I liked to go see the country and it was nice to have someone like Nina to share these little trips.
We didn't just hang around San Francisco and get high.
We went to Death Valley, up the California coast to Oregon, down to Big Sur and a lot of different spots.
There is a part of Death Valley that has little canyons which go a ways back in.
We ran after each other in these and laughed when one of us would catch the other.
I think the other 'tourists" hated us butt, the younger ones wanted to do the same.
We'd find out of the way places along the coast where we could be totally alone together.
It was a different existence to be alone together somewhere where you couldn't be seen and could hear the waves crashing.
Only memories today butt, they're mine and I savor them still. I hope that, wherever Nina is, she feels them the same way.
I would talk to her about not going to school and she said that she wasn't happy at home or in school.
I was always careful to not do any of that "you should" stuff that I, myself hated when I heard it from someone.
So we had a nice relaxed and loving relationship.
Nina was very gentle and quiet. She was what you could term 'ladylike".
She didn't cuss and, because of all that, I pretty much watched how I spoke to her.
We were like this for almost a half of that year and wanted it to be forever.
One afternoon, while we were in the Haight, Nina saw someone she new from L.A.
She really didn't want to talk to the other girl butt, the girl saw us so she had to talk to her.
The girl told Nina that her brother was back and had asked about her.
So, when we got back to the house, Nina called her mother and spoke with her brother.
I was never an eavesdropper so I waited till she was done and knew she'd want to talk about it.
She told me that her brother was going to stay around L.A. and that her mother was going to get married.
She was going to marry a cop.
Well, that was not what either of us wanted to hear because of our lifestyle and Nina's knowing him and how he was.
She said that she had to go home to see her brother and to at least show up for the "wedding".
She didn't want to go. I didn't want her to.
I drove with her down to L.A. and, since we didn't want to be at her mother's house together, I gave her cab fare for the ride of about a mile.
I went back to S.F. lonely as hell.
All I could think of the entire time she was gone was her. I still think of her a lot, even after all this time.
She called me from L.A. and told me that she missed me and was miserable and lonely.
So was I. Yes, so was I.
I could hear the sad lonliness in her voice.
It seemed to cry out~~~
After what felt like 6 years of empty lonliness, Nina came home 6 days later.
Yeah, home. Our home.
Her birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks and I wanted it to be special.
After all, an 18th birthday is usually pretty special.
I had bought a couple of things for her, one was actually a dress~~in those times.
Not many younger people wore stuff like that back there and then butt, we both liked it and she looked fantastic.
We went to dinner and I had gotten flowers for her. I was one of those kind of guys after all.
I still am.
I remember that night like no other night in my life.
We had a really nice evening together and, we knew it would continue when we got home.
We would often spend what seemed like hours just holding each other while leaning against the counter in the little kitchen.
It was soft, warm. Loving.
We were there entwined when I told her happy 18th birthday.
Nine looked into my eyes for a few seconds and seemed confused and hesitant.
She said, "It's my 16th."
I didn't say a word.
What could I possibly say with the feelings I had for her?
Yeah, it made me think some thoughts that shouldn't have had to be there butt, they were.
She told me that she was afraid that I wouldn't want to be with her if she told me sooner.
Had I known before everything, I wouldn't have let things get like the way they had, it's true.
Or was I fooling myself? Would I have fallen for her anyway?
Butt, here we were, now, like this, so involved and entwined with each other.
I was 28 at the time. Nina was 16.
There are laws.
There are laws that don't take anything like love or caring into consideration.
Her mother married a cop.
Her brother knew a little about us.
I didn't know the slightest about being in a situation like this.
What do you do?
These feeling we had were real. They were legitimate.
Fuck the laws. We were in love.
The hardest conversations I ever had in my life were the gentle, loving talks we had while holding each other and wanting it to be forever.
I knew it wouldn't be. It couldn't be.
If this was another place, even in that time, it would have been what it should have.
Butt, here we were in up tight America with laws made by up tight unfeeling "adults" who were empty of true compassion for what was real between so many loving couples.
Some because of a situation like ours.
Some because of hateful racist laws.
It is still much like that.
Our hearts, so closely entwined that they beat as one were breaking, afraid, worried, frightened.
Remember, as I will always, what I said about her when we were new~~
What we did will be told in part VI