I’ve wavered between telling y’all more about my horse-life, or more about my life-long struggle with anorexia….and decided that I’d give Ana one more round for today, and then on to more horsey adventures!
After we moved too far away for me to get to the stables, I fell into a deep depression. I wrote maudlin poetry, drew frightening pictures, and read dark books like The Death Ship by B. Traven, all of Herman Hesse, and anything I could find to satisfy my morbid fascination with concentration camps, which had burned up most of my ancestors.
I took long walks in the fields with my dog Honey, and would lie on my back in a grove of pine trees for hours, listening to the sigh of the wind in the branches, inhaling the resinous fragrance, losing myself in the sensation of floating out of my body in trance.
On Saturdays, I went to art class at the important art college where my dad was a professor. Since the age of five I had attended Saturday Class. It was Mandatory. The only allowable excuse for not going was to have a fever. Otherwise, I went. On one hand it was part of the culture of my family, to be immersed in the arts, and on the other, I think it may have had something to do with my being out from under my mother’s feet.
As a fourteen-year-old, I attended the Teenage Class, which encompassed the entire high school age group. This was both good and bad. There were many older kids who came with enthusiasm for art and an ambition to get into college-level art school at the prestigious institution where we studied. Then there were others whose main ambition was looking to pick up chicks.
I was so naive, I couldn’t tell the difference between a lamb and a wolf, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Pardon the cliche, but it was true. I knew nothing about sex beyond Caroline’s parakeets and what I had seen the cows and bulls doing in the pasture next to our house . It was horribly bestial, and I ran off whenever I heard the bellows and hootings of the bovine mating ritual.
So when Richard, a lanky seventeen-year-old with shoulder-length honey-colored hair and a shaggy beard approached me, I thought he was just the coolest thing. He talked sweet and said I was beautiful and went on about all kinds of high-falutin’ philosophical bullshit, and asked me out. My mother said no, but he could come over to the house if he wanted to.
He wanted to. I don’t know what was going on in my mother’s head, but she allowed Richard and I to visit in my room, with the door closed. Years later, looking back, I see the scenario and admire Richard greatly for having the self-control not to pounce on me like a cat on an unsuspecting mouse.
But he did have something up his sleeve, and that something was a joint. Oh boy! What a thrill! I had heard all about pot from my dad, who regularly cussed out his students for coming into the studio stoned, and I was dying to see what all the shouting was about.
We lit some incense–a lot of incense, like four sticks–to cover the smell, and then we lit up. It was good stuff. I coughed my brains out. Richard laughed. After I recovered, he gave me another hit. And another. Pretty soon we were both giggling uncontrollably.
“I’m wrecked,” I said, nearly choking with hilarity. Richard exploded into laughter and lost his hit, spluttering.
“I’m hungry!” I said, puzzled at the sensation and the thought. I wasn’t hungry. I was STARVING. I had to have something to eat. NOW. I got up and ran downstairs to the kitchen, leaving Richard upstairs to finish the joint. I opened the fridge. AHA! There was a container of cold spaghetti and meatballs from last night’s dinner. I grabbed it, got two forks, and ran back upstairs.
We giggled and gobbled spaghetti until it was gone. Still hungry, we both tromped downstairs to raid the kitchen.
My mom was lying on the couch reading.
“Glad you guys are having such a good time! Help yourselves,” she chirped. I guess she was happy to see me interacting with another human being, and apparently enjoying it.
We went for the ice cream, took it out to the back stoop, and polished off a half gallon of butter pecan. By then my stomach, unaccustomed to being so stuffed, was complaining loudly. It was time for Richard to go, and I was glad, because I was really afraid I was going to throw up.
Richard very kindly left me a couple of joints for my solitary smoking pleasure. And that was the beginning of my dope-smoking days, and the end of Ana. Sort of.