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Chapter 1:- First Sight
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First Sight


Oh my God! He is gorgeous! He is to die for! I’ve got to see what is behind those shades. I wonder what’s behind that smile. What is he thinking? Is he smiling at me? What a dream-boat! His smile is playful and his lips are totally kissable. His dark hair is perfectly combed and so thick I want to run my fingers through it. I wish I could see his eyes; are they brown or blue, or perhaps some other exotic color? My mind was a flurry of thoughts the moment I laid eyes on him.


I had just ended a stint in the juvenile shelter home for my rebellious activities, (skipping school, smoking, sneaking out…) and had come back to visit a friend. She met me at the door and together, we walked into the ‘smoking’ room. Cheryl took a seat at the table, but I was frozen in my tracks, the second I walked into the room. Then I tripped taking a seat next to her.


There he sat, directly across the table from me, rocking back in his chair, smoking a cigarette, looking as cool as cool could be. I couldn’t take my eyes off him as I sat there smoking a cigarette; my friend, Cheryl, chattering away at me. I didn’t hear a word she said. I was consumed by the boy that had eyes I couldn’t see. He never spoke, except to say hi, the whole time I was there. I couldn’t help but feel foolish because I could not look away from him. Were there other people in the room with us? I hadn’t noticed. All I had eyes for was this guy wearing sunglasses indoors. When I could not take it any more, I wanted to leap across the table and kiss him so badly, I said good-bye and hopped on a bus to go back home. The plan: call Cheryl later and blast her with questions about this guy.


 It was a cold winter day in 1979. It was a time in my life when my peers held me in high esteem although I never understood why. I was just being me, but for some reason, the kids I hung out with seemed to think I was great. I had barely set my feet on the path to self-discovery; how great could I have been? I sure wish I knew what he was thinking about me; if he was thinking about me. My mother didn’t agree with the opinions of the others; she thought I was the biggest pain in the ass to walk the planet. I suppose one could say that I earned that status by insisting on doing things my way.


“Trii! (tree) Telephone! Someone named Cheryl?” my mother called out from the next room.


I snatched the phone in the living room. “Hello?”


“Hey, there’s someone here wanting to yak at cha,” came back Cheryl’s voice.


After what seemed like an eternal pause… ”You wanna talk to this guy or what?”  she snipped.


Guy? Could it really be THAT guy? Just the thought made me hold my breath a second or two.


“The guy I met today? The drop-dead, gorgeous guy… with the shades..?” I inquired excitedly.


“I guess you could say it is THAT guy…”


“Quit messing with me and let me talk to him!” I shouted into the phone.


In the background I could hear the sound of Cheryl’s laughter. Then, a new voice was on the line, “Hello?”


Everything inside me turned to Jell-O with that single word. My heart began racing. It was HIM! Oh shit! What was his name? Then it came to me… Trampus, his name is Trampus something or other.



“Hello? This is Trii, I said shakily, falling back into a chair.


We talked for awhile, about nothing and it seemed everything. I was in heaven… He called to talk to me! He said he wanted to see me again and could I come visit him?



 


 


Several days later, now in the new year… “Trii..? It is 2 A.M,” Mom called to me, waking me from a light sleep. “Who do you know in Arkansas?” she asked, handing me the phone. “Hello?” At the sound of his voice, that sleepy bewilderment flew from my brain. I sat bolt upright. It was Trampus!


“What are you doing in Arkansas?” I asked him.


“I flew the coop with Todd and Cheryl. We started hitching and this is where we ended up. We’re at a truck stop,” he explained.


“Why’d you take off?” I inquired, feeling a little saddened by the news.


“Just to do something different,” he replied.


The next thing I knew, Mom was screaming at me. “Get off that telephone! Do you have any idea how much two hours on a collect call is going to cost?”


I wanted to ask her; do you think I care about how much it’s going to cost? But, I kept that thought securely behind my lips, saying nothing to her.



