Sunday, October 12, 2014

Portuguese Bend

When I was one and twenty, I had the wildest of all my gals, a gal so wild that I spent the whole of our time as an item unaware of her real name. I met her on the Sunset Strip. I was pretending to be a hippie in those days, selling awful black-lite posters I’d drawn myself to passers-by from the hinterlands who thought 25¢ a fair price to interact with someone wearing love beads but no shoes. I liked her mustard-colored tights and that she resembled the television star Yvette Mimieux. I liked her bouffant hair and stilettos, which made clear that she was of the provinces, in this case a coastal community south of LA of which I’d never heard.  I think she liked my zesty wit, and that I seemed damaged. There are gals who do, you know.

She was studying to be a nurse, and had access to potent pharmaceuticals. She injected speed and stayed up all night, and thought less of me — thought me a stick in the mud! — for declining to do likewise. She seemed to have sex for money with some of the doctors with whom she worked. At least one of our most notable get-togethers was in a swanky hotel room overlooking the San Diego Freeway that one such doctor had left only moments before.

We shouted at each other a lot. I disliked her reluctance to commit herself solely to me, and she, as they all do, disliked my telling her how to dress, and not allowing her to inject me with speed, my great affection for a non-injectable form of which was still four years away at that point. The best sex we ever had was when she invited me to the home she shared with her mother in Portuguese Bend. She said her mother was out of town. I was horrified to discover that she’d actually been in the adjacent bedroom the whole time.  

A week after she finally agreed to forsake all others, she somehow got wind of my having not held up my own end of that bargain, and was understandably disgusted with me. Nonetheless, she was my only visitor in my bleak Ozone Avenue days, when I lived right after the end of my student days among ancient Jewish widows and junkies in Venice and very nearly perished of loneliness. When I declined to give her a lift all the way back to Portuguese Bend for reasons that I’ve forgotten she called me a pig. I did not call her a bitch retaliatorily, or otherwise.


I didn’t hear from her for around a million years, until 2012, when she contacted me via Facebook. She’d married a member of Led Zeppelin’s road crew many years before, and moved with him to his native New Zealand. She had two adult sons and a psychotherapy practice, and no longer teased her hair. I inferred that the decades had made her very much less wild.

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