My First College Lesson-byrobertreams|
I stand shyly on the doorstep for a few moments. I can hear very loud psychedelic music from inside. Knocking lightly on the door produces no discernable result. I knock again, more loudly. Finally my frustration grows until I pound thunderously. After a minute, the door finally opens. Jimi Hendricks music blasts forth. A guy I don't know gestures for me to enter, then walks away. The room is black! Walls, ceiling, doors, windows; all black. Blacklight emanates from several sources around the room. Save for the opposite wall, nothing is visible except anything white. A girl near me smiles and her teeth gleam brightly for a moment. The opposite wall is covered entirely with day-glow paintings of mythological beings: the most prominent a larger-than-life portrayal of Pan, horns erect and genitals rampant. Naked, lust-crazed nymphs dance madly around his pawing, prancing frame amid lush and surreal vegetation The overall effect: a room with no corners, blaring music, the dizzying painting, is one of total disorientation, as if I have entered a new dimension.
A door at the rear of the apartment opens and a flood of light washes out for a moment. Comforted to have found an oasis from my bewilderment, I head that way. With relief, I immediately notice my newfound flamboyant friend Les holding court at one end of a kitchen table.
"Hey, Jeff. What's happenin'?" Les exclaims, coming around the table and throwing his arms around my shoulders. "Glad you could make it! Let me get ya somethin'. What's your pleasure? We got hard liquor, beer, wine. What'll it be?"
"Uh, I don't really drink."
"Ah, bullshit! This is a party. What the hell's a party without something to drink? Let's see. Something sweet. Mm.I know, I got just the thing." Going to the fridge, he pours something red over ice out of a square looking bottle. " Ol' Mad Dog."I took a tentative sip of the red liquid and found I liked it. I was a little leery, though of anything called "Mad Dog." "What is this stuff, Les?"
"Oh, boy. I can see that I'm gonna have to take you under my wing here. Excuse me folks, I'll be right back. Cum'mon with me," he said, taking me by the hand, and leading me to a back porch, just off the kitchen.
I'm glad you showed up, man. Now look, this is a party. In fact, it's a much bigger party than I planned, but that's cool. Hang around, get to know people. The place is loaded with available chicks. You can hang with me in the kitchen or circulate, or just sit and get stoned. Don't worry about getting too stoned. Lots of people will probably crash here. You're welcome, too. Here," he says, digging in his pocket and handing me two rolled joints. "Fire these up and you'll soon be in the party spirit. I gotta get back to the kitchen. We got a heavy discussion goin' on in there and I need to be with my worshiping public," he says, flashing that winning grin which had so affected me the first time we had met.
I look questioningly at the joints in my hand. I have smoked pot a couple of times without much effect. "What the hell, Jeff. You came here to go with the flow. Carpe Diem, good pal." (I had recently taken to speaking to myself much as I spoke to Mike). Deciding to join the party to see what develops, I dig in my pocket for my trusty Zippo, crank it and inhale deeply on one of the joints, placing the other in my Marlboro pack. I have read that one is supposed to hold in the smoke as long as possible to maximize the effect, so I do just that. I hold it as long as I can, exhale, then toke again, hold that one a long time, too. I cough and cough until black spots appear before my eyes. Trying to look cool and nonchalant as possible, I amble through the kitchen, back to the black room. Looking around for some place to sit, I find some empty cushions along the garishly painted wall, next to a hallway, I plop heavily onto them.
My eyes, my mind, are glad to have the lurid mural behind me. I begin to giggle when I notice that a naked nymph is carousing, her huge bare breast only inches from my head, then shake it off. Trying to look as cool as possible, I take a third drag on the joint, then a fourth. At once, my lungs react, expelling the acrid smoke with repeated violent coughs. I recover from my choking to the sound of lilting, gentle laughter. The source is a beautiful dark-haired girl in a batik print peasant dress, the laughter in her voice is gentle and nonjudgmental.
"You know what they say," she says. "The one that makes you cough is the one that gets you off!"
"Mind?", she asks, flopping down close to me on the pillows without waiting for a response. Not one to object to having a pretty girl so close, and still gasping, I make no response. "You know, it's customary to pass those around," she says, gesturing toward the joint in my hand. "Lynette," she says, offering her hand.
"I'm Jeff." Was the touch of her fingers suggestive of a deep warmth, or was I once again projecting my own pent-up desires?
"Well, are you gonna offer a girl a toke or not?" Again without waiting for a reply, she takes the joint from my hand, leaning toward me for a light, inhaling deeply when my Zippo does its thing.
She is tall and lean, her waist slim, hair straight long and ebony. Her breasts, unconfined by any bra, though small and pear shaped, plainly show their nipples through the thin high-waisted cotton dress. Her relaxed and self-confident demeanor stirs something in me I can not identify, but I like it.
"You go to school here," she asks?
"Yeah. English Lit. You?"
"Art. I'm a painter."
"I like the way you say that so easily. I'm a writer, but I hardly ever say it right out like that."
"You just did," she laughs.
I laugh, too. "Yeah, I guess I did. I'm not comfortable enough with most people."
