Thursday, October 30, 2008

Late Night Negotiations

Five years had passed since we walked across the Hollywood Bowl stage and received our high school faux diplomas (the real ones were given to us in exchange for our caps and gowns the next day).

Duane was back in town for a brief stay before heading up to Washington for graduate school. Me, I had just gotten my teaching credentials and was in the process of looking for a job.

Duane and his parents had moved to Pasadena shortly after high school, to a large house that I thought was a very long distance from the old Crenshaw neighborhood and took forever to get there. Turns out I now live not too far away from there - maybe about two or three miles. He told me that at the time, they actually wanted to buy a house in San Marino but only white people were allowed to purchase houses. I couldn't believe things were still like that, even though it was over 35 years ago. Looks like things have changed wildly since then!

After playing tennis in the San Gabriel Valley heat of summer on a concrete tennis court in the smog, we went back to his house and sat around talking. The subject of Cindy came up. We hadn't seen her for five years and wondered what she was doing. We talked about that for a little while and moved onto other topics.

Later I mentioned this subject to David, who at the time was living in San Francisco. His first reaction: "What if she's married now?"

Married?? We pondered that and actually, why should that be so shocking? After all, it had been five years and who knows what may have happened during that time. We decided to search for her phone number, since one of us should have had it someplace. We wondered if her parents still lived in the same house.

My mind is fuzzy on which one of us found the number and who actually placed the call but it turned out that no, she wasn't married and yes, her parents still had the same house and she still lived with them. We decided to have a reunion.

What it eventually boiled down to was a return to our high school ways, with both Duane and I asking her out. In the spirit of If It's Tuesday It Must Be Belgium, for Cindy it was like If It's Tuesday It Must Be Duane, and If It's Wednesday It Must Be Rickie.

Finally, Duane and I decided that there had to be some resolution to this matter and one of us ought to be honorable and drop out. Naturally he thought I should, and from my point of view, it made sense that he should be the one to cease and desist. The only thing we agreed on was it was silly for both of us to keep calling her.

One Saturday night into Sunday morning we sat in his car in front of Holiday Bowl, arguing the merits of our cases with each other. We should have done the wise thing and gotten a mediator but David was up north and so was Rob and we weren't sure where Rick was so we had to sit there and hash it out between the two of us.

We got nowhere.

My point was that Duane would be leaving for grad school in the near future and so why start up something that would be cut short? His rebuttal - since he had such little time left, why don't I be a nice guy and let him make the most of it.

There were other reasons brought up, like "I asked her first," but our cases kept returning to that main line of reasoning and we had no glove that didn't fit to draw the case to a fast close. Cindy's work schedule extended to the evening on several nights making seeing her in the daytime a viable alternative for Duane but not for me since I had just begun a long-term subbing assignment at Malabar Elementary in East Los Angeles. He had the upper hand on me.

It got to be 4:30 in the morning. My throat was sore and I was catching a cold. Actually we should have known it was futile trying to reach any sort of resolution, and it was especially futile arguing with Duane. I thought about the wisdom of Solomon and how he settled the dispute about a baby whom two women both claimed was their child. He proclaimed that the baby would be cut in half so that each could get their share, at which time the real mother, not wishing harm to her baby, said to let the other woman have it. Had Solomon been in the car with us and said to saw Cindy in half, Duane probably would have tried to bargain to get 60% instead.

So what finally happened? Duane told me that they had gone to the Asian Blend, a club in West Los Angeles. He left her for a while to talk to some other people he knew and when he came back she was with someone else. And that was that. I was speechless when he told me, but when he revealed who that someone else was, it floored me. I won't name the person because it seemed just too unbelievable. However, if I were Duane I would feel pretty foolish, haha..

"Are you serious? Him???" I asked him. Yes, he was, and yes, that guy. We both shook our heads a lot over that one.

Remember the Little Rascals/Our Gang series? That would be Duane and me arguing over Darla one day, then sitting on the curb the next, wondering how she managed to wind up with Butch.

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