Farewell, Don’t Go When I got home it was five o’clock and I went to my bedroom, then the bathroom to take a shower. I got dressed in my room, sitting in my jeans and black shirt in front of the open window, smoking. In two days school was to start again, and in two weeks I would turn twenty-one.
It was a long time since I had taken time to sit, and now it was almost impossible to do so. There was nothing to think about. Then I thought about speaking to her, a cryptic conversation full of metaphor and insinuations. This was an unexpected thought, but it was a mysterious summer and I suppose it was going to go as it liked and there was nothing I could do about it. It went along like a movie, there were parts you would like to change, but it was out of your hands. The time was mine to make a little spending money, and I suppose I did. But I wanted to spend some time alone in the woods, camping. I could fill my pack with canteens, the small pellet stove I got at the Marin Surplus, food, cigarettes, whiskey, a book and a sleeping bag.
Maybe I would this fall, under the crisp New England foliage, but I am sure I won’t. What was the matter with us. The poets said this was the best time of our lives. Maceda said she was perfect for me.
That’s what he said when he visited us in the spring. And when I asked him why he said, “Oh, I can just tell. It is the way you look at one another.” And he was a Spaniard so I thought I could count on his advice on matters of love. But I did not notice any particular way I looked at her. Why did I want to go to the forest anyway? It would be one of those things when I have gotten exactly what I wanted but was left with an emptiness that is difficult to describe. I never enjoyed myself camping. It might be good though.
In five minutes, I told myself, I would go outside and get some beer. I walked outside and lit a cigarette and after one block saw the courthouse flag against the sunset. An August coming on. Beyond that, on the slow rise covering the sun, was an apple orchard. I walked down a side street that led to the main avenue. It was wonderful when we were all alone because I could look at her only and I could talk how I wanted and she would love me for all I said. And when she talked to me it was only me she was talking to and her voice was smoothly raspy at the same time and she talked into me and I felt it.
She had beautiful smooth skin and soft lips and her eyes were big and I could see into them and into her and she let me see. I loved her for that, and I did enjoy being alone with her. But what ruined it was the notion that I was missing something, that she was an anchor that was keeping me in place and I wanted to move, though I didn’t know where. I couldn’t take her to all the dangerous places I wanted to visit, and to be with her was having the feeling that I had to protect her.I walked on the sidewalk past the stone armory which stood alone at the end of the street, then past the connected stores; the diner with their good sandwiches and milkshakes and very white counters and walls and yellow lighting.I crossed the trolley tracks to the side of the street in shade, past a town square of sorts located in a break among the stores, with chess tables, benches, and fountain. In front of the fountain was a compass rose made from Italian tile. The water was running and there were people sitting on the fountain’s edge and the benches along the shops’s walls.
I went past more store windows and turned into a small tavern. A large pale man with a dark mustache was behind the bar. The bar went straight back where two women with an old man stood at the far end, drinking. The room was very narrow with room for only a row of burgundy booths running the length of the bar. I went to the beer case and pulled open the door, taking two six-packs of lager from the case. I brought them to the counter and paid.
The main did not check my ID. If he did I would have used a fake ID I had bought from a student at Clark University in Worcester. We had gone down there, paid fifty dollars a piece, stood in front of a blue muslin, gave the address and name we wanted on the ID and returned an hour later picking up rather well-done driver’s licenses from Maine. But I hadn’t needed to use it.