Saturday, July 6, 1974
I hadn’t seen Kendall in at least two weeks. I saw her about two Thursdays before the Fourth of July—which would have been about June 20—in Detroit. That warm, beautiful afternoon we hung out together, just enjoying ourselves being away from college, back in the city in which we grew up and went to school.
Kendall got back to Ann Arbor on Friday. We had both enrolled in the University of Michigan or the summer session. As the light of the July sun woke me up this morning, I was thinking about how much I missed her—my first love interest since the tragic death of my first love three years ago last week Friday.
Anyways, I digress. About 8:00 this morning the phone rings. A beautiful, soft, low-pitched, yet feminine voice is on the other end of the line. I was half-asleep and half awake.
“Hello…who is this?” I asked.
“Were you asleep?” the sweet, professional sounding voice on the other end of the line asked. I finally caught on to who it was.
“Kendall!” I said
“Buster!” she replied, that sunny smile of hers coming through very clearly over the phone. “Listen Buster, there’s this new breakfast restaurant in town that is having aa grand opening today. I’ve really been dying to see you, so I was wondering if we could do breakfast there.”
“Of course!” I replied. My heart felt like it had just reached the summit of the Milky Way galaxy.
“Where are you staying?” she asked.
I stay at West Quad on State Street,” I replied.
“How about I meet you there,” she said. “Be out front on the steps of the Michigan and DON’T stand me up. Or I’ll beat you up,” she said.
“Ooh, I am scared,” I responded, somewhat sarcastically.
“Look…Kendall, give me about fifteen minutes to get in the shower and out.”
“Don’t worry, we’re good,” she replied. “See ya in a bit,” she said.
It was time for her to arrive. I was all ready now. This somewhat heavy-set, peach-skinned 20-year-old with long, black hair and freckles put her big, warm arms around my body. “Why didn’t you come see me on my birthday?” she said. Her birthday was this past Monday, July 1st. “I’m bad about birthdays, hon,” I replied.
“Will forgive you…just don’t let it happen again.”
The restaurant was just up State Street. It was a small building–Shawn’s for Breakfast, it was called–, sandwiched between the State Street pharmacy on the left side and the Cafe Fiore, to the right. It was easy to miss, if you are not paying attention.
“There it is!” exclaimed Kendall.
We walked in. Red and white flags could be seen hanging from the wooden panelings on the walls.
A sudden urge hit me, like the crackling of fireworks on the Fourth of July, as I walked in the door. All of a sudden I found myself telling her, “I gotta pee…like real bad.”
“TMI,” she smiled. “Don’t fall in the toilet!” We both laughed.
I went into the restroom, hidden behind a beautiful wooden brown door. Once inside I looked at myself in the mirror, which, by the way, like it hadn’t been cleaned since the day JFK was shot, almost a dozen years ago. As I looked at my grossly blurred image, I said to myself, “Maybe I need to go to Briarwood Mall and make an appointment at the Optical Department at Sears to get my eyes checked. I might need glasses.”
“Glasses!” I thought to myself. I had just turned 20 that January. “Of course it’s not my eyes!” I answered myself.
That’s when a strong odor nearly knocked me out on my face. A rancid stench, like poop that hadn’t been mopped up off the floor in days. I opened up the stalls, and Voila! Two of them had it all over the floor. Apparently someone had pooped and it flooded all over the floor
Then a knock at the door, it’s Kendall. “Everything comin’ out all right in there?” she asked.
“No, it is worse than I could have ever imagined.” I then tried to use the urinals, and all of them were stone dead…as a doornail. “Want me to get a manager?” she asked “I’m literally starved, so let’s get on with it!”
She was getting impatient. I could hear it in her voice. I was ticked myself.
A tall dude walks in. He was a fat man with glasses…with a foreign accent, looking to be about 60.
“Can I help you with something?” he asked, somewhat rudely.
“What’s up with the bathroom?” I asked
“Here it is, sir. What you see is what you get.”
“Can you please get someone to clean it?” I asked, politely, trying to hang on to my Christianity.
“Can you please quit telling me how to run my restaurant?”
Forget it, I said to myself. “Never mind, I’ll use the one next door?” I said.
It really wasn’t worth it.
I looked over at Kendall…who was looking at herself in her little purse-size mirror . She was touching up on the make-up she’d bought from Mary Kay. “Sorry, Kendall. I really got to go to the bathroom, and that guy Shawn was so freakin’ rude, I said.”
“You know, let’s go somewhere else. I went into the lady’s john, and it was pretty much the same there. Hey, I AM hungry, but let’s not let it ruin our date, ok?” she said, giving that goofy, yet wide smile, and winking at me.
“Let’s go to Angelo’s, I offered.
Angelo’s was quite a hike from there, so we went out hand in hand.
She looked at me, smiling. She drew in a long deep breath that sounded like a gentle heeeeeeeeee. A breath that relieved all my tension.
Then she said, “Ya know Craig (she sometimes calls me by my real name), I went into the ladies bathroom, having to number 2–the toilet was broken and wouldn’t flush. The seat was real loose. So can we stop by Fiore and use theirs? And while we are there, can we eat there? I am really starving…”