With the exception of the last line above, everything changes after a boy starts to enter his pre-pubescent stage. As you might have guessed from what you read about me in Life #1, I thought I had matured fairly quickly in this category, and did not need to wait till the age of 11 to start having a change of opinion towards the opposite sex.
Again, what were my father and stepfather thinking of by leaving Playboy magazines around the house?
By the time my second life had begun, I had already gone almost "all the way" with Dominique, plus I already had two crushes before her.
The most recent crush I had was Dominique’s friend Dawn, who as you should be familiar by now, had been the “apple” of my junior eye since the day I stepped foot into OLQM. She was the only girl able to quell my sorrow from moving out of Medford, Long Island, and losing Tracy Marrone, the girl that I ever shared my first kiss with. Unlike Tracy or Dawn, Dominique was more of like a hit-and-run. But outside of the memories of those three girls, my second life was sadly inactive. Almost as if the God of Love had seen how far ahead of the other soon-to-be-cupids I had gotten, and decided to put the brakes on me.
While still living in Rego Park, Oscar Armengol, friend of my father, had sent his daughters, Lizzie and Jackie from Argentina on up to New York for their summer vacation. Being in the southern hemisphere, Argentina celebrates it’s hot summers at the same time that we endure our bitterly cold winters. They were here for the Christmas and New Year’s celebration and slightly beyond.
(from the left: Jackie Armengol, Dad the Burger Sultan of Cairo, and Lizzie Armengol)
Jackie was very bubbly and excited about life, while Lizzie, her old sister, was more laid back.
I took to Lizzie immediately.
She had a certain way about her that smacked of a person with a little bit of an attitude. She had bedroom eyes, and was far more developed, thus voluptuous when compared to her younger sister. My confidence in myself was at an all-time high, and I figured that something might happen between her and I….provided that I made the right moves of course.
But those right moves never came.
Every time I talked to her, the conversation would end badly as she got somewhat nasty (and no, not that kind of nasty). It made it hard for me to want to be with her, but at the same time she had the juciest set of lips (and hips) that I’d ever seen. Perhaps I should have been ashamed to think about her in this way. After all, she was here at my father’s behest. I don’t think it was my dad’s intention was to have his friend’s daughters flying up 9000 miles just for the courtesy of me to molest them.
But it happened anyway.
It was a Saturday, and I remember the details behind how this had occurred, but my parents and my sisters were coming home. Lizzie had stayed behind, I think, because she might have not been feeling well, again, I don’t know. I was home also. My testosterone was raging for her. Shame was one of the furthest things from my mind. All I kept thinking about was what it would be like to plant a nice big wet kiss on her.
She had been fairly decent that evening. We did not fight, much. She played a cassette with a song from her favorite recording artist, Eric Clapton (I guess Eric was a global institution, even back in 1979). Cocaine was the song, and she played it over and over again.
It was already dark outside from the short winter days in New York, and we were relaxing on the sofa in the living room. There was something intimately sensual about her sprawled out over the couch where I slept at night.
Then a bomb exploded in my rabid little brain of mine. And suddenly out of nowhere…
“Lizzie, I want to show you something.”
She looked at me a little puzzled and in her heavily Argentinian-accented English said “Okay.”.
I motioned for her to get up, and follow me. And she did. I went to my sisters bedroom and on the floor in the center of the room, with both cribs to either side of me, I sat down in the lotus position. Then I instructed her to do the same and she did.
“What are we doing in the dark?”, she asked.
I did not turn the lights on, and with the fact that the sun was already setting outside, the only light that we had was from that of the sunken living room. I had the left my sister’s bedroom door open so I could still see her face and body and she me.
“Have you ever practiced meditation?” I asked
“No. What is that?”
“It’s when you lay flat on your back and just stare at one thing. You’ll be able to feel your spirit. Try it. It’s really cool.”
Lizzie who had copied my squatting position, decided to lie flat on her back as asked.
“Just wait. You’ll see.”
About a minute went by. I could see by the look on her face that she was beginning to lose patience, and was getting slightly annoyed.
“How much longer do I have to wait?”
“Not much longer.”
“Well, I don’t feel anything. ---“ and as she continued to talk, I reached over and began to plant a real large kiss on her mouth. She struggled, and pushed me off of her.
“Are you crazy?!” she yelled.
I started to laugh and said “I’m sorry Lizzie. I just couldn’t help myself.”
