May 23, 2020:
I liked the pretty neighbor girl from across the wide shared patio.
We'd been friends in high school but became temporarily close when thrown together by circumstances, which in this case means her parents. She was a theater girl, she'd starred in the school comedies, and she loved the subversive TV series Soap which a local station broadcast in summer reruns in the early evenings. Her parents though forbade her to watch it — too adult, I assume. Morons. To finesse the obstacle she visited my apartment in the evenings, coincidentally right around the time Soap was coming on.
At that time I had a little black and white portable TV in my room. While my mother watched the bigger TV in the living room, my pretty neighbor curled up with me on my little single bed, spooned, laughing our asses off at the brilliant, ridiculous satire, where Katherine Helmond was our favorite, but Diana Canova killed us, and all 85 episodes were utterly brilliant.
We met up again the summer after our second year of college. I'd gone away to Johnston, she was at San Diego State, still living at home I think. She was even more beautiful and my first instinct was serious crush. But we'd grown apart that year in ways neither could have predicted.
I'd found Marx, after struggle and resistance, like being dragged to the altar. But I was there, had read McClellan and Tucker, and came home overflowing with enthusiasm. She'd found Jesus, was as smitten as me, had thrown herself in to bible study with the same commitment I'd brought to what were then the academic standards on The Moor and his pal The General. We were very happy to see each other — I remember a long, friendly babbling session, bringing each other up to date, standing together at the halfway point of the wide shared patio. But we both felt, I think, we'd gone too far in incompatible directions.
It wasn't a sectarian thing, where now I'm a commie and I hate Christians, or conversely she's a Christian and can't converse with commies. Actually we were quite interested in what the other had to say. It was really more that our commitments required full attention, so that spending time together would have been distracting. That really is too bad, because she was very nice, and I truly liked her very much.
I spent that summer reading Freud, re-reading the McClellan and Tucker anthologies, always by myself, during the day often at the bowling alley or, after a bike ride, down the hill at the bayside park, at night alone in my little single bed. Was Soap still on? I don't know! Whether it was or not, the pretty neighbor girl and I no longer spent a half hour each evening spooned, laughing our asses off.