Monday, October 13, 2014

Annie's Song

I had only a month or two to go before being awarded the bachelor’s degree that would unlock every door and melt every maiden’s heart, but for the time being, I was a boy without a girlfriend. Then I ran into Annie S— on the steps of the big library, and was flabbergasted by her apparent receptivity to the idea of our becoming a romantic pair. I had known (of) her two years before, when we both inhabited a particular residence hall in which she was known for her wonderful huge breasts, and for her oddly named and very territorial boyfriend, who seemed to be everything I was not — handsome, virile, athletic, self-assured. Within a few minutes of ascertaining that she didn’t regard me as a frightful dweeb in spite of my wire-rim glasses and wispy moustache, we were up in one of the library’s cubicles, kissing and, well, petting, with sufficient enthusiasm to annoy the scholars on either side.

She moved in with me, into my grotty, soulless little one-bedroom apartment on Federal Avenue in West Los Angeles. (If ever a street’s name accurately conveyed its charmlessness!) I had an actual…old lady. I felt like a real boy!

I was already reviewing concerts for the Los Angeles Times, and began taking her with me. She was forever marveling at how wonderfully a band’s singer and principal instrumentalist complimented each other. I rarely agreed with her, but her sensitivity to musical sympathy inspired me to listen with particular interest to the newly released first Joe Cocker album, and to note that on one track guest Jimmy Page couldn’t possibly have heard Joe’s vocal before he recorded his guitar solo. Now it can be told: the great man’s resentment predated my disliking the first Led Zeppelin album in the pages of Rolling Stone!

Our sex was lousy in spite of her having a pair of black leather panties that I found quite wonderful. She’d get on top and bounce up and down on me with grim determination that she seemed to intend to be mistaken for lack of inhibition. Nonetheless, the night she didn’t come home from her waitressing job in Venice was one of the worst of my life, and shattered my heart so badly that it was a wonder I managed to take and pass the last final exams of my life. And then it got worse. When she came by to retrieve her stuff, she admitted that she didn’t really feel much beyond remorse. A few years later, I’d work that into my song “Brokenhearted Reggae.” She says it’s too hard. She’d rather discard everything that we’ve built [not, of course, that we’d built much in three weeks, but: poetic license!] When I feel the same, how can she claim all that she feels is guilt?

I ascertained six years later while in the Bay Area on business that she was waitressing at a hip bistro in Marin County, and dropped in on her without warning. I’d repudiated the dweebishness of the last of my college days and entered my rock dreamboat phase since we’d last seen each other, and she very much liked the idea of our getting together that evening, perhaps for some grimly determined coitus. But then she had to excuse herself to attend to one of her tables, and Mr. Dylan’s fervently vindictive “Positively Fourth Street” began to play, and I thought to myself, “They’re playing our song!” My walking out of the restaurant with her imploring me in vain to come back felt somehow true, somehow deserved, though I won’t deny that thoughts of her wonderful breasts and black leather panties inspired some spirited masturbation that lonely night in my Miyako bathtub.

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