Whatever could he want, she wondered. More than likely, she reasoned, he wanted to test the water to see if things had changed. Gale would have told him if he had asked…nothing has changed, it’s still hopeless and you should move on. He didn’t ask, though, and she was glad because she didn’t really want to move on. At least a fragment of her mind didn’t.
“I’ve had eight months and two days to think this over. About us, I mean. I was an ass about it then. I made mistakes. You know that, but now I know that as well. Thinking about it, I was focused on me when I should have been focused on you. I began to see things differently after we were apart. Then, just as now, your physical presence does something to me, you see. Or perhaps you can’t. I don’t really know.”
She abruptly stood to leave, slinging her purse over her folded arm. “Thanks for the meeting. It’s cleared up nothing for me and I’m sure not much for you either. Congratulations on your research and I hope that it makes you famous some day. But if I want to be psychoanalyzed, I’ll visit a physician not a grad student in a coffee shop. Anything else?”
Yes, there were experiences and memories in there acting like a cancer, occupying a part of her mind that was off limits. Every time she felt herself recalled to that area, even by a thought or a sensation, it was quickly blocked. She knew better than to try to recall even a fragment of it.
“Want to have a memory quickly imbedded and permanently stored in your brain? Then it would be one which involves both a strong emotional memory combined with a complex memory with input from all of the senses at once. A romance in the back seat, a beating from a gang, war. This memory will be recalled the rest of your life by many things even remotely similar. That implies association of the specific memory with everyday occurrences.”
He never groped her or made any indecent suggestions, but his arm around her shoulder, then her waist, became more common. It choked her, made her feel captured. She fought the negative feelings and hid her revulsion but at the dance, he let his hand slip to her buttocks. That was the moment she feared. It was a switch turning on and something she couldn’t fight. A profound fear grabbed her and she pulled away from him.
“Miss?” a deep voice beckoned. She didn’t turn and look, instead, opened the door. “Miss Randolph, Gale Randolph, isn’t that you?” he asked, closing the distance. Gale was in full flight mode and started to tremble, her key ring shaking itself with little jingles, her key seemingly had become welded inside the lock. A man’s hand softly enveloped her wrist.
Tears started down her cheeks, slowly at first, then a stream. She stared ahead, at nothing in particular, a vacant look, a statue with tears and eyes that refused to look inward, trapped by the past and the present.
He was looking for a pattern, who was there, and how the hierarchy worked. Clearly, it was a shifting, temporary, gang headquarters of an outlaw motorcycle gang. One which would pull stakes and disappear in a cloud of oily smoke if they saw any undue interest, as they had done frequently in the past. A new headquarters could be set up nearly anyplace and overnight the black and chrome bikes would assemble, indicating occupation by a small army of dedicated thugs.