I met him when I was just a child, a nineteen-year-old college freshman looking to spread my wings. He was tall, blonde, and handsome with flirtatious blue eyes. He was quick-witted with a dry sense of humor. His left eye twitched when he lied. That eye twitched a lot.
He said he was twenty-one. (twitch) He later told me he was twenty-three, but he thought I wouldn’t date him if I knew. He got that right. But before that, we went out for deli sandwiches and had a laugh or two.
The second lie was a beautiful blonde in San Francisco. He had told me he was spending the weekend with family friends. (twitch twitch) Her name was Barbara. They had come out to Northern California together; she to work in San Francisco, and he to enroll in Foothill College and mess with my life. I bought his lie about Barbara just being a friend until we both were pregnant at the same time. She showed up at my apartment one night to share the news. She said I could have him. He said so, too. I went home to Beverly Hills that summer to terminate my pregnancy, while she flew to Japan to take care of hers. Abortion was illegal in the U.S. in 1967.
At the end of my Sophomore year, John and I had plans to go to U.C. Berkeley together in the fall. My father had other plans for me which didn’t include Northern California or John. Daddy always got his way, so I transferred that fall and moved to SoCal. Other than one weekend ski trip to Tahoe and one Valentine’s dance, John and I went our separate ways. If I’d had any sense, I would have stayed separate.
I didn’t have any sense. I would hear from John from time to time when he’d come to L.A. for a business trip. (twitch twitch) Once he flew into town and took me to lunch for a nice pastrami on rye with brown mustard. He told me he was writing children’s books. (twitch) When it was time to pay the check, he put down his credit card. When I noticed the card was not his, he told me it was his nom de plum. When he went to the men’s room, I looked in his wallet and found a driver’s license with that name, too. Back at my apartment, he asked if he could stay. I told him no. He didn’t like it, but he left.
A few weeks later, I got a call. John told me that he had sent me some clothes. They were supposed to arrive while he was in L.A. Then he said — he actually…