Hamilton Part 3 (Image: “Time to step-up”)

Sue-Anne (Susan’s mother—a year or two older than Greg in 1969) practically sprints to his table.

“Hi Greg,” she purrs and bends over to share her cleavage as she places a napkin on the table, “what would you like sweetie?—you just name it,” she says breathlessly, staring directly into his eyes.

“That’s sweet of you love,” he says with a flicker of a smile, “please bring me a ‘Jenny Cream Ale.’”

“One cold Genesee coming up,” Sue Anne pronounces and hurries away, glancing back over her shoulder as she almost collides with another table.

The beer arrives—Sue Anne pours it into a glass for him. Greg absent-mindedly thanks the girl—he is lost in thought. He is remembering the last time he spoke with Sam—in Rome, NY. about a month before—and it was not a pleasant occasion. That part of Greg’s story has been written.

It was after a dinner date—the night before he was to leave for Colgate. Greg had met two Delta, Delta, Sigma sorority girls from Colgate a few weeks previous and it was obvious to Sam he was taken with them.

After the date—which went badly—Greg let Sam off in her driveway. Here’s that part of the story:

Sam leaned over to speak directly through the open driver’s side window. “Look me in the eye Greg,” she went on, “Look me in the eye and say you love me, that you’re not tired of me and that you’ll be coming back to be with me every chance you get.”

Speaking through gritted teeth she hissed at him, “And tell me—promise me—that sometime in the next 24 hours you won’t be fucking one of those Delta whores.”

Greg was taken aback—even shaken. This was a side of Sam he’d never seen before. Red with embarrassment he could not make eye contact with her—it flashed through his mind this would never happen to his hero James Bond. He said nothing but started the car and put it in gear. She watched him—watched his eyes—he would not look at her. Greg looked into the rear view mirror and carefully backed the car out of the driveway into the street. Finally—glancing briefly at her through the passenger-side window—he smiled self-consciously and pulled away.

As she watched the red tail lights disappear down the street she felt certain that there would be another girl—one of those Delta girls—occupying the seat she just left—within 24 hours.

She was wrong. It would be less than 12 hours.

So yeah—Greg has been partying his brains out since he started at Colgate a few weeks ago and has a lot of unresolved feelings about Sam who he knows in his heart is a very special girl. Greg is away from parental control for the first time and has a fairly generous stipend from his scholarship. He answers to no one except his academic advisor and spiritual mentor Dr. Samuel Freeman—chairman of the Religion and philosophy department and a former Zen monk. Since arriving at the school Greg has drunk more alcohol, smoked more pot and bedded more girls in two weeks than he had in his life prior to starting at the University. The weekend at the hotel with Sam and the other couple would not come until fall semester of ’69—a few months after he nearly destroyed himself.

Here’s that part of the story:

He started awake—falling off the ragged couch he’d been sleeping on. Looking around he found himself enveloped in darkness—he had no idea where he was or how he’d gotten there. Lashing out blindly he stood up, tripped over something in the blackness and fell, briefly stunning himself. He lay with his face pressed into a carpet smelling of urine and filth. Looking around the darkened room there was no way to orient himself. Trembling and nauseous, he could hear snoring and muttering from others somewhere in the foul darkness.

“Lost,” he thought in panic. “Lost—how do I get out of here?’ Turning around wildly he fell again—this time to his knees—as a hellish blackness crushed his soul and mind. Grasping the edge of a small table next to the couch to pull himself up—something sharp stabbed into his right hand. With his other hand he pulled it out, recognizing it as a syringe. He suddenly felt a cleansing breeze flowing across his face and realized a window was open somewhere. He stood again—moving cautiously—feeling his way—toward the unseen open window. Finding it he stuck his head out—in the moonlight he could see the ground was only 4 or 5 feet below him.

He slipped through the window and fell lightly to the earth, landing on his feet. He could hear the night sounds of the countryside—crickets, a small stream flowing over rocks somewhere, late summer leaves rustling in distant trees. A solitary car passed by on a nearby road. Looking around he thought again to himself, “Lost—how do I get out of here?” From somewhere in the darkness—very faintly on the clean night air—he detected a familiar fragrance.

“Lily of the Valley”—Sam’s perfume.

End Part 3

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