"But you're comfortable enough with me already. Hey, that's a compliment. Thanks. What kind of stuff do you write?"
"You really are somethin' else. If I'm not relaxed enough to tell you, you'll ask anyway. I write all kinds of things. I've been working on two novels for a long time. There're two short stories. And I've got lots of poems."
Our conversation is punctuated by long inhalations. Our voices have that squeaky Mickey Mouse quality caused by trying to hold one's breath while talking. My glass of Mad Dog has somehow disappeared. The combination of marijuana and strong sweet wine is beginning to have effect. I feel ethereal, ephemeral, yet strangely focused. In the black room it is impossible not to focus on Lynette, since she is the only thing in the room I can clearly see. The music, now an album by 'Country Joe and the Fish', though blasting, holds just enough of my attention to enhance the glow I am beginning to feel. Our voices are getting hoarse, since we often have nearly to shout to hear each other, though she sits uncomfortably close.
"Maybe you'll let me read some of your writing sometime. Would you recite one of your poems for me?"
"Uh, right now? Right here? Uh, I never let anyone read anything I'm writing."
"Excuse me but that's the dumbest thing I ever heard. What the hell sense does it make to write something that no one will ever read?"
"Well, I didn't say never. I just well, you know."
"Let me guess. You're uncomfortable. Right? OK. We'll drop it for now. Someday you'll read me some of your stuff. Meanwhile, let's smoke another joint."
Unless I've misheard, she intends us to be together for a while. A self-satisfied grin spreads over my face. The monster stirs.
"Hello! Anyone there," she teases, tapping me firmly with her fingertips.
"Uh, sorry! Guess I spaced out there for a minute. Were you saying something?"
"We were gonna smoke another joint, remember?"
"Yeah. Well, maybe I shouldn't. I haven't done this very often. But you can, you know," I say, reaching for the remaining joint Les had given me. As she restrains my hand, she looks straight into my eyes. " Let's save that one for later, OK?"
The winsome look on her face confirms my earlier feelings. She really does intend for us to be together, 'later'. "Easy, Jeff," I tell myself, in response to the faint, familiar stirring in my loins. "Don't start taking too much for granted. Don't go getting too eager, too horney and scare her off. Try to take Les' advice and just be yourself. If, that is, you can ever figure out who the hell that is."
We'll smoke this one." By some sleight of hand I haven't seen , she produces a very fat joint, then leans into me as before. Once again, my Zippo with the USAF logo on the side leaps to its duty. After the required long pause to hold the smoke in, she says, "Can I see your lighter?"
I hand it over, feeling concern that this obvious 'free spirit' might somehow be offended by my veteran status.
"Wow. You were in the service?"
"Air Force. Four years."
"Did you like it?"
"It was shit. I hated it."
"You know what? I'm tired of screaming and I'd really like to talk to you a lot more. Here," she says," handing me the joint and grabbing my empty glass from a small table. "I'll be right back."
I look down at the smoldering joint in my hand, shrug, inhale deeply, hold it as long as possible, then let it out in a series of racking coughs. Sinking my head into the pillows piled up all around me, I close my eyes, take a series of short sweet drags.
For the first time the music reverberating around me enters my consciousness. Dylan's Mr. Tamborine Man. Words, music, colors swirl. I hear the song as I had never heard it or any song before. Guitar and harmonica each produce their own melodic poem, words and music of each merging, joined by Dylan's gravelly voice. The music has words and the words music. Musical notes produce colors in my head. I live the song, am the lyric. "Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship. All my senses have been stripped . . . Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind . . . far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow." The song ends, sounds and colors coalesce, condense. I open my eyes. Lynette stands before me, holding a fresh drink for me in one hand, the other is extended, palm up.
"Come," she says simply and sweetly, and I do not hesitate.
* * *
I awake in the morning to find her gone. Rising from the bed to search for my clothes, I chance to see my reflection in the mirror. The feelings I think I feel are of loss and guilt, but the face in the mirror is smiling broadly. Dressed, I step out of the room and turn into the kitchen where I find Les finishing breakfast.
"Hi, Les. What's happening?"
"Hey. What's Happenin' with you? I see you had a good time at my party last night."
"I most certainly did," I reply, grin broadening further.
"Yeah. Uh, thanks a lot for having me and for uh, you know, letting me crash here."
"No sweat. How'd it go with you and the lady, if you don't mind my asking, since it ain't none of my business? Not that I can't tell by the silly grin on your face that it went pretty good," he teases.
"That, my soon-to-be good friend is just about the understatement of the century. Last night was unlike anything I've ever experienced, that's for sure. And I know what you mean about the smile. I can't seem to stop grinning. But I woke this morning and she's just gone, no note, no nothing. I don't know what to think about that. I don't know if it, uh, that is, what we did, uh I mean. Oh, you know, last night. That is, I don't know if it's as important to her as it is to me, but I can't just leave it at that. I've got to find her. To talk to her. Do you know where I can find her? Her name's Lynette. That's all I know. Do you know her?"
"Yeah, I know her. Not real well, but I know her. But don't sweat it man. You'll see her again. She probably just had an early class this morning or something."
