Chapter 33: Death of Grendel the Final Victory
I called Rocky after finishing my mid-term exams. I had planned to contact him sooner, only those first weeks were so overwhelming that I had no time for any social engagements. He seemed disappointed by this, but pleased that I was finally established and near. It never occurred to me that he would think that I had forgotten him, or that I might not even call.
Late November he invited me to his Malibu home for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I met Inez, his latest young wife, his two-year-old daughter, Elaina, and his beloved faithful companion, Babe, a motley colored Pit Bull, spanning four of his previous failed marriages. Inez was beautiful and charming, a true California blonde, only a few years older than me. I found myself consciously resisting the oedipal urge to see this vital woman in any other way than as my father's wife. That first evening went well. It was a unique experience to eat Thanksgiving turkey outside in the open air overlooking the calm Pacific under a canopy of stars. The full moon appeared as a spectacular guardian dragging a shimmering net through the sparkling water, as I imagined a myriad of dancing silver fish. It was so serene a setting, that we spoke little as we sat around the dimly lit table each thinking thoughts, words insufficient to express the magnitude of this, nature's phenomenon at the edge of eternity.
"You have a beautiful home, and a beautiful view," I said, breaking a long silence between us.
"We like it," Inez replied, hugging her husband's shoulder. "The only problem is that we live so far from anything."
I did not say to her that I personally considered this isolation an asset. A glint in my father's eyes revealed that he, too, preferred the solitude.
"Yes, I have everything a man could want," said Rocky contentedly.
"What good is it to possess the whole world, if one should lose his soul?"
The words just popped out. It was as though someone else said them, and I knew who that someone else was. A long uncomfortable silence passed between us. It quickly became obvious to me that the Holy Spirit had pierced my father and his wife to the heart. I tried to do damage control, but the more the conversation continued the more adversarial and defensive Rocky and his wife. It was near midnight by the time I returned home. I felt terrible and altogether perplexed as to what had happened. As I traveled along the empty Pacific highway, rounding the blind point of Leo Carrillo, an inexplicable feeling of jubilation and expectancy overshadowed me. Spontaneously, I began praising God in the spirit. A peace descended that surpassed my understanding. I was not exactly joyful, only that I knew I was not alone and that time had no boundaries.
Ron and I continued our Saturday night excursions. Looking back on it, I suppose we appeared an awkward pair to the women we met. As I have already noted, Ron was a large husky man, whereas, I was short and stocky in contrast. Nevertheless, it made things simpler. The women attracted to his type, were rarely attracted to me, and vice versa. Seldom were we in direct competition. Gradually, I began drinking again, not like before, but enough to fit in. My newly acquired favorites were Seagram VO and Courvoisier, both drinks I managed to nurse artfully for hours with an air of sophistication. In the world of bars and brothels, appearance is everything: a man able to hold his liquor somehow more appealing to a certain breed of woman, than a tea totter. I suppose I should have recognized the author's deceptive signature, but youth, blinded by the silver of the lining, becomes altogether oblivious to the purpose of the web.
During the last two weeks of December, I got a part-time job delivering mail in Beverly Hills for the U. S. Post Office. The hours were long; however, the work easy, paid well, and introduced me to how the wealthier class really lived. Bored married housewives in chiffon gowns and slippers often appeared at the door with offerings of cookies and milk, and on more than one occasion seductive invitations into their parlors. But I was on the clock, my mind still too pure to consider having an affair with a married woman. Although, I admit that there were times when the temptation was almost irresistible, as these adorned sorceresses used shinning hooks of silver and gold to lure my young fantasies. Yet, as beautiful and enticing as they were, I saw these temptresses for what they were: Sirens of worldly desire sent to blind unstable souls. However, like mighty Samson, who fell prey to the charms of Dalia, I would not always see so clearly, nor would I remain strong.
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Distance Traveled: A Chronicle in TimeNon-Fiction
This is an autobiographical novel beginning in a small town in old south America. It records the life of a young man growing up in the shadow of the escalating Viet Nam war and eventually joining the United States Marine Corps to become a part of t...