An Excerpt from "San Fran '60s"
Haight-Ashbury District, San Francisco
Summer of Love, 1967
"What's that?" I asked of tablets in a baggie she held up to me.
"Acid," Ruth replied. "I took it from Ben's stash when I knew I was really moving out. It's very good. Wanna take some tonight?"
Already her body was a miracle to me. She was my second lover.
"Yeah," I murmured.
We were in my cramped, dingy bedroom in the Mission District flat I shared with three other San Francisco State students in that spring of 1967. Tonight was the one-week anniversary of her moving in with me. I was just a year and a half out of a redneck Sierra mill town, and by comparison, Ruth, three years older and a New Yorker, was a sophisticated woman. This invitation to share the acid was only the latest in what seemed unending surprises from her.
Like when she wouldn't give me her address, even after we started having sex. She said she was moving and would give me the new one when she got it. When I asked for her phone number she said she didn't have a phone. I accepted all this as just another inscrutable quirk of chicks, those aliens from another gender.
I always knew if I really wanted it, I could find her address in the student directory out at State, where we had met in a philosophy class. And that day I was ripped off for the ninety dollars she gave me to buy a kilo of grass, I really wanted her address.
She lived in Diamond Heights, and when I got off the streetcar at Castro Street, I didn't wait for the connecting bus but took off on foot, propelled by anguish, long strides gobbling hills. When I eventually arrived at her restored Victorian and pressed the doorbell, I was panting.
"Hi. Ruth here?" I asked the guy who opened the door: blonde, lean, late twenties, tie loosened.
"Yeah. She's in the kitchen." He turned toward the kitchen. "Ruth!" Then back to me. "C'mon in." Then back to the kitchen. "Somebody here to see you!"
I stepped around him and saw the kitchen, through the tasteful living room and tasteful dining room, and took off for it. When Ruth saw me, she stared an incredulous instant, and then threw her head back and laughed uproariously. I surprised even myself by taking her in my arms and kissing her. Her stifled laughter gurgled under the kiss as her eyes went to the enraged, speechless blonde guy pacing behind us.
She then quickly and deftly walked me to the front door while I stuttered, "I, I promise ... I swear ... I'll pay back every cent. I got burned. We got burned. The money for the kilo is gone..."
All the while she said in soothing tones, "Don't worry about it . . . It's not important . . . I'll come over tomorrow and we'll talk about it ... "
"... It was an old friend ... But a junkie ... I should have known ... "
" ... You'll see ... There's no reason to be upset . . . Believe me . . . "
"Husband?! Wow!" I said to her the next day across my kitchen table.
"Who did you think he was?" she asked with a broad grin, savoring the absurdity of the situation again.
"I dunno. A roommate I guess. Just a ... nosy ... ill-tempered ... roommate."
"He was furious after you left." A mischievous grin grew into more of that groovy laughter. Then she was suddenly serious. "He had no right to be mad. I've been telling him for over a year I was going to move out."
"Why don't you move in here?" I asked.
She looked toward my bedroom and said, "It's kind of small."
"Then stay here while we look for our own place."
The next day Ruth moved her clothes and books and records into my place, and then on Friday, she suggested we finish our first week with LSD. It would be the second time I had taken acid and the first time for both of us to have sex on acid. We dropped after dinner.
"Hey," I asked while drying a plate. "Did you ever notice how we get weird looks sometimes on the street. I mean, you have shorter hair than me and I'm taller than you and if someone can't see your breasts, like if you have a coat on or something, then it looks like we're two cats walkin' arm in arm or hand in hand ... Oooooo ...."
"Is it coming on?" she asked grinning.
I could only nod. Luscious soothing tremors ran along my spine and I closed my eyes to savor them. When I opened my eyes, she was studying me, and when our eyes met, we laughed. I felt an increasing weightlessness which I tested with several slight jumps. Then I felt giddy and started laughing.
"It's so funny," I said.
"Just. . . just. . ." I sighed deeply. ". . . Being here . . ."
We finished the dishes and dried our hands and I reached for her and we began kissing. But this was always somewhat ungainly while standing because of the difference in our heights, so we unclenched and went over to the mattress. Beside it on the floor was a candle in an empty wine bottle layered with wax rivulets.
I crouched beside the candle and struck a match but became so mesmerized by the flame that it went out before I could light the wick. And even with the second match, I didn't remember to touch it to the wick until I felt the heat on my fingers. Then I began the one-legged jig of trying to take off jeans while standing.
When I was finally naked, she too was just finishing and I stared unselfconsciously. By now I had seen her naked lots of times but never like this. Then our gazes met and we broke into giggles and lay on the mattress. In fluid motions hands roamed bodies and did whatever they felt like doing and it was exactly what the other wanted. We stared into each other's huge pupils, dilated to no iris at all, while savoring the delicious friction as it reverberated through us.,
"I. . . I can't. . . tell . . ." she gasped, ankles crossed on my back, "where . . . you begin . . . and ... I end."
This is a short excerpt from a story in a collection of autobiographical short stories, "San Fran '60s," about San Francisco in the Sixties and the birth of the hippies. It is based on the voluminous journals of retired journalist and teacher, M.W. Jacobs, and with its sequel "More San Fran '60s," is available in e-book and now paperback on Amazon.
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