Chapter 26:     Graduating

ART writes--

The romantic crisis passed; Melly came around to the house again.  
Adam and she were still friends, if slightly bitter sweetly, still 
quite devoted and affectionate, but their flaming lust was put on 
the back burner.

The summer didn't cool off, though: it was one of the hottest in 
many years.  We all spent a lot of time at the lake.  Even Doug,
until his job in Seattle required that he put on a suit and tie 
and behave in a civilized manner for weeks at a time.

In June we threw a big Double Birthday Party for Adam and Melly 
(both turning 17) combined as a Welcome Home for her and Doug, 
inviting all their friends, our friends, colleagues, family, 
neighbors, Naked Lake regulars, some IPR folk.    

There were over a hundred people at one point, a hundred-pound
roast pig and several kegs of beer were gobbled and quaffed. Most
of the dope-smoking was done discreetly away from the house, kids 
on one side, adults on the other, so that "nobody saw" each other.
There was dance music, we’d opened the double doors to the “Mead 
Hall” so there was even a dance floor.  There were party games 
and lots of young guys and girls flirting with each other.  
Great party.

We might never have considering throwing a party like this back 
when Adam and Melly were being sexually aroused by each other, not
really knowing what would happen if Adam's pheromones were let 
loose in a social event full of already horny young people having
fun.  We weren't sure if we'd end up responsible for a lot of 
spontaneous unsafe sex, perhaps pregnancies, venereal diseases, 
and traumatized relationships.  No no no thank you.  

Later on, the real music started.  Not the CD player, we turned 
that off, but the human variety.  Elaine began on the piano and
I got out the old violin, Adam on guitar, Pokey had his tom-tom.
Just like the good old days.  We had asked everyone interested
to bring an instrument if they played, and if not, we had kazoos 
enough for everyone.  It was mostly raucous noise, but fun anyway,
and every so often a tune would emerge as semi-recognizable.  
Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out was a qualified hit, 
as was Five Foot Two, but for the most part it was pretty rough 
until some of the actual musicians took over and the rest of us 
quieted down.  I surrendered my violin to Jeff Usher, who shamed my 
playing with his performance of Orange Blossom Special, backed up 
by Adam and Pokey and Elaine. 

Elaine waved Melly in to take over the piano.  Melly was not shy
about performing, she'd only been waiting for her turn. She had
continued studying piano while in Indonesia and had been lead 
pianist in the school orchestra, which had performed a different 
full-scale musical play every year.  But it was hardly classical 
music she was playing that evening; it was 50's Rock'n'Roll.

She did a very good Fats Domino, an amazing Jerry Lee Lewis, and 
several Elton John numbers.  Adam found the groove and followed
her, as did Pokey with tom-toms.  They instinctively found their 
common groove, did some musical tricks, rhythm challenges, and 
somehow ended up together, all in the right place at the right 
time, finishing with a flourish, whereupon everyone cheered 
and applauded, overwhelmed and impressed.  They hadn't played 
together in 4 years and yet it sounded so good it seemed like 

Some of his friends there had never heard Adam sing or play, 
probably because Guesswork was playing in clubs where kids under 
21 were not allowed.  They were enthusiastic and cheered him on 
to play more.

Elaine called out, "Addy, do one of your own songs for us!"

"Oh, no, not here."  Suddenly he was shy again.

"Well, where then? These are all friends. I hear you practicing 
songs but never can make out the words."

"Come on," coaxed Stan Garrett, one of Adam's old school friends,
"if it's no good we'll all just clap anyway.  Right everybody?" 

There were "yeahs" and whistles, stomping of feet.  

"Who cares if it's good, long as it's loud!" Willy Mason, another
old schoolmate, shouted at the top of his lungs.

Adam was squeamish about his own songs. He was an accomplished 
performer, good singer, yet very unsure of his talent as a song 
writer.  He had rarely performed any of his own songs for an 

He tried to get out of it, but Melly spoke up, "Come on, Adam,
this is your big chance to impress me!"

Well, that did it.  He took the stage alone and sang his own
Lonelyman and the Self-Pity Blues.  He did not mumble, and of
course there was no way he would forget any words, he sang it out 
beautifully.  When done, he got his applause, and he had deserved 
it, it was really a good blues number.

Adam's voice had a special dramatic quality, it hardly mattered if
the words he sang meant anything or not, they rang nicely anyway.
But with his own song there was an element of authority we'd never
heard before.  Usually he sang to accompany his guitar, now the 
guitar was second fiddle. 

It was an experience for us all there, Adam as well; his musical
presence seemed to have expanded while performing his very own 
material.  From being pretty good into something unique.  A Star 
is Born.

We were all enthusiastic, calling out, "That was great, do another
one of yours!"

