It started with a night running barefoot on the university golf course and hugging a tree for the first time, convinced I could feel its life force swelling from the roots, then ended in the early morning at my new best friend Mike’s apartment, drinking Bloody Mary’s out of Mason jars and listening to Miles Davis.
We were a gang of hippy wanna-be misfits in Guatemalan pants and rastafarian caps, skipping our way through the night on the carousel of psychedelia, spinning colors and shapes, uncontrolled laughter, ducking into shadows from imaginary cops.
I used a $200 book scholarship to buy my text books, then returned them for cash, for spending money earmarked for whatever recreational drugs we could get our hands on. I was a confused hippy, with leanings toward Punk, which manifest itself in long hair and side panels shaved clean, lending a Cherokee look.
Ray had an apartment on College Avenue and threw a party, then fell into some sugar cubes from a couple neighbor girls.
Bunk resembled Jerry Garcia: one of the only college students I knew with a full beard, a Philosophy major who actually walked the campus barefoot, and could be found squatting on the pavement engaging squirrels. How are you today, little guy?
It was Bunk’s idea to stop and hold the tree. He guided us with shamanistic tones, like a narrator choreographing the scene: Just touch it…don’t you feel how it responds…how it thrives…what it says to you?
Yes, we did. We closed our eyes and we held the tree and it was all right, man. The grass was perfectly trimmed and wet, and luscious as we laughed and ran through it, and felt the cold thrill and clap on our soles, and thought we were running so fast, we might be flying, our feet were hugging the contours of the earth and knew just where to go, man.
But we had trouble finding our shoes, gave up, and left them on the course.
The neighbor girls were a Laurel and Hardy of body types: the one, tall and thin, the other, neither. Their apartment was a mish-mash of things hanging from the ceiling, dead plants, a life-size statue of a butler with a sinister smirk.
It was late night and we were all in the throes of it, and I needed to use their bathroom. It was then I saw a drawing taped on the mirror above the sink with a face that was wrong, distorted, and a caption scrawled angrily: “Then I Looked Into The Mirror And Saw…?!”
It was a kind of bad rendition of The Scream, made worse by the thought they would put something like that in their bathroom as a dark surprise…but then we started noticing other pieces of art in the hallway, featuring the girls in nude shots and unusual poses, together. They noticed us noticing them, asked what we thought, and then we had to go. Run away!
Mike’s apartment was set down off an alley, with a raised bed, Indian tapestry, and candles around the perimeter. He had boxes of bootleg tapes and CDs by Herbie Mann, the Allman Brothers, Sketches of Spain, by Miles Davis. It was a calm, restorative way to end the night. The morning sprinklers kicked on to irrigate the trees as we walked to his place, and it’s then we started a lifelong friendship, almost 25 years ago.
It’s good to tell people you love that you love them when you can. Just keep away from mirrors and remember that cars are real, they can kill you.
From: william pearse [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 11:40 PM
Subject: Re: Pinklightsabre’s Blog
Hey you two – greetings again. My, the Lombardi family must be getting close to welcoming its new inhabitant. Can’t wait to hear about that!
We are having the time of our lives here in Tuscany. No, I don’t believe there’s any software to download with this, but unfortunately I haven’t figured out an easy way yet to tell you how to view the posts. I was hoping to send you a link periodically, because I’m updating the blog with short posts every other day or so, recounting the details of the trip.
This place here is beyond imagination, in terms of how lavish the villa is. It’s a 200 year old Tuscan villa on an estate with 800 olive trees. Of course, they bottle their own olive oil here, and we’ve purchased some to bring back to you all.
The house itself is shared on one side by the owner, and on the other side, it’s got 4 bedrooms upstairs, and a lot of lounging areas down below – and outside, where we eat all our meals. There’s a maid who comes every morning to clear the dishes, set the table for breakfast, clean the rooms, etc. (she takes out the diapers, too). And, there’s a cook who comes when requested – also a lady who just comes to iron. She did some of my shirts yesterday.
Olivier is a real man of the world, who makes Ramin look like a country bumpkin. He does all the arrangements and orders for us when we’re out eating. The sea is just perfect – the water is so salty you can float on it without having to tread water; you just lean your head back.
We’re debating our return trip to Germany now, and looking at Florence for a night, then somewhere in the mountains of Switzerland for a second night, before we return to Besigheim Tuesday night. We’re then going to France Sept. 4 – 14, and for October, we’re thinking about Sevilla in Andalusia, Spain. We spent a night in Como (where George Clooney lives) on the way down, and made it through our first hotel experience as a family, in Europe. No one died.
Let me know how things are back home, and I miss you and your ladies.
On Aug 4, 2009, at 3:40 PM, Mike wrote:
Bill – Do we need to download WordPress software to view?