I woke up to the sound of rain on the window. I had cracked it open before I went to bed and the air filtering into my apartment was damp and smelled sweet. I turned over and tugged the blanket up over my shoulders, attempting to recapture a dream. But something felt wrong. I was late…very late! I jumped out of bed and threw on my purple velvet dress, quickly backcombing a poof into the top of my long, thin hair and drawing eyeliner wings over blue eye shadow before running out the door. I grabbed my purse, the diaper bag, the baby, the keys. I had been expected to start answering the phone at my desk at Al & Sons Termite Control Company 20 minutes earlier.
I hurriedly made my way down the concrete stairs of the building, and as I stepped onto the fourth stair tread from the bottom, my foot slipped on the wet pavement. In an attempt to keep from dropping my 10-month-old, I came down on my knees, hard. I lay there for several minutes, moaning. My easy-going son sat beside me on the ground, eyeing me, trying to figure out whether he should be upset too. Everyone else had left for work and there was no one around to help me. I literally crawled to the car, managing not to drop the baby. After I strapped him into the car seat, I crawled back for my purse and his diaper bag, tears running rivets through my beige Mabelline foundation.
My bloodied knees hurt so bad it was hard to put enough pressure on the break pedal to stop the car. My legs shook under the purple velvet and I thought I would faint. I drove very slowly to the babysitter’s house so I wouldn’t have to press hard on the breaks. By the time I got there, my knees worked enough to walk, but the pain was so bad it was a good thing I hadn’t eaten breakfast. I suddenly felt tired…tired of pretending to be an adult. Tired of being responsible. Tired of working to just pay the bills. Tired of being alone. I was seventeen-years-old.
A couple of weeks later I got a call out of the blue from an old high school friend. He had gotten my number from my mother. Could he come see me?
I opened the door and stared in disbelief. Bob had changed. His hair was down to his shoulders. He wore a puka shell necklace and bell-bottom jeans. I hadn’t seen anyone who dressed like that since I saw The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl three years earlier.
The hippies wanted peace and love. We wanted Ferraris, blondes, and switchblades. – Alice Cooper.
Bob and I began to hang out together almost every day. He introduced me to his like-minded friends and the music of Iron Butterfly and Alice Cooper. He talked about peace and ending the war in Vietnam. He was passionate about things that seemed to matter. He cared about other people. Every woman was his “sister,” and every man his “brother.” He talked about love. He exuded love. It wasn’t long before I got myself a pair of bell-bottomed jeans of my own. Because looking for love was what I was all about.