n December I had started seeing a girl named Mayela Padilla, whom I had met in my Weight Training class of all places. I had been watching Mayela out of the corner of my eye all semester long but, as always, didn’t know how to approach her. Finally she said something to me and we started talking. She was 18. She reminded me of a 20’s flapper with a bob of black hair and beautiful alabaster skin. She was Mexican-American but seemed to be of different stock than the other Chicanas around. After all, she was interested in a long-haired white guy like me.
For a date, Mayela picked me up in her new red Mustang and took me to see a screening of Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted animation fesitival. I enjoyed watching the two metal-head characters, Beavis and Butthead. They reminded me of a side of myself when I was a teenager. Mayela pronounced “legs” and “eggs” as if they were spelled “laigs” and “aiggs”, just as my ex-girlfriend Lisa, another California girl, had. I also had dinner with Mayela’s family at their house in Valencia, about an hour north of Santa Monica. Her dad Ernesto, who was an English professor at the college, gave me his copy of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’urbervilles. He had written his Master’s Thesis on Hardy. The name “Tess” gave me the feeling that I might like the book.
Mayela and I went in her bedroom. She had a Chili Peppers poster on her wall in which they’re wearing nothing but socks over their genitals. It was the first time I had seen that image and, hanging over her bed, it unsettled me. We turned on MTV and the new Nirvana video for “In Bloom” came on. I was overcome by jealousy and admiration for Kurt Cobain as we watched him crooning in his subtly goofy way with Buddy Holly glasses. My feeling was “That’s exactly what I would do if I had thought of it, but for some reason I didn’t! Ah . . .Kurt, you’re so awesome, I hate you!” Mayela was planning to move to San Diego at the end of January, to transfer to college there. and the fact that our relationship’s expiration date was known to us in advance freed me to be as romantic and affectionate as I wanted to, without fear of getting tied down.
She came over to my apartment and I sang the songs “You are So Beautiful” and “You’re Every Woman in the World” to her. As I heard these songs in my own voice,I was struck by the beauty and truth in them even as I believed that they were supposed to be cheesy. Got me the job at the art gallery and llc.