Sitting here listening to music from 1977 thinking about 1977, my 1977, not 1977 in general. It was a year. I turned 25 in January. The dangerous-yet-not-evil X was visiting his family in Colorado Springs. He wasn’t living with me. The marriage was breaking up (for good reason) and at that time he was a grad student in Laramie at the U of Wy. So, my friends (they weren’t really friends) were there and we were sitting around on the obligatory residual avocado green carpet in my one bedroom apartment a block from the University of Denver drinking champagne and listening to music.
What else do grad students do?
One of my guests was a beautiful, brilliant man with a developing interest in me in spite of the complexities in his nature (he was gay).
The party decided to take the champagne and go out in cars (not smart but…) and we headed to a building where a few years earlier I’d gone with. my mom and grandma to hear Lena Horne and another time to hear the Mills Brothers. It wasn’t that club anymore. Someone else drove my car. I was in the back seat with the wine. At some point I tossed a glass out the window. We got to the — I don’t know what to call it — it was a disco with a back room right out of Goodfellas. As Peter took me through the place, showing things to me, though I was bleary-eyed drunk, he said, “What’s this, Martha?”
“They’re gambling. It’s a casino.”
“What I like about you is you’re so real.” Peter said that a lot but I never knew what he meant. Everything about that place was illegal. Open after hours. Gay dancing. Gambling.
We sat around for a while on some opulent sofas then left. Dawn was breaking as I pulled my VW into the parking space at my apartment building. I came in, exhausted, sober and mildly confused. I knew I was heading into a trajectory like that which sent the moon astronauts on their way back to Earth, but this trajectory wouldn’t bring me home.
Alone in my apartment I put on an Emmylou Harris album and headed for the bathtub. I had to teach in an hour.