Linda 6/23/20

Memories by Richard Bleil

Linda is a long-lost friend of mine. We weren’t important in each other’s lives for a terribly long time, but when she was, she was such an important part of my life. This is why I’m writing about her today. I guess this is just a tribute piece for myself as the odds of her actually reading it are next to zero.

In Boston, 1987, I moved into a house with ten other roommates to begin my doctoral degree. Among the roommates was a woman who seemed to have a huge crush on me, who started sleeping with another roommate before anything between us could happen, although, to be fair, I don’t think it ever would have. We had an attorney with such vile foot odor that he wouldn’t even keep his shoes in his own room, instead opting to leave them in a common area basically turning it into an uninhabited toxic wasteland. He did start dating a woman that was very cute, though, but screamed so loud that you could hear her from three blocks away. I mean that literally, because the “T”, Boston’s public transportation system, had a stop three blocks from the house, and I wondered what I was hearing one night when I walked home from there. We had a very cool photographer who moved to Boston from New York for the “slower pace”, a chiropractor who insisted that his practice could cure any medical issue, including AIDS, and a musician who smoked about a pack a day. But, not tobacco.

And counting these, we had some other roommates who for some reason had less of an impact on my mind.

I remember the first time I met Linda. She was petite, black hair, blue eyes and stunningly gorgeous. I walked into the larger but older kitchen in the front of the house ready to introduce myself. Linda was standing at the open refrigerator. She looked up at me, and the very first words out of her mouth were, “I’m not going to sleep with you. Hi, I’m Linda.”

How do you respond to that???

I replied, “Okay, then I won’t sleep with you either. My name is Rich.” And, no, we never slept together, but God knows I wanted to. But, frankly, I’m glad I didn’t. She was VERY sexually active, and once she slept with somebody, they didn’t last long in her life. I believe that it is because of an early life experience she described to me where she lived with her drug connection who pimped her and her friend out to others, something she didn’t realize he was doing when she was there but she put it together later. As attractive as she was, there was never a shortage of men who flowed into and out of her life, many of whom were frankly unkind to her. She deserved better.

She was bisexual, which was very fun. Being young and uninformed, I was still sexist and thinking with my mister muster, but so was she. Uh, Mz. Muster, I guess. I mean, there were some physiological difference between us. Anyway, I enjoyed going out with her, seeing an attractive woman, saying at a private tone “I’d do her” and hearing her respond “so would I.”

At the time I had had sex, but, was still inexperienced. My first sexual encounter with anybody other than myself wasn’t until I was about twenty-three, two years after college. When I met Linda, I had only had two lovers in my life, but truly hoped there would be more. She had several lovers even in the year that we lived together, lapping my entire count at least twice. It was fine; she was my friend and I never begrudged her these lovers even after her proclamation when we first met. But, at one point, she mentioned that often they didn’t have condoms. AIDS was introduced to the US in 1981, and it took several years for it to become widely known. As such, AIDS awareness was near its peak around the time that Linda and I were together, so we decided that perhaps we both needed to get condoms. We decided to go to the drug store together to figure it out.

As we stood there, we looked at and debated the variety; lubricated or unlubricated, plain, ribbed, French ticklers and so forth. As we were standing at the display in the middle of the isle, calmly speaking, I noticed a woman pushing a cart down pause momentarily at the isle just long enough to notice we were standing there, and quickly moving on looking quite embarrassed. I didn’t say anything as Linda and I continued our research. A few moments later, I noticed the same woman on the other side of the isle. Again, she glanced down, saw us and quickly moved on, but this time looking quite annoyed. We were closing in on a choice when this poor woman came again from the original direction, quickly just grabbed a box off of the display, threw it in the cart and rushed away. I actually feel bad, because she grabbed smooth unlubricated condoms which are probably not the best choice. Linda and I went with the name brand variety pack, which had two each of three different style lubricated condoms, and we split them. Now that I think about it, she never did tell me what her preference was as I’m sure she had ample opportunities to try them out.

Mine expired.

Linda was a wonderful person, with a heart of gold. If you want to know the truth, I miss her tremendously. We lost track before social media platforms or even common usage of cell phones. I have no idea where she is today, although I did try several times to find her on these social media sites. I truly hope that she found her happiness and is living a blessed life. She certainly deserves it.

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