Hop on board the time machine I have constructed for this occasion, and go with me back to 1974. To the campus of Central Missouri State Univ. There you will find two friends, one incredibly skinny, long haired boy with tear-drop glasses, a mustache and beard. His name is Russell. His friend, Jeff, is more muscular, with shorter hair, and more conventional glasses. Jeff practices yoga, and studies biology. Russell practices LSD, and studies his dreams. They enjoy joking around about philosophy and religion, and are killing an evening at the student union. They see an item on a bulletin board about a meeting of the Ba’hai faith, an introduction to this obscure religion. It was scheduled that very evening, starting in about ten minutes in a nearby conference room. So they went. Russell scoped out the room and spotted a thin girl, with impossibly dark eyes, long straight hair, and the profile of a Goddess. He just had to get to her before Jeff did, you see, Jeff was fairly confident with girls, had a charming smile and an easy manner that girls liked. Russell was awkward around women, and was self-conscious about his acne scarred face and bad looking teeth. He tended to come on like a combination of Woody Allen and Dennis Hopper. But Russell was in the seat next to this girl in a heartbeat, leaving Jeff looking at Russell partly irritated, and partly impressed. Russell didn’t get much chance to talk to her, but they smiled at each other, and Russell managed to not make too much of a fool of himself. The meeting was led by John, a handsome boy who looked like he could have stepped out of the Brady Bunch. He had an engaging smile, and blue eyes, and didn’t take his off this girl the entire time. Her name was Diane, and she had fallen in love. So when John asked if anyone wanted to come to their ‘fireside’ gathering next week, Diane held up her hand. Russell and Jeff raised their hands as well. They both had their eyes on Diane.
Diane seemed to move in her own world, which emitted it’s own soft, golden light. Her face was a like a painting, in fact, years later, Russell discovered her face in a painting by John Waterhouse. There were many paintings of this same woman, they all looked like Diane, not just in the face, but the entire body was identical. It was as if she were the reincarnation of this woman from the nineteenth century. One painting in particular captured her mystic quality perfectly, the one of the mermaid. Russell’s heart ached when he saw her, he wanted her so badly, she seemed to personify everything feminine and beautiful. He got lost in those eyes. He was falling in love.
When the ‘fireside’ came, Russell and Jeff arrived, each intending to get to know Diane. However, once again, Russell managed to get closer to her than Jeff. Jeff sat for much of the evening glowering at Russell. Russell was fantasic, he pulled out charm and charisma he had no idea he had. All of the self-consciousness left him. Halloween was coming up in a few days, and so Russell and Diane talked about trick or treating, and all of the weird candy you would get. He had her in stitches, she laughed so hard she choked. They were having their own little ‘fireside’ separate from the rest of the group (and to their annoyance, I believe). Russell and Jeff had walked to this event, but when it came time to leave, everyone jumped into a van. Once again, Russell managed to jump in next to Diane. This time, Jeff was visibly angry. Russell didn’t care. As they left the van to go to their separate places, Diane ran over to Russell and whispered “I don’t want our talk to end. Can I come over?” Russell’s heart began to race, but he managed to nonchalantly say “Of course! No problem. Let’s go!” “I’ll catch up with you in a few minutes, I don’t want them to know I’m leaving with you.” she whispered mysteriously with her dark eyes shining. Russell loved this woman. This apparition of the night, (This occurred at 1 am). So, Russell walked toward home, but it felt as though he were floating. Soon, he felt her impossibly soft and warm hand in his, and her mischievous face next to his. His parents were asleep, so they sneaked into the house and then his bedroom. They sat down on his bed. Diane’s eyes were as large as an owl’s, her lips were full and beautiful. Russell couldn’t believe she was sitting right here, on his bed! He was so horny he could hardly stand it. They talked and as he gazed into her beautiful brown eyes, he had an inspiration. He had been practicing kundalini yoga recently, which involved staring fixedly at a single point, while visualizing a ball of light moving up your spine and out the top of the skull. They had been talking about Hinduism and yoga, and so he invited Diane to do a little exercise with him. He told her about Kundalini yoga and Diane was wide-eyed with wonder. Their faces were close, their lips almost met. What the hell was Russell thinking?? One can only speculate as to what Diane thought. However, they sat there staring into each other’s eyes and holding each other’s hands. They didn’t break their gaze for several minutes, and a bright golden light began to fill Russell’s vision. He felt hot. