June, 1984 , Lynn, Massachusetts
I covered a lot of territory in 1984, emotionally and physically, most of it with no clue where I was going. From mid February to April Fool’s Day, I pushed the limits of the Slant 6 engine on my 1976 Dodge Aspen, burning rubber on Route 24 South with each desperate phone call from Kathe Camara in Fall River. Ultimately she dropped me for Deacon Banks, EST graduate self proclaimed Shaman who represented everything I found distasteful about the New Age/Course On Miracles clique that was starting to gain prominence on Cape Ann. I began to feel like my Gloucester days were numbered and I started to spend more time closer to my work in Lynn. I started hanging out with a coworker from the West Lynn group home. She was an ordained minister from a liberal Methodist church, drove a taxi in Hamilton, and lived alone in an apartment a couple of doors down from the Salem Public Library. Geri was eleven years older than me and told me she had been in a relationship with a woman eleven years her senior for the past…eleven years. I tried to fathom if there was a lottery number to draw from those coincidences as we clinked glasses of Chablis in her kitchen…what was left of the wine that I hadn’t thrown in with the blue Atlantic mussels I had sautéed for her. We became lovers quickly and for a few weeks seemed to have a language all our own. I had come to her on a rebound feeling pretty devastated and the curious thing was in almost no time we were together, incredibly close and unfettered by nothing. Well, almost nothing. Geri was the first woman I had ever dated who had hair shorter than mine, and in public she was sometimes mistaken for a boy. Guys would yell slurs and I’d think “Ha- if they only knew what she looked like outside of the faded denim jacket, t shirt and old carpenter jeans that were her trademark”. For a while this was great, then uncertainty started to creep in. She cancelled plans with me to go see her former lover Rosa, who she said was very sad and missed her since we had started seeing each other. I said okay, resolved to be trusting but doubts were settling in, and my recent history left me with some trust issues. Around this time I worked some shifts at another one of our group homes, across town near the Lynn Shore Drive. I met this girl from Revere named Marie. Like Geri, she was petite, just over five feet tall. Unlike Geri she was younger, a few weeks shy of her twentieth birthday. Marie was breaking up with her long term boyfriend, a biker with connections to the Boston Mafia Angulo gang (I would later learn that Marie’s dad was also involved with the gang, which may explain why she had gone through such a tough time breaking up with that guy.
We went from hanging out after work talking and sharing our poetry to going out for drinks (back then the Drinking Age in Massachusetts was 18) and one thing led to another. I didn’t want to make the Lady Cabdriver cry, but something inside said the time to move on had come. Geri returned to Rosa. Marie and I began a rollercoaster off and on again romance with highs that were ecstatic and lows that were agonizing. For her birthday I took her to see Eurythmics and Howard Jones in Boston. On our days off we’d hang out at the Lynn beach, since her ex was usually with his motorcycle gang at Revere Beach. We went to see classic films like Prince’s “Purple Rain” & “The Muppets Take Manhattan”. For a few weeks I thought my heart had reached its destination. I soon realized this was just on more turn on the road.