"Aw, I don't have any more good ones.  That was sort of it."

Elaine shot him down, "Come on, Addy, I know you've written LOTS 
of songs."

"Yeah, well the trouble is that most of them are no good."

"There must be ONE more!"

Then Melly did it to him again, "Addy, haven't you ever written a
song to me?"

"Yeah, but here?  In front of everybody?"

"Sorry guy, but it's time to prove you love me," she challenged.  
She wasn't smiling either, this was a command.

So he sang:

I was thinking about your music, I was thinking about your face, 
I was thinking about your being here with me. 
And I found myself remembering how you filled up this place 
With brand new magic piano melody. 
     Let me dance unto your music, let it carry me away, 
     For I love to hear the music that you play. 
     And I want to have your music fill a place in my guitar, 
     For I love to know the Music 
     That You Are. 

(the entire song can be found in APPENDIX/Songs/That You Are) 

It was a surprisingly original and beautiful song. Adam sang his 
heart out, staring deep into Melly's eyes.  There they were again: 
alone in a crowded room.  Tears were openly running down her face, 
but she was smiling bravely.  She felt no shame and neither did he, 
it was a public admission of their love.

I noticed Doug walking away from the party.

Adam's professional musical career with Guesswork went into a slump about then. Twice had the band been out to play in taverns where Adam had been denied entrance because he was not yet 21 years old, which had been problematic since audiences had come to see the "singing sasquatch". And there were some problems in the grown-up part of that band as well: the bass player had an affair with the drummer's wife, there were fistfights, etc, and Smokey Chesterton went on a binge for a couple of weeks. So Guesswork simply crumbled apart, for the time being at least. Adam didn't mind so much, he was busy with Melly and other friends. A big change in Adam's life was that he had finally gotten his driver's license and a car that summer. Now that he had wheels he could consider himself a totally awesome modern American high school kid. Transportation had been a problem for Adam the last few years due to his size, he could only fit into our modified van, and public transportation was impractical. So we bought him a 10 year old Chevy Camaro convertible, which we customized by taking out the front seat so that he could sit in the back seat and drive. Being eight feet tall and impervious to almost any weather, he almost always drove around with the top down. This made him very visible and that Camaro became known around town as the "Squatchmobil". He drove into Seattle once in a while, although he always put the top up for that so he wouldn't cause traffic accidents--people went crazy when they saw him drive by: both because he was a hairy giant and because he was the most famous sasquatch in the world, Adam Leroy Forest. People either ran from him or after him for his autograph. He also liked to drive up into the mountains, farther afield in his search for other sasquatches; to Canada or Oregon, wherever there had been a recent Bigfoot sighting. Now he could drive a hundred miles into the mountains, park the car and start exploring on foot from there. Sometimes Melly went with him, or Pokey Snowchild, or me. But when he ran overland looking for tracks he preferred to go alone, having one of us drive the car on to another place where he would meet us later that day. He didn't really want anyone with him if he ever did meet his people, not the first time at least, since he didn't know what to expect. But all of that was without result.
Then it was September, time to go back to school for the last year at Monroe High. Adam had been lukewarm about school in general for the last few years, but this year was different, he was eager again because of Melly. Adam and Melly were both seniors and would finish school together and both were enthusiastic about becoming a study team again, since they remembered how well it went before. It was something to do together. Adam had to have someone to help him with reading anyway and Melly wanted to do it. Melly was amused by being back to a real American school after her years in Indonesia. She'd become accustomed to strict discipline and serious academics, Monroe High seemed to be so amateur. And yet it was much more fun, so she resolved to both get good grades and have a lot of fun, dragging Adam along in the process. This was the year when Adam brought all of his grades up. The slump that had started with Melly's departure to Indonesia was ended, Melly was back and Adam was transformed into a genius again, or so it seemed to many. But Adam and Melly did not hang out together at school, they both wanted to have some contact with other kids. And they especially wanted to avoid the whole sasquatch boy/human girl scandal scene, so they were very low-key at school, playing out their old brother and sister roles that had already been established. Two innocent kids. But they did have some classes together, such as Debate. They really enjoyed that and so did the rest of the class when it was those two who would go up against each other. They were always entertaining because they were both well spoken, well prepared and put on a good show of being cold-hearted antagonists on the debate field. But it was only a show, since they did their homework together, discussed their strategies in advance and more or less worked by unwritten script. Melly was good at getting information from Internet, Adam's specialty was remembering obscure resources, they were both good at organizing arguments and finding logical surprises. Melly was the more daring, saying things one may not say, Adam was an encyclopedia of facts and figures and quotes. Once I met their debate teacher, Lorna