I was 20 yrs old and it was early summer in Southern California. Although it had been well over a year since the high school guy and I had parted ways, after 4 yrs or so of being on and off with the same guy, I still had not fully recovered. Part of it was that he really did shake my self confidence to the point where I only saw myself as he did. The other part was all my friends were moving on with their lives, and I was still blocks away from home, at a boring job I hated, and no dream or goal in sight. I don’t know if you know what it’s like to have nothing to aspire to, nothing to dream about…but it’s a pretty sad existence.
I used to leave for hours at a time, usually just taking a bus to the beach and walking around, sometimes to the movies close by so I could catch a cab home. It gave the illusion to anyone paying attention that I still had somewhat of a life. I didn’t. I was alone every time and aimless each time. My only motivation to do any of it was to give the look of having something to do.
I went to see a movie, I don’t remember which one. More than likely it was an indie or something I could cry about without being completely embarrassed. When the movie let out, I decided to walk to Sepulveda Blvd from Van Nuys Blvd to catch a cab closer and save me a couple bucks. It was probably about midnight on a Saturday night and I remember looking into the billiards place and seeing groups of people laughing. I saw a couple making out. I saw people living.
I started to notice a car driving past me slowly. The first time I just assumed they were looking for a place to park, the second time I tried to ignore, but the third time I looked up and it was a man, an older man, looking right at me, with a look that sent the creepiest of chills up my spine. He motioned for me to come to his car, and instead I looked away and walked faster. The car pulled off quick, and I kept my head focused, but I was scared. Because Sepulveda was close and I would be standing there, by myself near the payphone, with nowhere to hide should he come back.
As I walked I kept glancing back, ready to run should I need to. There was someone ahead of me, which gave me a little assurance that maybe nothing would happen. But then I saw the car again…coming right back to me. I didn’t want to show my fear so I just quickened my step and when that car pulled up next to, I was close enough to walk next to that person I had seen earlier. It was another guy, he was about my age and I asked him to please walk with me til the car disappeared. He took a glance to see what I meant, and he grabbed my hand and said “Let’s go.”
The car sped off and I thanked the guy. He walked me to Sepulveda and then insisted on staying with me til my cab came. It was only 20 minutes or so, but in that time I found out that he was actually older, 25 or so. He was from the east coast somewhere (I could swear he said Boston, but my memory is weak) and extremely good looking. He was only visiting Los Angeles, and would be leaving within a week. He was in grad school, wanting to be a writer and loved Dave Matthews Band (something we shared). When he asked me what I wanted to do, I was blank. He smiled and said, “you just need to live and then you’ll know.”
When my cab came, he said, “this is for good luck” and kissed me.
And just as quickly as he was in my life, he was out. I don’t even remember his name or really, what he looks like anymore. But that one kiss brought me back to life. A month later, I was in Philadelphia…and that’s where my life began.