I suppose most of my love stories are a little bit…unusual.
Like the time the hot actor asked me out after an interview not knowing that my college girlfriends and I had been absolutely gaga over him back when my career in journalism was just a distant dream.
And how I met my Hopi ex-husband at a dinner party thrown by a bat-bleep crazy hippie shaman featuring a frothy stew concocted from desert-fried veggies retrieved from a reservation grocery store dumpster.
You get the idea.
But one of the first…well, he was a match made in the Twilight Zone. Seriously.
I was reminded of him today because among my recent Facebook birthday wishes was a little greeting from him. And whenever I see a message from him, I smile this… special smile.
You see, I actually dreamt him before I met him. No really, I did. Here’s the story.
In Chicago, back in the hippie dippy 60s and early 70s, there were “Be Ins” in Lincoln Park. It was like Hair out there. Or actually, more like Woodstock, with all the whirling girls and guys with hair so long you sometimes mistook them for girls, ’til you got up close.
We were all letting our freak flags fly back then. And after one particularly wild weekend, I dreamt of a golden haired flute player swaying to the congas and talking drums in the midst of the throng.
He had the Roger Daltrey mane and a mesmerizing gaze, focused, because it was my dream after all, on me. And as was my habit back then, I wrote down every single thing I could remember about that dream in a journal I still have.
I told all my lady friends about it, too, of course. But within a few whirlwind weeks, I’d forgotten all about him.
Until one final weekend, just before I was set to start college–that will matter later, BTW. But that weekend, all I wanted to do was have big fun at the last Be In I’d have time to attend.
And as I danced down the grassy slope toward the beat of the drums, I was stopped in mid step by one the scariest and yet most wonderful things I’d ever seen in my life.
It was the guy I dreamt. Swear to Whatever. And he was jamming, too. Free form, jazzy stuff.
I was actually afraid to go anywhere near him. So were my girlfriends. Remember, I’d told them about this guy. And now we were seeing him. Right there. Even before the electric Boone’s Farm and hash laced joints had been passed.
So of course, when I went home, wrote a whole book about it. And then set it–and him–aside, preoccupied with preparations for my first semester of college.
Like all freshmen, I was scared witless the first day. Especially when I finally wound my way through the huge campus and walked into my first “arena” classroom for Psych 100–perfect course for this next installment, I must say.
I had arrived early enough to plunk down in the middle of an almost empty row toward the back. But soon there were almost no seats left save a couple in the row in front of me. One directly in front of me, in fact.
But it was mid row, and late comers usually sat on the floor in back or even on the stairs, to avoid crawling over a whole row of smirking students.
So I got out my notebook and pen like a good little girl–there were no laptops or tablets then–and sat back, ready to go. And then…I heard a little commotion in the row in front of me. And looked up to see…
Yeah, you guessed it. That flute player was heading for the seat in front of me.
I did not hear, see or understand anything else that happened in that room for a while after that. If you’d asked me my name, I would’ve stared as if you’d said it in Hebrew.
And then it happened. The flute player turned around, smiled at me, and said, “You wouldn’t happen to have an extra pen, would you?”
I remembered, somehow, what a pen was, and gave him one of the dozen or so out of a new package of “first day” BICs. He saluted me with it, and used it as an excuse to have a little chat with me after class.
Bittersweet ending: we “dated,” but I wasn’t nearly ready for this guy. He was a force of nature–an angry anarchist with a romantic attachment to the legendary Wobblies of yore (I Google’d it for you).
But we both remember, all these years later, a particularly powerful kiss we shared down in the dungeon-like student center of Stevenson Hall.
Another student had removed all of the dividing walls between the lower lockers in a particular row, so we could climb into a little hidey hole through one open locker door to nap, make out, smoke, whatever. And the faces of newcomers, when a whole bunch of us emerged from one locker door like clowns out of that little car at the circus–priceless.
God, the laughs we had. And also, we had that kiss. The one that gives me that special smile, over 40 years later.
Best birthday gifts, ever, those little notes from the man who stepped out of my dreams so long ago.
Stranger than fiction, indeed…