“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just thought you needed to know, that’s all.”
Peaches said nothing as we sat on the floor of her vestibule. I saw her eyes water up a little and I wanted to cry myself.
“I still love her” I continued without looking at the young girl I had shared such an intimate moment with at the young age of 19.
“I guess I never stopped loving her, if you want to know the truth.”
“You were her best friend in high school and you knew her as much as anybody did” I said, asserting a belief that neither one of us could deny. “I would break up with her, but we’d always got back together every time. You knew that when we first dated.”
“I should have been honest with you. But I liked you, I still like you. And wouldn’t hurt you for anything. But I don’t love you. I love Peggy, and I guess I always will.”
Looking back, I now know what might have caused me to speak this way to that young woman. I had dropped a tab of acid earlier in the evening and was under the influence of drug I knew next to nothing about!
Acid is lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as LSD for those unfamiliar with the terminology from the 1960s. Who knew that night that my neighborhood friends in North Philadelphia would hold a surprise going away party for me and my good friend Carl Disler. We both got drafted and were leaving the next day. We sang in our Doo Wop street corner harmony group and would get through boot camp in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, together, and somehow reunite in Fort Polk, Lousiana years later with him returning from Vietnam and me leaving for the war zone following jump school and training to become an officer.
But taking acid was not what it was cracked up to be. I knew it could lead to a higher level of thinking and feeling. I read books suggested by Timothy Leary in the tumultuous 60s. But I didn’t foresee that it would work as a truth serum, forcing me to admit to a young woman I briefly dated that I was still in love with my high school sweetheart on the eve of getting drafted and the Vietnam War.
I never did get back together with my high school sweetheart. She married another and so did I. Even when we got back together, it just wasn’t the same. Still, I’ll never forget the love I felt that evening in June of 1968. I remember it today as if it was yesterday.
Or am I just having another one of those LSD flashbacks?