My Call Girl

My first day in San Diego I was chased by an angry Lebanese parking attendant and contracted a second-degree sun burn. I can’t imagine how my mother made this trip so often. A twenty-three year old woman travelling alone. She spent most of her time here with a decorated Naval pilot named Dave O’Shea. He’s the one who invited my mom to come to San Diego and spend time with him on Coronado. On the day before she died, my mom laid out by the Hotel Del’s pool and played a little tennis. She had dinner with Dave, ate two fish tacos and drank three Bud Lites. It was July 16, 1984. I met with Dave at his home in La Jolla, right down the street from the Louis Kahn’s majestic Salk Institute. This is what he said about my mom: “For me, your mother’s visits were always very exciting. Great anticipation of learning something new, because your mother knew a lot of tricks. And appreciation. There are very few people anywhere who will talk about matter in spiritual terms. Nothingness mattered to her. Silence mattered to her. The enigma of light mattered to her. So those are not normal discourses. But these were the ones she liked and we talked about them.” Dave went on to tell me that my mother was not an ordinary person. She was a highly cultivated soul, he said. She had reached a higher level of spiritual recognition. Dave said that Naval pilots believed that no one died, they just moved along to the next world. The body dies, said Dave, but the soul doesn’t die, the consciousness doesn’t die. He told me that he thought my mother had reached that stage of super-consciousness, where, for her, everything was alive, everything was in the stage of transformation. “I know you were waiting for her to come back,” said Dave, “and she has not come back as of yet, but she’s there.” Dave told me that if I could somehow manage to get myself into a silent state that I would hear her. And so that night I went back to the hotel. I took off all my clothes and slathered cooling aloe gel all over my body. I dimmed the lights and sat cross-legged in the middle of the queen size bed. I didn’t turn on the television. I unplugged the telephone. I closed my eyes and listened. At first I heard nothing, just the light thrum of the minibar. But then, slowly but surely, I began to hear a familiar sound. I had no idea where it was coming from, but it sounded like someone breathing heavy and rapidly. Then I heard moans, but they were muffled. The sounds were coming from next door. The people in the room were making love, but trying their hardest not to let the whole world know. Dave was right. For a moment I felt exactly like I did when I was a kid.


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