…puke, everywhere. She was passed out, by now.
I had to do something. I got her undressed, save for her panties…and I must insist, I was the picture of a gentleman; I did not “take advantage”…I somehow got her into the shower, and cleaned up…and back to her bed. Everything was calm, now…the immediate danger was over…although I watched her closely. I rummaged around and found the number to her best friend…who rushed over, and helped me with her and with the cleaning.
She asked later if I had “copped a feel” and I said, truthfully, that no, that would have been unethical (I am a somewhat rare bird)…but that I got a really good look. She seemed to indicate that this was my reward for chivalry, and pecked me on the cheek.
Soon after, her mom was gone, again…and CH and me were over there, swimming, and drinking her mom’s bud. Ch was “invited” into the house…and I was not. I was already buzzed…and that’s the day I started smoking. CH had Marlborough lites in his ancient station wagon. I chugged beers and smoked till I was sick…and made a fool of myself, when they were “done”. I said inopportune and hurtful things and CH got me out of there.
Soon after,a week?... I got a call, from a pay phone by her mom’s. She had run away, and was on the side of the road….band bag full of shoes, but no underwear. I, of course, went to rescue her.It was, by now, my Function. We went to ground at CH’s apartment, ML was there (his mom and JS had divorced), and we tried to figger out what to do. I wanted to collect her and go…go find a ship to stow away on…anything. ML’s mom called, said that JS had ‘called the dogs’. Turned out that JS’s brother was police chief! They were after me and her, and I was to be charged with statutory rape…for which there is no real defense….and Kidnapping. To ML’s mom’s we went, the three of us.It was safe haven. We spent most of the night there, while cops circled, and ML’s mom talked to JS on the phone. I got a reprieve, I could go…but I was not to contact her, ever.(this incident got me on the radar of the cops, for Tomball, Magnolia, Montgomery and Northern Harris Counties. When I helped Zig’s girlfriend, later, it just added to it. I was , and remain, a Pariah)
I quit school, in april of my senior year… too much bullshit…the rules, the boredom, the punitive dhalls, and iss.(I never went to dhall, and ended my HS career with a record 165 hours due of dhall, as well as 3 weeks due of iss, if I hoped to graduate.) She was back living with her dad…but the school knew…everyone seemed to know. I had my first girlfriend, P, by this time. We got an apartment, with CR(yet another waif in need of rescue), and settled into a kind of groove. The first time I did acid, P didn’t know…and I spent a horny, crazy night next to her. Next day, I skipped work, as I was still tripping, a little. P went on into her job…and She called me. I told her about the acid, and we talked about many things. Sex , as was usual, came up I asserted that it wasn’t fair, her fucking everything that moved, except me…who had always been there for her. By this time , she was engaged to an army nut, who had daddy’s approval. She said that if I came over, she’d fellate me…but I couldn’t have anything else, because her fiancée would smell it.(I intuited that he made an “inspection” whenever he picked her up). Of course, I went right over. She wanted a bag of weed for this service; and I promised her one.(I betrayed her, in that, I guess….as it was dirt weed). I was too nervous to consummate, and settled for holding Her nakedness close to me for a while. P never knew about this (sorry,P).
Soon after, She was gone. Married to the army dude, living on the other side of Houston….no one would tell me how to contact her. I lost track, until a few years later…in the middle of my Wild Years…I remember crossing the , then brand new beltway 8 bridge…the high bridge… over the ship channel, in the fog…me and Sam, my now long deceased Road Buddy…somehow, I had found her phone number, in Deer Park. We showed up after midnight, drunk, just in from Lousyanna…and I was bitter, drunk and mean.
That’s all I remember of that, our last encounter…and in the years since, I have thought of Her, often…wondering where in the wide world She was…no one would tell me…and, on occasion, I would pause…when the moon was right, or the dawn, or the sunset…the smell of the air…and remember….longing…grasping at memories, wanting to return, and try again…
I found her on Facebook…last year...and took my wife and kids to Dallas to meet her. She’s living in London, now….when she’s not traveling the world with her job…
This was a hard meeting, for me. I love my wife…but there will always be that something….that feeling of something missed, let slip…I can’t listen to music, unless I’m drunk…because so many songs remind me of Her. Almost all the girls I’ve bedded and fell in love with have been Her surrogates. The pattern of my love affairs follows that unrequitedness, that quixotic tilting, that was set in stone with Her. I see that certain quality of light in the Autumn sky, wind in the dry grass on a hillside, and I think of Her…almost unconsciously, now…20 years later.
I am haunted by an undefined longing, and shapes in the fog of my memory….for my life is filled with mists…so much drink and drugs and Wildness…and how much of this was to suppress this longing?
The songs I wrote, although they were ‘dedicated’ to P, or Margie or Janet, were to Her…the mental interlocutor I habitually carry around in my mind, discussing the world…has been Her….or her avatar…
The only memories that are absolutely clear…unfogged…are those with Her…I remember those times as if they were this morning.
I am writing this for my own reasons…as a sort of exorcism. There is no malice in my intentions, only catharsis. For nigh on 25 years She has been a part of my unconscious mind…and now that I have found her…I must let Her go, at last. This terrible Love, that I have borne for what seems like centuries, I must lay down. Believe me, that I wish Her nothing but happiness….and always have…even when I hated Her for not choosing me…
When the pain I felt was so overwhelming that I thought that I must die….after 25 years, I can finally speak and write and think…and not fall out of the world.