Day 224

Pasadena, CA

My plans to leave fail. Everyone is scattered to the winds this morning, and I can’t just disappear. I wait anxiously. I know it will take me a long time to ride to Santa Monica to meet Jeanette, and the day seems to wear on and on without anyone around. I feel awkward thinking about telling my cousins I’m leaving so suddenly. It gets far too late in the afternoon. I’m not going to make it to Santa Monica in time, no way. At last Dan comes home. I sheepishly explain my problem and he saves me. He says I can have their truck for the night and bring it back in the morning. I’m amazed and relieved. As it is, I get caught in rush hour traffic and am late, but Jeanette and Rohanna have waited for me. They both look edibly good.

At dinner I catch up with Rohanna a bit. I surprise her when she remembers the little rubber alien I gave her last Christmas. I happen to have some more in my pocket, and I give her another one. Ha. We all talk about our recent experiences. Rohanna is shy about sounding too new age, but I can understand where she’s coming from. We all agree that self-development is an illusion, just another way human minds cope with change.

We go to a bowling alley. Right away I see an overly sexy, busty brunette eating me up with her eyes. That doesn’t happen so often. I name her Curvy in my head. It turns out she’s with a guy in our little group. He drools over her as she oozes sexuality. Jeanette holds them both in contempt. Especially when Curvy throws her arms around me after I throw a strike. She acts like a total bimbo, but we’re all surprised by the number of pins she manages to topple. When she complains about not being able to smoke, Jeanette mischeviously directs her into a ratty little closet behind a plank of plywood leaned up on the wall. She goes for it, and emerges after a minute happy as a clam. Nothing phases her. Jeanette makes a comment involving a Duraflame log that goes over my head. Curvy finishes the game oblivious of Jeanette’s scathing demeanor toward her. Afterwards I get more of the story. Curvy met our bowling partner on a three-day coke binge, during which she tried to incinerate her ex-boyfriend’s car by throwing a burning Duraflame log through the windshield. She was caught and thrown in jail. Just out, everyone is amazed to see their friend hanging out with her again.

We tour Santa Monica, then stop at Yankee Doodle’s to play some pool. It’s getting late and the place is almost empty. I spend the last of my money on beers for us. While we play, Rohanna makes friends with some black girls at the next table. They decide to teach her how to dance, but they don’t know Rohanna. She can move and wriggle to the beat in ways that give every guy in the place a hard-on, including one of the black girl’s boyfriends. His mouth is hanging open as he watches. Rohanna doesn’t even look at him, she’s just having fun with her new girlfriend. The guy gets behind her and almost befouls himself making crude gestures. He follows Rohanna around after that, and gives her his phone number. The girlfriend grabs him and leads him out. Then she comes back in, walks up to Rohanna and asks to see the number her man wrote down, just to make sure it’s right. Rohanna fishes the soaked piece of paper from the bottom of her beer glass and hands it over. The black girl shoves it in her pocket and walks out steaming. Jeanette and I are having a good laugh over all this, but Rohanna feels terrible. She was just having fun and didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I give her a hug and she pulls herself close to me. My shirt smells good, she says absently. She must be out of her senses. I can’t remember the last time a woman took comfort from me like that, and I’m totally aroused and confused.

They kick us out at closing time. Jeanette, always ready to push the boundaries, suggests we go dancing in Hollywood. But Rohanna is bummed, I’m getting faded, and they both have work in the morning. So we go back to Rohanna’s and dance her yard for a couple of hours. Jeanette rubs my back, gives me a long hug, and I’m gripped by old, chaotic emotions. I nearly kiss her, but I’m not sure of anything or anyone. Her, Dan, Rohanna, or myself. Ann. I’ve been alone too long, I feel broken. I wander to the couch and fall into a miserable sleep.

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