I hated to do it, but I said good-bye and hung up, angry with my mother for being, well, my mother. There was no denying it… I had fallen head over heels in love with this guy. I’d never felt like this before, talking to a guy.



 


 


One cold February afternoon, I returned from school to open the mailbox and discover an envelope addressed to me. It was a plain white envelope, addressed in brightly colored magic marker. There was no return address, but I knew it was from HIM. I ran to the house with it. Once inside the door, I ripped open that envelope like a rabid animal.


From inside, a postcard dropped to the floor. I snatched it up and read the words. “Here I am, trippin’ on coffee and cigs, wanting to see you again…” My eyes jumped to the signature. He signed it, “Love, Trampus!” Oh my God; he said love!” I screamed aloud, at no one. I had been swept away. I stood there, in the door way, trying to let it all soak in, feeling the smile on my face taking over my other features. The cutest guy on the planet said he loves me!


Realizing that an envelope isn’t required for a postcard, I peeked inside to search for something more. Without much surprise, I removed a neatly folded sheet of paper from that envelope. The first thing that struck me was how beautiful his handwriting was. Guys didn’t have nice writing, did they? None of the guys I’d ever known had nice writing. Wasn’t that why they [guys I knew] always wanted me to do their homework? So, I looked again at the postcard. Both the letter and the postcard were written in the same hand. Wow! I thought. He is artistic too. I can actually read his writing! My attention went back to the letter; it said that he’d come back and turned himself in because he didn’t want to be so far away from me. If I wanted to write back, I could send letters to, the Juvenile Reception Center or JRC as it was referred to by those of us who’d spent any time there. However, being that I couldn’t get along with Mom, to save my own life, I thought I’d go one better than a letter or a phone call.  I would run away, turn myself in, and get sent to detention to be with him. Within seconds, I was upstairs, in my room – the one I shared with Mom, packing some things into my backpack. In minutes I was out the door; no note; no nothing. I was outta there. I could hear my heart beating in my ears, the click of the door, locking behind me, then nothing but the wind and traffic going down the street.


 


Clutching his letter to my chest, wind blowing my short, blond hair back away from my face, I had set out on my adventure. Where exactly, I was going, I didn’t know. I knew I needed to find a place to spend the night. Running away wouldn’t mean much if I wasn’t gone, at least, over night. I didn’t want to be sent home. The somewhere that I was headed to ended up being my buddy, Gordy’s house.


While walking, it occurred to me that I was not following a new path; I was creating one; my footsteps in the snow, behind me, told me so. I was leaving a path and forging a new one. I’d never felt so high. With each new crunch, beneath my feet, I knew I was getting closer to my unknown destination. The anticipation of seeing him again drove me forward, into the wind. My body was tingling with excitement and a warmth that denied the chill of the season. I didn’t know where I’d lay my head that night, but somehow it didn’t matter to me much, or at all. I knew somehow that it was my heart and my destiny that guided me now. Wherever I ended up would be the right place to be. I walked on.


I barely knew the boy who’d captured my heart, but that was unimportant. Details were not on my mind; I had plenty of time to learn them. His voice echoed in my brain; the words, ‘Love, Trampus,’ burned into all my eyes could see. I had to see him! I had yet to see the eyes behind those sunglassess, and that thought was all consuming.


The chilly winter afternoon had drawn into a cold, mid-western evening, when I came to find myself standing at my good friend, Gord-O’s front door, wondering how I had come to be there. It was like being in a trance while walking, having awakened upon reaching a destination.


I reached out and knocked on the door. What was I going to say when my knock was answered? Before I had time to ponder the question too long, the door opened and I was looking into my friend’s confused face. “Hey! Trii! What’s the haps?” he greeted me, waving me into the house. An invitation that took no time at all for me to answer; I was suddenly freezing. Eagerly, I stepped through the doorway; the wind sucking the door shut behind me. The customary journey to the basement was short. Descending the stairs I spoke up, “Hey Gordy, I needs a favor…”


“Sure, anything you need, Trii. What’s up?”


