Spring comes. You go to Union Street Mall with Sandy one weekend and meet him. The one who changes your mind about boys. Sam. Dark and soulful. You wander into Waldrop's Music, following the sounds of something dreamy and electronic and far-out. You don't notice him right away because you're hearing the coolest record playing, and it's like nothing you've ever heard before. Some woman is wailing and wailing, wild raw emotions emanate right from her gut. You and Sandy stand there listening to what sounds like a musical exploration of all of your deep thoughts about the Universe. After a few minutes, Sandy says, "What's that?" The Waldrop's guy pulls out a black album cover with a triangle and shows it to her. "The Dark Side of the Moon." Wow. The Dark Side. You like that. Who's the group? "Pink Floyd." Pink Floyd? Strange. He says, "Great, eh?" Sandy buys the album, you buy the album. He tells you his name, Sam, and asks if you have a boyfriend. No, you giggle. He's foreign-looking with a dark mop of wavy hair, sort of Cat Stevensish. He says you have a pretty smile and asks you for your number. You say you don't know him. He says, "So, go out with me, and you'll get to know me." Sandy's bought her record and is ready to go, for crying out loud. You give Sam your number right when the band is singing, "But the sun is eclipsed by the moon." Surely this is a sign.
Sam meets you out at the Field, the rebels' retreat from "them." He's twenty-one, lives at home with his parents, smells of patchouli and when you let him get close to you, close enough to later give you that first, soft, tentative kiss, there's a faint smell of onion on his breath. But Sam has more than kissing on his mind. He's a Krishna wannabe. He tells you about Krishna (in the pictures Sam shows you, Krishna's far prettierwith eyes that look like a Maybelline adand seems a lot more fun than morose Jesus) and about the Swami Prabhupada. Sam gives you the Bhagavad Gita to read (which is harder to read than anything you read in honors English class) and tells you to never throw it away (you never do). He's vegetarian and says you should try it; meat-eating's not good. Sometimes he'd make comments like you smelled like a meat-eater, and your feelings would get hurt and you'd take extra long showers before you saw him. Still, he must like you because he says he hopes you'll go with him to visit the temple in Detroit sometime. Sam talks and you listen and learn from him; he seems to have little interest in your opinions or interests and that's okay; you haven't developed deep passions of your own and you're not very interesting, anyway. You like entering someone else's world and leaving your own. The Hindu world is exotic, colorful and spiritual compared to the stuff you were taught at Trinity Lutheran Church.
In bed at night you think of Sam, Sam, Sam and that is your new world. But Sam's world is Krishna, Krishna, Krishna. Most times you see him, all he can do is mindfuck you and talk about Krishna or the old man Prabhupada or the Detroit temple and how he's going there, all the time looking at your breasts, touching your face, placing the palm of his hand against your palm. He's reluctant to want you but he wants youright now he's in "maya," the illusionsee, this whole unKrishna life is not real. (So does that mean you are unreal?) You're reluctant to want Sam because men are dirty and only want one thing, but he doesn't seem to want you that way, so naturally you want him. You want to go on a journey with him but not to the temple of Detroit, not to chant Hare Krishna by his side; you've had enough rituals at church and had just abandoned all that—no, you want to learn something else from him, you want to find out what it is that you've seen in the movies that makes men and women crazy, they kill for it, die for ithave him take you there.
On your fifth night out, after lots of petting and kissing and rolling around on the cool grass of the Field, Sam squirms around on top of you. You kiss some more and think of that scene in From Here to Eternity where Deborah Kerr's on the sand entwined with Burt Lancaster kissing and kissing with the waves crashing against them and you wonder if you and Sam look like that. Your eyes are closed but you want to see, so you open them and now you're looking up at the moon and you think about how incredible it was, we made it to the moon, we were there, and it looks so far…so far away. You see waves of dark hair and Sam's eyes are shut and the moon's glimmering behind him with all its promises and he's pressing hard against you, up and down up and down and he's breathing so hard and he starts writhing crazily. He lets out an angry howl. His body shudders; he collapses on top of you and slowly goes limp. You feel his breath on your neck and his heart's beating so fast, and you think about the power you have, to make him feel like that. But your heart's not beating fast and you're not breathing hard. You want to feel what it's like to squirm, to sweat, to get worked up into a frenzy, to moan out in pleasure. Why didn't you get excited? Maybe something was wrong with you. You plan to talk with Sam about getting naked and really doing it; that could be the problem. But the next time you see him, he takes you to Pizza Hut and says he's moving to Detroit and do you think you want to come up after finishing school. You look at your slice of mushroom pizza instead of Sam's face, which might make you reconsider. You know your answer, though. You're just a girl from Ohio; you're not an Easterner. You don't have it in you to be a Krishna and chant day and night, dress in an orange robe, and worship some blue boy. The truth is Krishnas seem kind of nutty to you. You tell him no, you'll probably go to college.
At home you sit on your white lacy bed in the dark and think about Sam and the waves that could have crashed against your legs, the moon that could have shown its dark side, if only it had been. But it was over. Sam knew who he was and where he wanted to go. You aren't sure yet where you want to go, what you want to be. But you know your life is real; it isn't an illusion. Everything you feel and everything you ache is real.