Lerwis, at lunch just after a class in which those two had debated pornography: Adam against, Melly for. She was almost giddy from the level of argumentation she had just witnessed. "Adam certainly does have the power of words," Lorna said, "and Melly is so passionately outspoken, that between them...well, there's an almost sexual tension that they transmit to the rest of the class!" I noticed she still had sweat on her upper lip. "Really, how often can you be surprised by a high-school debate about pornography?" she went on, "The arguments for or against are always the same, but Ye Gods, they had the other students jumping up and down, twisting moral standpoints around, so that at the end everyone was so persuaded by both sides of the arguments that everyone was BOTH pro and con. No one could think for themselves. "And yet at the end of it, those two convinced us to believe that we accept pornography because our CULTURE is pornographic!" Lorna drew an interesting conclusion from their presentations: "I could easily imagine those two going into politics some day and if they did it as a team...well, nothing could stop them."
Adam was popular in school now, he had a lot of friends, but he still regarded Pokey as his "best guy friend". We weren't too happy about that, especially since he'd talked Adam into taking LSD. Pokey was always in trouble, a bad student, an alcoholic waiting to really get rolling, a loser. In short, a typical Indian stuck in our white man's society. "Pokey's the way he is because he's an Indian, which automatically makes him a cultural fuck-up," Adam defended his friend, "but I think his mentality is closer to squatch than White Man's, so I feel a kinship. I can't help being sympathetic about problems his culture and genetics have dealt him when I don't even yet know what my own are." "Just remember," I lectured him, "that it can get pretty heavy being friends with a real loser--there usually comes a point when you can't really help him anymore, or he'll just drag you down too." Adam shrugged, said: "Back when I was starting in school and had no friends there except for Melly--all the other kids acted like I was a grownup because I was so much bigger than them--Pokey came to me and said, 'Hey, sasquatch is a Salish word, I'm a Salish Indian. Your people and mine go way back, let's be brothers.' So we were. I needed him then, now he can need me. "Besides," he reminded me, "I remember you helping Doug Wielson when he was drinking himself over the edge." "Sally died, he had a reason. And Doug's not a loser anymore." "We'll see about that," Adam said.
Melly had come back to Monroe, the small town where she had once known everyone in school and although it had grown larger in the four years she was away, she could remember many students from before. She made friends quickly, but had no real "best friend" among the girls at school, because she had arrived just in time for the last year, when all the "best friendships" were already established. She probably also seemed more adult than most of the girls in a small town high school after her international education. Elaine was certainly her best female friend, but that didn't help much at school. Actually, Melly had a hard time putting up with airheads like Susie Lipsinger and Joanie Swift, who had once been her friends when younger. She had never been friends with Lissandra Cunnings at all before, but became so this time around. They remembered each other from years back, when Lissandra was being mean to Adam and Melly was his protector from nasty little bitches. They didn't like each other at all back then. Over the previous year Lissandra had evolved from "most popular cheerleader" into the school's most notorious punk rebel. She had dropped cheerleading, discarded expensive clothes for tattered t- shirts and ripped blue-jeans, gotten her nose pierced and savagely cut her glorious black hair into a jagged explosion, seemingly doing everything to be as unattractivbe as possible. But actually, she was so absurdly beautiful now that she could get away with anything and often did. Boys were wild about her looks, but few dared approach her, she was too far above them and no longer dating high school kids but having torrid affairs with grown men. She had also outgrown her female schoolmates. So like Melly, Lissandra Cunnings had no best friend in high school. About a week after school had started, Lissandra sat down over from Melly in the lunch room. "Hi Mel, remember me?" "Oh, yeah...uh, Lissandra." Melly was surprised that Lissandra spoke to her at all, since they had almost been enemies before. "I heard you just got back from Thailand or something." "Indonesia." "Wow, must have been cool." "It was hot. Monroe is cool." "Monroe is cool? I don't hardly think so." "All relative," Melly was keeping the conversation minimal, working towards ending it. But Lissandra was after something. "I'd love to go away to some- where exciting like Indonesia," she continued. "Yeah? Well, there were riots against Suharto's government while we were there, foreigners were unpopular, especially Chinese--they were getting lynched. Pretty exciting all right...but not cool." "Oh...well, at least you weren't Chinese." Lissandra shrugged, as if the Chinese hardly mattered. Melly gave Lissandra a nasty look. "Some of my friends were. It WASN'T cool." Her tone was sharp. Now Lissandra raised an eyebrow archly, "Oh yeah, now I remember-- you always did cater to the underdogs. Just like that pet Wookie, you used to defend him all the time too." "Yeah, against racial bigots and arrogant bitches like you." "Yeah, well diddle you too if you can't take a joke." But Lissandra was smiling, not angry at all. "Jokes should be funny, not nasty." "Bullshit, the best jokes ARE the nasty ones...what's the difference between anal sex and a deep freezer?" Lissandra