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead saying “I will be with you always.” Russell wasn’t at all sure why he said that. It just came out. It freaked Diane out, she said “This is too heavy. We’ve got to stop doing this. I can’t handle it.” Russell felt like an idiot. “Why did I spoil such a great opportunity to get laid?” he thought. He apologized, and fully expected her to get up and proceed to leave. But she stayed sitting there on his bed, and they were still holding hands. She began to confide in Russell. She said she was in love. She wasn’t looking at him when she said this. Not a good sign. Just as he suspected, she was in love with someone else. She talked about John as Russell thought “she can leave any time now.”. But he patiently listened and even offered some advice. Diane kissed Russell on the cheek and said he was a good friend, and that she had better get back to her dorm. He offered to walk her back and she accepted. They held hands as they walked back to her dorm, but said very little. Russell felt like a jerk. How often do you have a beautiful girl that you are nuts about in your room, no less!, and manage to fuck it up so royally! Then he wondered about her. She’s in love with John and she…..but he didn’t want to think about that. His sacred Diane would never do such a thing!
But this was the first thing Jeff brought up when he told him about his adventure. “Maybe it is just as well nothing happened. She doesn’t seem like the kind of girl you….” “Oh, shut up! You don’t even know her!” “You didn’t give me a chance!” They would argue about her, and Russell would brood and plot out how he could win her love. Diane and Russell spent many times together over the next few months. She would have him escort her to parties, so other guys would leave her alone. Once she sat with Russell as he was tripping on LSD. She sat wide-eyed as he described all of the things he was experiencing. They had become friends. Then Russell blows it a second time. On one awful, lonely, tortured evening, filled with longing for Diane, Russell called her and told he was in love with her, and wanted her. She insisted he wasn’t in love with her. The call degenerated into an absurd shouting match, consisting of Russell saying “I guess I know if I’m in love? How can you say how I feel. That’s crazy! If you don’t love me, that’s fine, but there is nothing you can do about how I feel. That’s my business, not yours!” and Diane would counter “Not my business! Are you out of your mind? You tell me you are in love with me and it’s not my business? Then why tell me? Why couldn’t you have kept it to yourself? We were such good friends! You knew I wasn’t….” she didn’t finish. She knew she was breaking Russell’s heart. Finally the call ended with Diane shouting “Say you don’t love me!!” over and over. Russell just hung up. Ugly scene. Oddly, enough, that wasn’t the end of it. A couple of weeks later, Russell gets a call from Diane. She says she has been thinking about him a lot lately. Russell says “Oh yeah? So what have you been thinking?” in his best ‘I don’t give a shit’ voice. She wouldn’t say. He could hear her breathing heavily. It was almost comical. Russell decided not to take the bate. “Well, if you ever decide you want to actually talk to me, give me a call, but I don’t have time for this.” and hung up. Russell couldn’t believe that he had just rejected her, Diane, the woman of his dreams. It would be so great to say this was the end of it! But, it wasn’t. He called her a few days later and apologized and they agreed to get together. This time Russell contented himself with just being with her, being very careful not to bring up ‘love’ ever again. She did the same. It was like a unspoken agreement. But they weren’t able to recapture the friendship they had before. The conversation often felt forced. Russell still loved to look at her, and appreciate her beauty, her mystery, but the dream was over. He continued to think about her and even called her a few times over the next few years, but it was only a feeble celebration of a flame that had died long ago. Russell remembered fondly when he was deepest in love with Diane. It was winter, cold, and the snow was heavy. There she was, walking to one of her classes, across the quadrangle, an exquisite dream drifting through the winter air, in her long elegant trench coat which accentuated her slim, sexy figure. She was so beautiful. Russell’s mother hated her.