Then, as the room grew even darker, I noticed her looking at me with these conniving eyes that I had not seen before, and said,
“That’s not the way you kiss someone, David!” (as my parents still called me by that name)
And as we were both sitting across from one another, she reached over put her hands on my shoulders and drew me to her sensuous mouth.
“This is how you kiss, David.” Which was followed by planting one of the more memorable kisses I’ve had in the Alex David Gonzalez annals of goodtimes.
It was bedlam from there. Wait. Perhaps that was a bad choice of words. I didn’t actually take her to my parents bed, the only bed in the house. We were so enraptured with one another that we stayed embraced to one another on the floor of my sister’s bedroom. I never wanted that moment to end as we occasionally rolled over one another to take turns laying on the cheap carpet.
With the kissing came the heavy petting, but she would not let me get further than that. However, if my parents had not called earlier to say that they were coming home, who knows what would have happened.
The moment we heard keys rattling on the front door, we both sprang into action, and hurriedly fixed our shirts, our hair, and ran back into the living room to make it seem like we were watching TV once they walked in through the front door.
The whole moment lasted about twenty minutes. It was a singular moment in time that will forever remain frozen and never forgotten.
The next day she was acting bitchy again as if nothing ever had happened. Maybe that should have been my first warning sign about women.
I had wanted this to happen again with Lizzie, but it never did. I was dissolutioned. One day was my sisters were at their grandmother Juanita’s house, Carmen took Jackie and Lizzie to go shopping one last time before taking them to the airport the next day. She dragged me along too. We drove to Forest Hills, and parked on 70th row, which today is restaurant row with it’s diagonal parking. Back then however that street boasted no restaurants, just shops, and parking was normal, with normal coin (not paper) meters.
I was annoyed at Carmen, because I had been shlepped all over that day, and felt there was nothing in it for me. But what really got my goat was Lizzie’s indifference towards what had happened, acting as if it never did, and not wanting to partake in it again. As they got out of the car, Carmen in her then typical fashion asked if I could wait in the car. She said that she was only going in for a minute and would be right out.
If there is something that you must know about my ex-step mother it was that she had no concept of time. A minute? It might as well been a day.
But seeing as I wanted to have nothing to do with any of them, I obliged.
The minute came and went. Then another. And another. After about 10 minutes, I started wondering whether or not I should leave the car and get change from her at the store to feed the meter, before a cop showed up. But did not because, “Hey, why should I be responsible for this? It’s her car!”
After about 20 minutes, I was getting really ticked off. And I was actually getting mad at Lizzie even more, since she knew I was in the car. “Doesn’t anyone give a damn about me?”, I madly thought to myself. I was getting so upset that I was even talking to myself in the car. Can you imagine people walking along the sidewalk, seeing a boy sitting by himself in a ’72 burgundy Peugeot bitchin’ away.
By the time a full hour had gone by, I decided to go to sleep in the car. Of course, I could have come out at any point, but refused. About a minute after I closed my eyes, there was a knock on the door. So freakin’ mad I was, that instead of opening my eyes, that I barely cracked open my right eye. There was Lizzie all by herself with a few shopping bags in her hand. She wanted in, but knowing that Carmen or Jackie was not there, it would be a cold day before I would let her in the car.
“Screw you.”, I thought to myself.
I can only imagine what a dick I probably was in her eyes. She kept banging on the glass for me to let her in especially because it was cold outside (January). I refused to acknowledge her knocking. I could hear her accent from beyond the door.
“Come on, David. Let me in. You can’t be asleep still. Come on already!”
The charade lasted about 15 minutes longer until I finally heard Carmen. Then I opened my eyes immediately.
“David, I can’t believe that you let Lizzie stay outside all this time. What in the hell is wrong with you?”
But at least I got my payback.
The catalyst for the downfall in my love-life had to be the change in neighborhoods and the school that I chose. Prior to graduation, I had offers from Loyola, a prestigious school in Manhattan, St. Francis Prep, also a co-ed school in Bayside, and Molloy, which at that time was an all-boys catholic school in Jamaica. I chose St. Francis Prep, because it was close to my dad’s apartment in Rego Park, and because it was co-ed (heh heh).
Of course the “living-close to school” rationale went right out the window, when my father moved us into a house in Laurelton, New York, in South Jamaica queens.
Though I would learn years later, that besides their need for a bigger place, that they moved to Laurelton to save money. Yet, that didn’t help me at all. Suddenly, I went from a single bus of 20 minutes, to a 2-bus, 1 hour long journey, that would take me through the most dangerous parts in all of Queens, and perhaps the bottom 5 in all of New York City.