"But how do you know? There are thirty-thousand students on this campus. How will I find her? Maybe I did something that she didn't like or something."
"Well, good friend, I'm gonna tell ya something I maybe shouldn't. But you seem so naive when it comes to chicks that I feel it's necessary. When she came to me last night and asked could she use the back bedroom, she acted like a woman who was very enchanted, taken, you might say."
"You mean she arranged it all. I mean set it up in advance and everything. Isn't that kind of, you know, uh?"
"You mean, like sluttish, maybe wanton, maybe whorish?"
"No! I mean yes. Oh, hell! I don't know what I mean."
"And that, my friend, is obvious. You and me have got to have a long hard talk. I've got a class in about fifteen minutes. Can you hang around until about noon? I really need to talk to you."
"Why, what'd I do? Did I do something wrong? I mean something to piss her off or something?"
"No. No Nothing like that. Take it easy. It's cool. I just want to talk to you."
"Well, I've got a class at eleven-fifteen, but it's Psych 201. Old Higgins takes roll every day, but with three hundred students, there's really not much to do in class. If you read the chapters, do the papers and pass the tests, you really don't even have to go. I could skip it with no great loss."
"Groovy. Hang around here. Take a shower if you want. We'll have some coffee and a long chat when I get back. There's a clean towel in the cabinet next to the bathroom sink. But keep something on and the door closed. There's at least one more person still here who crashed last night."
It is amazing to me that Les has so much confidence, so much trust as to leave me alone in his house. When Les has gone, I help myself to a cup of coffee, then wander back to the bedroom. As I enter, I am struck by the aroma lingering there. The cloying scent of patchouli overlying something more intense. The heavy odor of bodies in heat, of raw sex. Deciding not to shower right away, I savor the aroma, the feel of our mingled dried sweat and musk on my body. My senses reel, bring flooding back the memories of our night together. She had led me into this room, plopped on the bed with her feet curled up beneath her, catlike. "Sit'" she had commanded. "Tell me all about being in the Air Force. Were you in Nam?"
So I began to tell her the long, dreary story of my sojourn as what amounted to a permanent KP in the United States Air Force. And as I spoke, my tale became easier and easier to tell. Lynette seemed to know all the right questions to ask, in all the right places, seemed to feel what I had felt. Her dark, almost black eyes shone, the pupils enlarged from her excitement and the effects of the grass. She seemed fas-cinated by all I said, eager to hear more. I bared all my anger, all my hurt, all my disillusionment with the country I had volunteered to serve. I told of my gradual growth in knowledge about my country's involvement in Viet Nam: the lies, the half-truths, the body counts, the hopelessness of my comrades over there, the futility of our involvement. I told how I had trod a very thin line for almost three years. Spoken out, resisted, but just enough to get in small trouble and avoid big trouble. I told her about my friend Robert Cormier, about his beloved red GTO and his re-upping to become a real cook, only to catch a Viet Cong mortar in his soup pot. Of how I learned about Bruce, a schoolmate, who never came back. I was touched by the genuine tears that rolled down her cheeks as she urged me to tell more, more.
When at last I could speak no more, weep no more, Lynette had laid her fingertips softly on my cheek drying a single tear with her thumb. "I really like you, Jeff," she had said, as she smoothly, tenderly, and expertly began to undress me. When I moved to respond, to touch her; when I tried to speak, she put her index finger to my lips, shook her head and said "Shh." It was a gesture I would grow to know and love during the several hours which followed.
As I lay on that unfamiliar bed, in that unfamiliar room, every thought, every emotion I had felt the night before came flooding back to my senses. When she had pulled the simple dress up over her head, revealing her nakedness beneath, I nearly lost consciousness. She leaned to touch every part of me with every part of her, had loved me fully. Her body had been the artist, playing the instrument my body became. And what a glorious concerto she had played. She had explored me fully. Amused by my intact foreskin, she slid it back, then up again, toyed with it, explored its inner surface, tasted it, run her lips her tongue over and under it. Had made a game of causing me untold new sensations. Licked my armpits, my groin, the backs of my knees, the soles of my feet. After the first few minutes, when I had tried to warn her that my untimely ejaculation was imminent, she had only made the "Shhh" gesture , watched closely as my seed arced high to land on my belly and chest, then begun again.
She was skilled at bringing me to the brink again and again before finally pushing me to my back, riding me to a wild mutual climax. After resting for a few minutes, holding me deep inside her, she had bent to kiss me, looked sweetly and deeply into my eyes, rolled on her back and said playfully, "Your turn!"
For the next several hours, I had been a willing student of the female form. She became both conductor and instrument; her body the violin, mine the bow. Taking my cue from her previous behavior, and from her vocal and physical reaction, I had roved, touched, kissed, licked, prodded, tickled and teased. I had spread her wide and looked inside, folded and unfolded. Taken a voyage of exploration. She had guided my hands, my lips, my tongue subtly and unobtrusively, helped me find that secret little button I had read about but had never found, never seen. No music ever sounded so fine as when finally she had drawn me to her and said fiercely, "Now, put it in me now, fuck me!"
Again, I had not hesitated!