I had just finished law school and had decided to take some time off to vacation. I headed for Florida. I needed some place to spend the night and found a small white cottage in which a family lived where I was able to rent a room for one day for only $15. I found a phone in the back of the house and carried it into the back yard (stretching out the phone's long extension cord quite a way from the house). I then called Kim (a friend whom I first met in Portsmouth in 1977), who was in far-away Portsmouth. Kim came on the other end of the phone and we began talking.
Our conversation soon turned to smoking marijuana. I hadn't smoked any marijuana in a long time, and I thought Kim hadn't smoked in a much longer time. It seemed as if she hadn't smoked since she had been about 13 years old, and I thought that she had only smoked a trifling amount when she had smoked then. I wanted to know more about when and how much she had smoked and I started probing her.
To my astonishment she suddenly told me she had smoked marijuana just six months earlier. She explained that she had met and become attached to a fellow who smoked marijuana. She had cared about the fellow and had started smoking marijuana with him. She finally told me she and the fellow had gotten married and had lived together for a while, but that they had finally split up.
I was truly amazed. When I asked her if she had been in an actual marriage or in a common law marriage, she told me they had actually been married. It then struck me that Kim must have also had sex with the fellow. That likewise floored me because from frequent conversations with Kim, I had thought she was totally celibate.
She didn't seem ashamed of what she had done, although she did apparently think smoking the marijuana had been a mistake. She seemed to be more or less of the opinion that she had just slipped, but that she had now recovered. I didn't know quite what to say. I didn't condemn her, although I wondered why she had waited so long to tell me, since she and I had talked quite a bit recently. Thinking that she had actually had sex with the fellow was difficult for me. When I tactfully asked her a little more about it, she said she would have preferred for the fellow and herself to have just lain close to each other, but he had insisted.
In a way, I had thought I had been somewhat depending on Kim in my own struggles to remain celibate and to avoid marijuana. Now that she (whom I had thought was so strong) had succumbed, I figured that I could once again more easily indulge. I began to realize, however, that I hadn't actually been relying on Kim as much as I might have thought. Even if she had strayed from the path, I still had no reason to change my ways. My struggles were completely independent of hers.
I was still curious about why Kim had given in and I wanted to know more about the fellow who had enticed her. I asked her what he did for a living and she said he was some kind of clerk at Ford's. His position certainly didn't seem important and it occurred to me that my being a lawyer should certainly be more impressive to her. It vaguely seemed as if I had once considered a physical relationship with Kim. Although the idea of physical contact with Kim had faded away and no longer seemed appropriate, I still placed a deepening value on our spiritual relationship.
I was beginning to worry about the length of the call. I hadn't actually had the permission of the people in the house to use the phone and I thought I should probably hang up. I wanted to talk with Kim longer, but I thought I had better go. Before I hung up, however, I asked her how long we had gone without talking to each other before we had resumed talking again a few months ago. We agreed that we must have gone a couple years without talking.
I wanted her to know that since she had made her confession to me, I in no way felt bad toward her. In fact, I told her, I had wanted to tell her that when I had begun talking to her again I had noticed a definite change in her personality. She seemed much more in tune with life. Her attitude was more positive now and she seemed to have improved markedly. She seemed to be able to relate to people and the world around her much better. I just wanted her to know what a big improvement I had noticed.
I finally told her I regretted I was going to have to hang up. She wanted to know what I was going to do and I told her I was going to spend about a week in Florida. It was spring and absolutely beautiful in Florida. I told her I would probably go to the beach, stay intoxicated on alcohol for about a week and pick up girls. But I was just kidding her and I actually had no intention of becoming intoxicated and picking up girls. I had just said that as a way of pointing out that she certainly couldn't now criticize such activity on my part. Finally I said good-bye and hung up.
When I finished, I realized a boy (about 17 years old) and his brother (probably only 2-3 years old) had come out of the house. The three of us boarded a red car on which I had been leaning while talking. I sat behind the steering wheel, the older brother climbed into the back seat, and the small boy sat to my right. The older brother had a car battery in the back seat and he said something about its running out of oil. I thought he might be making a reference to the length of the phone call I had made.
We decided to go for a ride and I drove off. When the older boy asked me what I was going to be doing, I told him I might spend a week on the beach. Indeed I thought I might pick up some girls there. I knew I had had success before in picking up girls on Florida beaches, especially around Fort Lauderdale. Mainly, however, I just wanted to be free in Florida. I told him the coming week would be the most beautiful time of the year and where we were was the most beautiful area I knew of. I said the flowers there were incredible and even as I drove along, I pointed to many different kinds and colors of large flowers along the road. The flowers seemed to dazzle me. I didn't know of any place where there were so many flowers or where they were so beautiful.
I finally stopped the car and we got out. The boy was curious about how I could just travel around like I did. I told him that although I didn't look like it, I was actually a lawyer. I hadn't worked for 10 months and I had just been traveling around. I would probably only continue doing so for about 2-3 more months before returning to work. I told him I had been to Europe and Asia and I still planned to go to South America. However, I no longer had a car and I was going to have to rent one. He asked if my father was paying for my expenses and I told him I was using money I had saved while I had worked.
We sat down and the other two began looking at a small nearby cemetery. Still thinking about my conversation with Kim, I pulled out a pen and paper and began writing some of the things she had told me. I wanted to remember as much as I could and I was afraid I would forget if I didn't write it down.
Meanwhile the small boy had found some kind of large pinball-type game to play with. In a way, the game resembled a pin ball machine, except its dimensions were exceedingly large. The insides of the game were more like a small room and even part of the cemetery was located inside. After I finally showed him how it worked, all sorts of balls and blocks began flying around inside the thing.
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