In early September 1973 I was hitchhiking back from the West Coast across the USA. My good friend and I stood on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley with a horde of other hippies flocking home after a summer on the coast. Nick was headed to Oklahoma, where his BMW had been repaired after a crash in Tulsa. My final destination was Boston to complete my final year of university.
I sat on my bag and surveyed a road map of the USA.
Out path would separate either in Cheyenne or Denver and I pointed that out to Nick.
"That's about one-third the way across the country." Nick glanced at the map and lit a cigarette. His girlfriend was waiting in Tulsa. Vickie was a tall blonde. He didn't have to be anywhere for two weeks.
"Looks a long way from here." No one was stopping for the hippies.
"We can crash in a hotel."
"I don't think so." I had $20 in my wallet. Staying at a hotel tonight was out of my budget. "you want to lend me $50."
"Not right now." He had about $100. "But once we get to Tulsa, sure."
"Tulsa's out of my way."
"You're right about that." I stuck out my thumb, hoping to get a ride coast to coast.
A Ford Maverick was stopping at each set of hitchhikers. Each one shook their heads. A woman with long brown hair was behind the wheel. A young girl was beside her. The small car was packed with bags. It rolled up to us and the driver said, "I'm going to Denver. I have space for one person. Either of you want to come with me? I need someone to help with the driving."
"Nick?" The woman was attractive. Her daughter
"You want me to take the ride?"
"No, I have to start school in four days. There's no way I'll make it, if I go to Tulsa."
"So you want to ditch me?" NIck looked hurt.
"I only have $20." The trip across the country took at least four days. $5 a day was almost starvation rations.
"Go. I'll se you in Boston." His smile was a green light and I threw my bag in the back seat of the Maverick.
I felt a little bad about abandoning my friend and rationalized that he had refused lending me $50. Truthfully something about the woman said sex and I was not wrong.
Marilyn was leaving San Francisco, because her husband had joined the gay dance group THE COCKETTES.
"He's more a woman than me."
"Mommy didn't like his boyfriends." The daughter had seen too much for an eight year-old.
"We're going to see a friend, Dorothy, in Denver, then stay with her for a month before heading out to Boston."
"I'm from Boston." I was living in a cold-water apartment in Brighton's Bug Village. "If you need a place to crash, then you can crash with me."
"Cool." The daughter liked my hair.
We drove over the Sierras and crossed Nevada at the car's top speed of 92 MPH. That night we stopped at a rest area in the Bonneville Salt Flats. A few semi-trailers were parked in the desolation. The salt pans stretching in every direction shone under a crescent moon.
Marilyn put her daughter in a sleeping bag, then took out a joint. We smoke the weed and admired the stars. Trucks
"Weren't you scared asking for someone to share the driving?" I traced Orion with my finger. The belt was easy to find in the cosmos.
"I was scared, but I wanted to leave more than that. I spent the last two years with a man who didn't want to be with a woman, because he wanted to be a woman. Dave ended up as Dove and He looked like Peggy Lipton."
"From MOD SQUAD." Everyone wanted her.
"Yes, and no one touched me in that time. San Francisco is going gay. They made me feel ugly. Am I ugly?" Her voice warned of tears.
"You're not ugly." Her face was kissed by the beauty of starlight and I touched her shoulder. I knew how gays treated women. The 1270 in Boston was my secret pleasure. The boys at that gay bar passed me off to the fag hags as 'on the fence'. I stroked Marilyn's neck. "You're beautiful."
"You're only saying that for one reason." She was thinking that reason was sex and shivered under my touch.
"Two reasons." I pushed her down on my sleeping bag and looked over to her daughter. She was dead asleep.
"Which are?" Marilyn hadn't resisted my slight show of force.
"That you want it as bad as me." I unbuttoned her shirt. Her nipples were hard. I licked them.
"More," she moaned under the blessing of the stars.
And I gave her more.
The next morning I woke with the sun rising over distant mountains. I pulled up my jeans and tapped her on the shoulder.
"It's time to go." Sleeping in the open wasn't safe.
"Give me a minute."
She got her daughter up. Marilyn understood the danger. We were in the Mormon lands.
Later that day we stopped at the truck stop in Little America Wyoming. Marilyn and her daughter went into the ladies showers.
The men's section was filled with truckers. Some of them were not straight. I stepped into a shower stall and turned on the hot water. It came out cold and then hosed my back with a scalding outburst.
I hit the wall like spam chucked from a catapult.
The man in the next stall asked, "Do you need any help?"
He was only wearing a smile and suds. His cock was enormous.
"None." I had been in a hot shower before and I knew that his smile was an invitation.
I exited from the showers without toweling dry.
"You ready to go?" Marilyn and her daughter were sucking down a milk shake.
"Whenever you were."
Cheyenne was only three hours away.
Marilyn dropped me on the highway.
"See you in Boston."
"See you then."
She drove south and I headed east.
I never expected to see her again.As usual I was wrong.