Some day I’ll flesh out the details.
After the East Village Other folded and I stopped going to college for a while when I was 20, I decided to travel a bit because I hadn’t yet. So I sub-let (illegally) my apartment on 7th street and stashed my goods at a friend’s place, bought what Greyhound was selling back then called an Ameripass. I forget how long it lasted but you paid a flat fee and you could ride anywhere in the Continental US until it expired.
I decided I wanted to ride US 80 for a while stopping here and there until I hit San Francisco. I had been there once, flown there on vacation while working at the Post Office (you made good money at the PO) and stayed for a week.
Got on the bus at the Port Authority, stop here, stop there, Pennsylvania, Ohio, finally gets to Cleveland and I get off to smoke a bit of weed someplace I won’t be spotted. Not too much, just a few tokes because I don’t want trouble, I just want a little buzz.
Get back on the bus and this young lady is sitting in my seat, my window seat. What to do? I sat next to her. Said nothing. But very quickly she leaned over. “Were you smoking marijuana?”
I turned to her. “Yes. You want some? There’s still a few minutes...”
“Oh, no. I don’t.”
“But I don’t know why you do.”
She was small, thin, fairly attractive. In a word, very much my “type.” Assuming I actually had a “type.” I glanced around to see if anyone was listening and began to whisper to her to see if she understood anything about smoking weed. Apparently she did but only a little. For some reason, the next stop, Toledo, was actually as long as Cleveland, and I offered to buy her some coffee so we could talk further and with more privacy and so we could get to know each other better.
She lived in a suburb of Kansas City and was on her way home from a missionary stint where she had left her parents behind in West Africa. By the time we had arrived in Omaha, where she had to change buses to go south to Kansas City, she had invited me to go with her, to visit and stay with her. I did.
Not much happened. She lived in a boarding house on the town square in Liberty. Right across the street from the bank Jesse James held up, the very first bank held up in broad daylight in the USA. The moments we spent together were filled with a great deal of passion but no sex, per se. Then, one day when I called home I found out my father had died. I knew it was coming. I had to leave. I never went back.