I still have her letters. She lived in Minneapolis and I was in Chicago -- 400 miles apart -- in the summer of 1965. I drove up there one night, all night, a two lane highway. I remember the blinding lights of the trucks coming the other way. I remember coming into Eau Claire, Wisconsin, staggering tired at 3:30 a.m., to get some coffee. I was driving a 1960 Ford -- My Dad's. I just took it. I had to see her.
I got to their house shortly after sunrise. They laughed -- her parents -- and they let me in and I slept on the couch. I got to stay for a few days and we made love when her parents weren't looking and they were nice about it.
We broke up the next year. She couldn't come back to college anyway, she had to go someplace else. Then she married John Cronin, some kind of insurance guy. He was good, normal, tall, good-looking.
Years later they moved out to Seattle and I saw her again. I still loved her. She had two teenage children. Her older son committed suicide when he was 18. That was in 1989. He went out to the garage, closed the doors, turned on the car, and asphyxiated himself.
I went to the funeral. They buried the boy in the cemetary on Capitol Hill -- the same cemetary that Bruce Lee, the karate star, is buried in. It was most awful funeral I ever expect to attend. It hurt so bad.
She died seven years later -- of grief and anger. She was an incredibly passionate woman. Many times I thought that she should have run wild with me -- because she would still be alive. Instead it was all locked up in her violent, flashing eyes.
Sometimes I think I will look up John Cronin and see how he is doing. He always knew that I loved her and he didn't mind.