But there were other factors that hampered my efforts from continuing my trend of being a “Don Juan” among my peers.
Bottom line, St. Francis Prep was run primarily by Franciscan brothers, and I might as well have become one of them myself.
St. Francis Prep Freshman Class photo circa 1979-1980)
I was a considered a nerd by most at SFP (St. Francis Prep). But unlike nowadays, where nerds are actually appealing to women, back then a nerd was not cool. Several factors took me from being a funny amuser into that of a nerdy loser. And interestingly enough, none of them had to do with my scholastic abilities, as most nerds excel at. In my case, in fact, my grades actually slipped during my high school years.
At SFP, many of the kids came from well-to-do families. As a Freshman there, the kids walked around with nice slacks, LaCoste, IZODs, Polo’s and even dress shirts. They put gel in their hair, and were already wearing contact lenses. They were given money by their parents to take driver’s-ed courses, to go along with the Camaros that they were also getting from their parents to drive around in by the time they were Juniors. They lived in neighborhoods where other kids that lived there went to SFP as well, making it easier to establish long-lasting bonds well outside of class. All of these were social amenities that made it easier for boys to be popular, was not available to me, and since popularity was what got dates, I was not to be so lucky.
Me? I was an anemic-looking ugly duckling. Just take a look at me above! (picture coming soon!!!) At barely 120 pounds, Half the time I came late to class, which only accentuated to the all-attentive classroom, the wonderful clothing that my parents bought for me. JCPenney checkboard shirts and corduroy pants of several colors. Looking back, I should have been happy, but it’s no fun to be at the bottom of any barrel.
But I really can’t blame them for anything more than perhaps being out-of-touch in the clothing department. I never really cared enough about my personal hygiene. With that long bus commute coupled with the fact that I always had a tough time waking up at the right hour, I rarely gave myself enough time to groom before school. My hair grew fast like an afro. I also had dandruff and wore the largest aviator glasses ever known to man. I was a slob. And with all those wonderful qualities, it was no wonder that I was never on anybody’s “A” list. In short, I was a mess.
The excitement of beginning high school soon wore off once I realized what a complete change of climate this was when compared to OLQM. Perhaps a bit jaded, it’s sad to think that SFP was true a preparatory school in every way. In this school, nobody gave a damn about you and everybody was looking to step over one another. So, I guess it was a prep for the modern day professional world, where common courtesy for the common man is routinely discarded in the name of personal advancement.
Despite the largeness and impersonal nature of the school (700 kids in the Freshman class alone), St. Francis Prep operated largely by cliché. If you wanted any chance at being popular, you had to be liked by one of these “groups”. You had the brains, the jocks, the drama kings/queens, and the druggie/rebels. And then you had people like me. Unwanted misfits. I always felt alone in that school and I was a misfit all right. I was not accepted by any cliché. My brand of life was different then theirs, and in the blackboard jungle of high school living, being different meant being a unwanted freak.
(a less blurry photo from junior year photo is forthcoming - check back later!!! )
While fellow Junior-class Prepsters were already driving around in their flashy Camaros that their daddies and mommies were buying for them, neither my Dad nor Carmen had approached me about even paying for drivers ed. The fault (if there was any to pass around) was mine. I mean, I could tell you that I never pressed the issue to my folks that I wanted to drive, because I assumed that they were too cheap to spend the money, and I’d be right. But truthfully, I never even asked them because I had no concept about wanting to drive. For me, driving my own car was as alien as having a wild pygmy performing open-heart surgery. No car? No girl. Cruel. But it was a simple as that.
Now, I know that I am sounding very bitter. And for the most part I wasn’t. There were a lot of good memories that I had of prep. Life itself was half as terrible, as it was annoying. Perhaps I had become more sensitive to failure and rejection. Still, several things went missing. My father may disagree with me, and that’s okay, because everyone holds truth in their own viewpoints. But for me my truth is that there was not enough parental counseling during those years in Life #2. Conversations regarding the “Birds & the Bees”, college preparedness, learning to drive, job careers, etc., were all omitted from my families’ acumen. If you couple that with my own immaturity at that time, plus my abject lack of awareness and my status as a socially-disconnected child, then wow, you have the recipe for a disastrous foundation for adulthood. A lot of critical developmental stages in my life were either severely delayed or missed altogether.
It would not be long before I would wind up sitting with a motley crue of equally unpopular kids in the lunchroom cafeteria. I had gone from being the most popular prince at my elementary school, to becoming the least popular frog at Prep. It was a profound fall from grace complete with a full breakdown in self-esteem and confidence, something that cannot be learned through a class period at school. I was always made to feel like I was on the outside looking in, the effects of which would follow me long after leaving St. Francis Prep.
