Segment 14: When aThird World Came West

I said goodbye to Sam four days later and left out the front door and walked down the sidewalk up towards the student union to walk behind it where my linguistics class was. I’d left him my car to go searching around for different jobs but he didn’t say when he was gonna be back and I periodically reached into my brown knitted sack purse to feel for my vibrating phone because I thought maybe he’d need help getting on I-95 or the beltway or maneuvering around Graham which had some delis and restaurants he might consider. After I’d confirmed that there were no missed calls I continued up the sidewalk pavement ramp and glanced at the oblong green fountain with the Phoenix bronzed statue flaring it’s wings in the middle of the water, in front of the administration building. Three years ago I’d switched schools come home for awhile, written letters back to my roommates and friends in Boone suggesting we keep and touch but that I wouldn’t be coming back, then transferred from the small school adjacent to Grandfather mountain and saddled in between the Bible belt and hippies that didn’t take baths, to follow my boyfriend Benny to this school. But we’d broken up since then and now I got the bug in me to get up and go again, enroll in a different place maybe Miami or someplace for where Sam had more fun or perked his eyes up to, where he felt at home. I’d started rocking my legs, fidgeting with my purple beaded star of David necklace at the dinner table when the other night for example, I served him hot potato soup and salad. He seemed restless, acting like he was on a break at intermission getting ready for the fireworks and death defying acrobatics that I had no idea or means of how to display. Since there were slim pickings at school and only a handful of students were here in the summer and none of the really fun ones, there really wasn’t much to do with him other than play pool at the West End or drink with the scruffy bearded locals at the Lighthouse.
On Tuesday night we walked up there to the Lighthouse, passing the garage look-alike apartments where some bohemian girl with bronzed bangle earrings that I always starred at in my American literature class and I got to hang with, lived. The inside of the bar smelled of a cement basement and the conversation two men were having echoed everywhere except by the three younger guys in sunglasses underneath the bright light bulb playing 8-ball at the top heavy pool table in the back . We sat down in the middle of the bar, Sam and I, I bought us some beers and then asked what was up with his story. He said he’d gone around the country so far and that this was his next stop. His favorite place on looking back was Santa Cruz because there were the waves and he liked to surf, there were parties on cliff’s hillsides, pretty much everyone had weed there and those that didn’t got it from people who shared it. I sipped more from the lip of my bottle staring at the grey cracks in the wall next to a poster of the three Greensborough bands jamming here next Thursday. Around the corner was Sammio’s and I was getting hungry. I tried not to think of the hunger in the pit of my stomach but I don’t think it was from food. I had cliffs I hadn’t seen before, hippies that I wanted to meet, ecstasy I wanted to get high off of, and a happier Sam that I wanted to make out with. North Carolina was not where it was at.

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