Linda had started her freshman year in a Boston-area college and I was a sophomore, commuting to Stony Brook from home. We were sort of an item, but I knew she could never be monogamous. Before she left for college, she said that her parents had a rule that she could go out with me on only one of the two weekend evenings. I knew she was also seeing someone else. I assumed that if I were from a wealthy family, and had an esteemed pedigree, then this supposed “rule” would not have been in effect.
Linda had come home for the Thanksgiving weekend. Before we went to a friend’s party, I had decanted whiskey from a bottle my parents had stored in that far-out-of-the-way corner cabinet under the kitchen counter into a blue-glass mouthwash bottle. At the party, we finished the contents of the bottle, murmured our slurred good-byes, and I drove drunk in my Ford Falcon – perhaps in a blackout because I had no memory then or ever about driving – two towns over to a parking spot in Brightwaters where we proceeded to have hot – but unprotected – sex in the back seat.
During the week after she got back to school she called me in tears to tell me she was “late.” I thought my life, crappy as it was, was over. It was bad enough I was in the midst of the dreaded sophomore slump, having changed my major from mathematics to pre-med – largely because of her – and then, after carrying a D in biology and failing and dropping Calculus III, changing my major once again, this time to psychology, which required the fewest number of credits so I could graduate on time.
And now this.
Quit school and get married? Somehow find someone to perform an abortion? This was the mid-sixties, and those were the only choices.
Fifty-three years later, fifty-three years after I picked up the phone at home and Linda subsequently told me she wasn’t, indeed, pregnant, I searched for her, during an idle moment, on her university magazine’s website. In the alumni section, along with her married name, it noted that she was married to a doctor, had three grown children, and was now a director of a school boards association. On the school boards’ site I found her picture.
The image in my mind of a sultry, long-dark-haired, promiscuous 18-year-old was replaced by one of a rather ordinary 70-year-old, a silver-haired grandmother of seven.
Once you see an image, you can’t un-see it.
Once you remember what happened, you can’t un-remember it.
Despite this, and since I also found her address, for the heck of it I did an online telephone look-up, but there would’ve been a fee. Both my cell and home phone carriers have free “411” service so I could easily find her phone number that way. Or I could always write to her.
But I wouldn’t know what to say.
And I don’t know if “catching-up for old time’s sake” would serve much of a purpose.
Rev 4 / February 12, 2017
February 2017 Copyright © 2017, Lloyd B. Abrams