Here was my extent to having a girlfriend from St. Francis Prep for those four years….
A girl by the name of Ellen Corker shared a class with me that had double-sized desktops for two people to sit in. Ellen sat to my left. During the entire class, we started leg rubbing one another intensely. It was her right leg and my left leg pressed up against each other.
And as Porky Pig would say, “Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-That's all folks!”
Fortunately, my overall experience with girls during my adolescent life was not limited to a couple of leg rubs. Though I had a fairly miserable experience at Prep, I had quickly developed friends in Laurelton. They were the Quinn’s and were the only other Caucasian family in the neighborhood. Their sons went to public school, and from there I wound up spending a lot more time with them, leading me to getting acquainted with people from their school, and eventually have a couple of girlfriends from Hillcrest & Jamaica High Schools. Rebecca (Becky) Soto was one girl, and the other was Leona (but sadly, I can’t recall her last name).
During Life #2, I also developed a crush with my father’s then best-friend’s niece. His best friend was Alfonso Mulas, and his niece was Laura Mulas. I had met Laura and her parents when they were in from Virginia.
Laura, was the same age as me, and was very pretty looking. She had long straight brown hair, nice eyes and a beautiful mouth. She had a long neck, and when she spoke she had a soft and alluring voice. She actually reminded me a lot of my first puppy-love, Tracy Marrone. Her mannerisms, like Tracys’, were very feminine and when she looked at me, I did all I could do to prevent from melting.
When she went back home, we immediately started to write to one another. The attraction that I had with her was so strong, that the writing continued for nearly a year. I looked forward to every letter that I got from her, and the longer the letter the better. Even her penmanship was romantic. She sent me this picture, and I wish I had gotten to know more about her. The last I heard was that she was divorced with four children. Such is life.
Then there was Connie. She was a relative, a niece I believe, of my families’ good friends Manny and Connie Vickers. I had the hots for her too, even though nothing ever had happened between us. And that’s mainly because I never had a good come-on, and I don’t think she was all that interested anyway. I will never forget however, the bunny outfit that she wore one time (had to be for Halloween) and the stockings she had on. Ooh La La!
Like I had mentioned earlier, there were two girls, Leona and Becky for whom I had gone out with. Leona was a good girl, but I never felt that attracted to her, whereas Becky was incredibly attractive. Becky was Puerto Rican, and lived in a rough spot of Corona. Boy, did she have a killer body. The kind that you must never turn your back on, because the moment you do, every John in the neighborhood will do everything in their power to be sure she forgot about you in a hurry.
Leona came before Becky. She lasted a handful of dates. I met her through Jimmy, but there was some connection to his older brother, Joe, because Joe’s girlfriend lived nearby, in Fresh Meadows, not far from the movie theatre right on the Horace Harding Expressway. I forgot her name, but I do remember that she loved singing “You Better You Bet” to Joe. Joe, and especially Jimmy, would become very special to me, as you will get to know all about it when I tell you about them later on in Life #2.
Becky, who I save for last due to her significance, lasted for a handful of months and was easily the “leading” lady in what would have otherwise be a fairly barren hetro-active phase in my life. I remember meeting Becky at a party. Sadly, I can’t recall whose. But then again this was the Spring of 1982, and I was heavily into marijuana smoking anywhere from a joint to as much as a dime-bag per day. It’s a wonder that I didn’t die, but my life has had a LOT of twists and turns like my fictional (and far more innocent) counterpart Forrest Gump, hence the writing of my legacy.
I do remember however several cool crisp nights in Cunningham Park where with Becky, I would hang out with a bunch of Jimmy’s friends from Hillcrest High at Cunningham Park. We’d be blasting music, getting drunk, smoking pot, and making out. All under the trees and the stars. With all of that and Becky, I felt a sense of independence and a high that I would never be able to achieve again through normal means. Of course, that’s what any one doing drugs would say. Until they look into a mirror that is. The price for enjoying the sense of immortality is always short lived when it involves anything that is toxic to your body, contraband or otherwise.
So yes, Becky would qualify as my next in the list of those I fell over for. And with each girl that I was with, I learned something new, which me that much more knowledgeable for the next girl that I’d be with. One idea which I thought of during the Rebecca era was the idea of playing a song for her over the telephone. I dedicated, “Waiting For A Girl Like You” by Foreigner. It was getting massive airplay in the Spring of 1982. Wow. What A concept, right? Smile.