asked, as if seriously. "Uh...?" "The freezer doesn't fart when you take the meat out." For a frozen second Melly stared at Lissandra with her mouth open, not believing that their argument had come to this point. Then she started laughing, simply couldn't help it. That got Lissandra started, and they sat giggling over at each other for a minute. "So you don't like me--or what?" Lissandra finally asked. "I didn't like the way you treated Adam--but actually, maybe I COULD sort of like you. You've got balls." "Oh, well, cool. You too." "Anyway, why ARE you so mean to him?" "Hey, I'm NOT...well haven't been for a while, anyway. Okay, maybe I did play some mind games on him, but he just took it...and kept staring at me with those big cow eyes, almost drooling, yuk! But it all started out because he was interesting. I just wanted him to notice me, and everybody else was being SO nice to him, so-o-o-o..." "So you were mean?" "Well, I was really just teasing the guy, trying to get some kind of reaction. But he never reacted, never teased me back. He'd just kowtow like a coolie and apologize for breathing my air. So big and strong and so PATHETIC, you know? Irritated me." "Well, he used to be pretty sensitive about being different; weird and hairy and all." "Yeah, well that's what was interesting about him. I mean how many Bigfeet do you meet every day, after all?" "He had quite a crush on you." "I guess. I couldn't help that, sure didn't encourage him." "Maybe you should have." "Huh? Come on, get real. He might be interesting, but as a boy friend? Sorry, I don't date outside my species!" "He'd make a fantastic boy friend." "So you take him, if he's such good stuff." "Oh, I...can't...we've been like brother and sister too long. More or less grew up together."
Adam was perplexed that Melly became best friends with Lissandra Cunnings, of all high school bitches. He made no fuss about it, but did not join them for lunch in the cafeteria or socialize with them after school, although that was not necessarily a form of protest since their school friends had always been separate groups anyway. He may have found it awkward or embarrassing to be in the same zone with the girl he had always Loved and the girl he had always Lusted for, but then what man would not? Especially if they were to compare notes and discover what a dork he really is (this was high school, remember). Actually, Melly rather enjoyed having a part of her life that did not rotate around Adam, also separate from all of us at Hacienda Forest, a space where she could simply be a normal-American-girl instead of a central character in the weirdest romance of the century. That Lissandra was a bit of an outlaw appealed to her own disdain of the politically correct. The last high school year passed without any major problems. In fact, Adam ended up with a very good grade point average, his academic performance had been dramatically improved by Melly's interaction. They may have cooled the love affair, but their symbiosis was still quite intact. They had also been partners in some artistic highlights of that school year, such as the Monroe High Talent Show where Adam and Melly did a duet of a song they had written together and they did a comedy skits of "Beauty and the Beast" which was such a success that there had been offers from a theater company in Seattle. But neither of them were really interested in a stage career, so they let it pass. And then it was all over, Graduation Day arrived and they were free at last. Adam and Melly also freed themselves from each other, for the summer at least. They already had plans to continue on to university after summer vacation, where they would study anthropology together, but for now they both had had enough of symbiosis and cooperation. We knew about their romantic problem--Melly had openly discussed it with Elaine and me, although Adam seemingly could not discuss it with anyone--and the frustrations they were feeling took their toll and they simply needed a break. Part of it was because Melly had started dating other boys. Many were interested in her and had asked her out and she decided it was time to stop turning them down as long as Adam was also turning her down as well. She was completely straightforward about it, informing Adam that if he and she could not be lovers, she might as well see if she could find another. Then they could go on being Brother and Sister without frustration. It was probably only half strategic: to force Adam to make a move; but also because she was honestly tired of being a frustrated fool in love and felt it was time to have some fun. Adam tried not to be jealous, well aware that he had no right to expect her to be faithful to him as long as he would not be the boyfriend she wanted, but of course it had to generate some conflict between them.
This went on for an amazingly long time--years, in fact. Or rather on-and-off, while they were both students at the University of Washington for freshman and junior years. They remained a study-team, Melly being Adam’s way into the world of written text, dedicated as ever to helping each other scholastically. Then she’d meet some boy and go out on a few dates to see if he might be what she wanted—always ending up deciding “No” and be back in Adam’s bed again for a few weeks or months of surrender to their hopelessly celibate love affair. Of course, this was emotionally chaotic for both of them, but they simply loved each other too much to make an end of it. They were trapped. But eventually there came one young man for whom Melly actually fell, who excited and aroused her as no human boy had ever done before and who was also burning to be the lover she thought she needed. Unfortunately that young man was none other than Peter Sinsley. This is where our story turns, but I'll let Melly tell about that.

Chapter 27

Adam out of Eden