This one is for you Spicy, going to try and counter the venom after you read Ti Amo.
I came to California for my 21st Birthday, it was a gift from my parents. I think they just were really thinking that maybe this way I wouldn't be throwing huge keg/pool parties at the house all summer but it only delayed the inevitable.
I had stayed in contact with a couple of my best friends from my one and only year of high school in California and so I had a place to stay and friends I had not seen in years and it was after all California YES it is ON...
The fellows lived at some apartment complex in Fullerton just off of Harbor called The Pine Tree, oh yeah tons of pines for sure. I hated it, all I wanted to do was to be at the beach and all they wanted to do was play volleyball at the apartments. They were the kings of the sand (at the freaking apartments). Now not to toot my own horn HONK HONK, but I am a better than average athlete and played some VB in high school, so I found a partner and we kicked there King Asses all over the sand...Bump Set Spike...thank you very much...but enough of this dribble...
The guy that I that played with me, ended up being my best friend as the years rolled by like a broken down damn. He passed away one year before my wife did from a type of Cancer that usually only attacks teenagers, he always did refuse to grow up. I Love you Steve, and I miss you beyond fucking words.
Steve asked me later that day if I had ever seen the Rocky Horror picture show, I told him I had but only once and it was in Boston (I tried to go to school in Bean town but found the fun to be way to distracting) and I was a little inebriated (the drinking age was 18 in Mass). He told me that the whole Rocky horror scene was a cool or bitchin or some other term from the 70s, there was an old theatre in Fullerton called the Fox. They alternated between showing Harold and Maude and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I agreed of course not having a clue how that decision would change my life forever.
We got to the theatre and met some of Steve's friends, they told us they had met some chicks at the beach (why didn't we go to the beach I thought) and that the chicks were coming to hook up with them at the movies and then go partying with them. At least that was the plan they had, little did any of us know that fate had other ideas.
As the streams of Frankenfurter's and Brad's and Janet's and all the other characters paraded past on their way into the theatre I started to grow impatient and told Steve I was going in, just then his friend, what's his name is what I called him from that day forward yelled there they are, I turned to look, he was right well sort of...there SHE was, was much more like it....goose bumps on my arm right now, no kidding. She walked right up to me, I looked at her and she had the biggest green eyes and was as Dickie Bird would say cute as a button, she looked right in my eyes and gave me the cutest Cheshire smile I have to this day ever seen in my life. "Hi I'm Joanne" OH MY GOD was all I could think. I of course stammered a bit and came up with the appropriate "Hi I'm Jim" and in an instant old what's his name jumped in between us and whisked her away in the blink of an eye. The next thing I remember was her turning and saying "you coming or what". I realized that I must have been frozen in time for a few moments because they were at the door already and I was still a good 20 feet behind. I responded by trotting after her like a puppy bounding to anyone that calls. She turned again and looked at me and said "Hurry Up".
While the menagerie of The Rocky Horror was playing out in front of us with everyone laughing and throwing toast and shouting along, I was busy stealing glances at this adorable little stranger. It wasn't very long before she noticed that I kept staring, she would catch me and smile that smile, the butterflies would float in my stomach. How do I get rid of what's his name became my newest mission in life, as it turned out I never had to do a thing. All of the sudden the lights came on and they announced that everyone had to get out of the theatre, apparently the fire dept and the police were there, the place was oversold, everyone was smoking weed and they were shutting it down.
In the confusion of the mass exodus the group was disjointed, I ended up side by side with Joanne and her friend Stephanie. We made it thru the crowd to the street and started looking for the rest of the crew. I asked her where she was from, "Ohio" well Pennsylvania really but I live in Ohio now". "I just finished nursing school", I kept asking her questions rapid fire as fast as I could, I wanted to find out where she was staying how long she was staying for but was interrupted by Steve and the others showing up. Their plan was to go get some beer and go back to their apartment, out of nowhere Joanne looked right at me and said "what do you want to do Jim?" From that moment I loved when she said my name. I blurted out that I had just turned 21 and I wanted to go to a bar, some of Steve's friends weren't 21 yet and so they were insisting we go party at their pad. Joanne said and I almost fell over. "I want to go to a bar, with Jim" "Right Steph, you said you wanted to go out, not in, right?". Stephanie agreed with a resounding "If I wanted to go to an apartment party I would have stayed in Cleveland". Off we went with the crew of guys standing mouths agape. We went to Angelo and Vince's, a cool Italian place right on Harbor, we drank wine and talked until the place closed, they drove me back to the apartments, the three of us in the front seat in her Dodge Dart, me in the middle. I still remember how soft her lips were when she gave me that first little kiss goodnight (with Stephanie sitting inches away). I got the phone number of where they were staying and called her the next morning, we went to the beach the that day, and the next, and everyday after until she left to go home, back to Ohio. It was the most fun I had ever had in my life and I wanted more.
The chase was on.
I have thanked Stephanie a million times for making that decision over the years, last weekend as a matter of fact on the phone. She and Joanne were best friends to the bitter end, she still lives in Ohio but we speak often. She stayed at my house for the entire three weeks that Joanne was home under Hospice care, she rubbed my shoulders while I cried and kissed my wife goodbye for the last time. (she reminded me that she had been there for the first kiss too) We laughed for a brief moment and tried to fight through the tears but they just kept coming.
I am convinced that all things happen for a reason, although I seldom know the reason at the time. I forget this over and over, but all I need to do is take a look at my life, and its all the evidence I need.