We had cute names for each other. I called her “Beckula” for the wonderful way that she would leave a hickey on my neck. It was as deep and as crimson red, just as my love was for her.
She called me “Davidad” (pronounced as: Dah-Vee-Dahd)
Of course, to all good things comes and end. All things must pass as George Harrison once sung. To this day I don’t know why I listened to Jimmy. I trusted him, and I believe that his prediction would probably be right, or else, I probably wouldn’t have listened.
He called me at home one day and issued a warning to me:
“Dude, I got some really bad news, and I think you’re not going to like it.”
Instantly I got defensive. “What are you talking about. What about Becky?”
“Yo man, I’m not saying that she is seeing anybody else or nothing, but something tells me that you might want to chill on her before she does on you.”
“Why? What have I done that’s wrong? We’re pretty crazy for one another you know.”
“Maybe. Look. All I am telling you is that I hear things at school. That’s all.”
And with that came the realization, that my friend James, wasn’t telling me something, that I probably didn’t want to hear anyway, and knew that end with Becky might be coming soon.
“So, what do you think I should do, bro?”
“I think you should break it off, before you give her the chance to break it off with you first.”
“I don’t know. Look I could be wrong. But I hear things.”
“Well, don’t you think that maybe I should talk to her about it?”
“NO! That would NOT be cool! And then she’ll get mad at me, yo.”
“Damn Jimmy. I really liked her too.”
And I told Jimmy that I really “liked” her because I would never be caught dead
telling him that I was in love. That was too, how should I put it….faggy?
I thanked him for the insider information, and waited about a day before calling her to break things off. But the day came and went. Then I thought to myself, “Why call at all? Wait till she calls me, and then I will tell her.”
But the call never came. And she disappeared from my life as mysteriously as she appeared. I guess this is the part where the crowd goes, “Awwh-h-h-h.”
Becky and I never even had a fight. I thought we were perfect together. The only thing I kept thinking was that perhaps someone stole her from me. I never suspected Jimmy, simply because he was dating someone of his own, and things were getting pretty serious.
I forgot her name too, but I remembered that she lived near Union Turnpike on Queens Blvd. And there was an infamous story about how she once threw up inside of a car, that Jimmy’s brother Joe, had been driving. That only furthered a rift between Jimmy and his brother.
This would be the last time that I would connect with Becky. In Life #2, that is. Stay tuned……
After Becky, about the only other girl for which I would have the “love jones” for during that period in my life, that a) didn’t grace the centerfold of a Hustler mag, or b) was not to be found on one of my father’s several illicit and poorly-hidden-in-the-basement porno films, would probably be Fiona Clarke. Born in California, raised in London, I had met her when I moved to Spain for a month. That was at the tail end of my “second” life and I have dedicated an entire chapter because it merits it.
Oh, and yes, to this date my father swears that it was a friend of his who came in from South America, and needed a place to store the movies until sometime later when he could have them shipped to him.
When I came back from Spain. I did spend a couple of nights at my Uncle’s mother-in-law’s apartment. Elida also had her own daughter (acquired through adoption at an early age) named Marisa, and her daughter, who was of the same age as me, named Giselle.
She was a firecracker, and if she read this she would tell me that calling her a firecracker was a typically corny and useless comment that only I would dare use. Whatever the case, she did make my testosterone fly too. Especially the first night I was there when we were playfighting on her couch, and the following morning, when she threw a shoe at my head as I tried but failed at remaining asleep in her mother’s bed. No, her mother was not there that weekend. For God’s sake, I wasn’t that deviant!
That was the same weekend, where she took my Iron Maiden-Numbers of the Beast album, and carved (probably with a kitchen knife) a long line across the album. To this date she refuses responsibility for the act, but I think it had to do something with my clogging the toilet, which subsequently overflowed, and soaking her jeans which she left on the floor.
When my senior year began in September of 1982, and after my experience with Fiona, I no longer had aspirations about women anymore.
My remaining goal was to finish the last year of school, and then move out. Move out because I was getting fairly angry with the world (and for no good reason, might I add), and thought I knew it all. And one of the things I thought was that I would never find true love (as if there needed to be a rush to find a true love in the first place).
But something in October of that year would change everything. Forever and for ALWAYS.
(Originally posted on March 27, 2009 @ 2:18am)
Next Up? Life 2 - Chapter 4 : Laurelton Living - It was the worst of times, It was the worst of times