“I need a place to crash tonight. Just tonight, I promise,” I answered.


“No problem,” he said, stay as long as you like. My mom loves you. Tell me what’s going on.”


Gordy’s basement was the place we all hung out. (‘That 70’s Show’ has a special place in my heart now-a-days.) It was great! We had everything we needed: a couch, a couple of chairs, a coffee table, and his mom’s laundry lines running in crazy patterns all over the ceiling; oh, and of course, we had the black light posters and black light requirements covered too. Everyone was welcome at Gord-O’s place. His parents welcomed all of us and treated us like their own.


Sitting together on the couch, Gordy reached for his bong and loaded a bowl, handing it to me. “Get a buzz on, Trii. You look like you need it,” He said this to me, so seriously it startled me.


“Thanks,” I said, taking his offering.


While sitting there, getting altered, it dawned on me that I really had no idea what my next move would be.  I knew what my goal was, to be in detention with Trampus, but how exactly this was going to play out, I hadn’t a clue. All I knew for sure is that I’d come to the right place to figure it out, and I’d come too far to back out. I was sure my mom was having a kitten right about then. She might even have the Air National Guard out looking for me. Just the thought amused me and I shared it with Gord-O.


I didn’t get much sleep that night. Gordy and I got baked and talked for hours. I did my best to answer his questions about my decision to run away, but my words seemed so disconnected from me. They floated on the smoke that circled my head. One question he asked me resonated loudly and stuck with me for quite some time. It was discomforting, to say the least. “What if the cops just send you home?” he’d asked me. I had never thought about that. I couldn’t let that happen. This was the thought that finally carried me off to sleep that night. I had succumbed to the warmth and drone of the furnace, the softness of the couch and the weed. The little bit of sleep I did get was not an easy sleep, however. I tossed and turned; dreaming about being returned to Mom.


In the morning, it was the sound of footsteps and a slamming door, from above, that woke me. I sat up blinking, bleary-eyed; sunlight filtering in through the windows. That must be Gordy, walking around up here, I thought, noticing he was no longer in the basement with me. I wondered when he went to bed. I must’ve been stoned last night.


“Oh, God… I have to pee!” I mumbled. Please let the kitchen (and the bathroom) be empty when I get up there. I didn’t know if his parents knew I was there; would they freak out? None of it mattered – I had to get to the bathroom NOW! So, I hurried up those stairs and as quietly as I could, I pushed the door, at the top, open a crack. Peering through it and seeing no one, I burst through the door. The brightness of the sunlight stung my eyes, as I spied a clock on the kitchen wall. It read: 8:15 A.M... The house was empty, save for me. Everyone had gone to work or to school. Far Out! I thought, as I ran to the bathroom.


Following the relief of the bathroom, I returned to the basement. On the table I found a note and a neatly rolled joint. The note read: “I hope you get shit figgered out. Have a smoke, relax, and stay as long as you need. Hope to see ya after school.


~ Gordy!”


Far be it from me to argue – Pulling the lighter from my pocket, I lit the joint, dropped the note and fell back into the softness of the sofa. What will I do today? I wondered. The thought of being returned home would not let go of my mind. “I can’t go back there. “ I said loudly, to the ceiling, “My mother drives me nuts! She is soooo out of touch! She’s stuck in 1950! Hello! It is 1980, Mom. I’m not the perfect little Catholic girl you were either!” I was full-tilt screaming at the emptiness now. Then it hit me – I’ll call Trudy, my aunt. She came to see me in the shelter home; she was cool. Maybe she can help me figure this out. Sure she can! Then I wondered what Trampus would think of me for going through all of this just to see him. Oh, God; I hope he doesn’t think I’m a nut case.


The joint now, half smoked and lying in the ashtray in front of me, while I confidently began dialing the phone.


 


 

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