Biographical Non-Fiction posted August 20, 2017


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A story from my hitching days

Mein Vergebuten 4 Kindred Spirits

by gene roush

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.
The author has placed a warning on this post for sexual content.

After three days of fasting in the desert, I caught a ride with a defeated priest.

Conclusion of Part 3
Bob gave me an examining stare. "What does a person have to do to prove their love to you?"
That was a question that I wasn't prepared to answer.
A new bartender stepped up. Her long sun-bleached hair draped her tanned shoulders and muslin peasant blouse. Her dark blue eyes locked with mine. "Can I get you another one?"

Mein Vergebuten (My Forgiveness)
Part 4



Bob's hand slid between us--two fingers extended. "Two more... Black Labels."

She turned to him. "What are you doing to this poor guy?"

"I'm improving his taste."

She looked to me. "Is that true?"

I handed her my empty glass. "I've got no complaints so far."

Slowly shaking her head, she bit back a smile. "I'm not so sure about that. He brought you to this dump."

Bob rested his hand on hers as she scooped up his glass. "Gene just spent the last three days fasting in the desert. You be nice to him."

"Fasting huh?" She glanced over her shoulder before turning back to me. "I have a minute. Why?"

"He's a lost soul, Rita."

She turned her head to Bob but her eyes stayed with mine. "Is that right?"

Bob sighed. "A wanderer in the desert of life."

Rita's smile faded. "You find any answers out there?"

"I thought I did, but Bob thinks differently."

She grinned. "Yes he does." She stepped back--raising the glasses as she turned. "I'll be back."

Her hair fell to her waist. Her shirt hung inches above frayed cut offs that revealed a hint of her cheeks. Her tanned legs firmed with each step.

Bob elbowed me. "She likes you."

The trance was broken. "She's a bartender. She likes my money."

"I'm the guy with the money. She likes you."

She returned as a group of college kids stormed in, awakening the sleepy bar.

A chorus of voices called to her as she slid my drink to me. "Lovely Rita, gave me a beer."

"Your fans?"

She glanced over her shoulder. "My children." She tapped Bob's hand. "Don't leave without saying goodbye."

Again, I got lost in her exit.

"Settle down kiddies. There's plenty for everyone." She gave me a glancing smile as she opened the rail cooler.

I diverted my eyes to Bob. He was enjoying the scene--unafraid to stare. This was an oasis for the priest. "How often do you come here?"

He sat back and lifted his drink, still watching her. "I've never her seen her flirt like that before." Standing, he turned to me. "I'm going to take that empty seat at the other end of the bar. She's a good girl. Don't screw this up."

What the hell did that mean?

In time, her smiling glances convinced me that it was okay for me to observe her in action. She handled every bid and banter with a witty barb. When all the fists were filled, and the jukebox was blaring, she made her way back to me. "So you're a hobo?"

"I prefer the term bum."

"And Bob picked you up...?"

"Outside Phoenix."

I glanced over her shoulder. "There's a girl climbing up on the bar."

She turned--mumbling. "Shit" Turning back to me, she rubbed her finger on the back of my hand. "Give me a minute." A second girl was getting a hand up as she turned. "This is not happening, get down, Missy!"

And so the evening went--brief conversations, and meager touches.

The bar was far enough from town that carding the patrons wasn't strict. The tips weren't bad, but Larry (the owner and other bartender), paid her well to enough to make it worth her while.

He and Bob went way back, and Bob dropped in often. It was only recently that "Bob defrocked when he came in." Rita, like me, was a dropout. She'd made her way to Tucson from Montgomery. The only thing she valued from her time at the University of Alabama was a sweatshirt with the embroidered 'A'. She'd come to Tucson to "check out the University of Arizona" figuring "why waste a perfectly good sweatshirt?" That had been three years earlier.

We shared a love of the desert, and enthusiastically discussed plants and creatures. My view was scientific, hers was aesthetic. We'd both teared, viewing that evening's sunset. We were "kindred spirits", the "yin to the other's yang". Or was it the other way around?


The crowd was gone and I moved to a seat across the bar from the wash station to learn more about her. She was cleaning the last glass when Bob walked up. "Larry and I are going out back to smoke up. Do you want to join us, Gene?"

I looked to Rita. "What do you think?"

She shook her head. "I don't ... I can't ... do drugs."

Bob patted my back. "I'll be out back if you want me."

She raised a washed glass, examining it for spots. "I hear you're doing Peyote tomorrow. Do you do a lot of drugs?"

"Define a lot."

She lowered the glass examining me.

I mimicked her stare.

She smiled, returning her attention to the glass. "I suppose you wouldn't have made the effort to fast if you did a lot of drugs."

I asked why she didn't do drugs.

Her "Momma" started every day with a sip of sherry. By noon she switched to brandy. By evening she was into the hard stuff. "It cost her, her marriage." Rita thought Tuscaloosa would be far enough from home, but she found herself slipping into the same pattern. So she quit school and left Alabama. She had "a good thing here" and wasn't going to make her mother's mistake.

Rita's accent came out. "Momma was a southern belle. And as such, she was prone to bouts of melancholy."

"That's the first time you've sounded like a girl from Alabama."

"I'm bilingual. I speak Southern and Midwestern. Dad was from Chicago. They met at a wedding in Lexington Kentucky." Her accent thickened. "A moment of passion, and nine months later, I came along." She shook her head and dropped the accent. "The story got uglier every time Momma told it... And she told it a lot."

She held up the glass. "What do you think?"

"Spotless."

Grabbing a towel--she dried her hands and scanned the bar. "What a mess."

"How can I help?"

I was mopping the floor when she kissed me. She came up behind me. When I turned, she cradled my cheeks in her hands. It was soft, moist, and quick. She stepped away and rubbed her hands on her shorts. "I didn't intend to do that."

I asked if I could intentionally kiss her.

She nodded.

This kiss was a slow immersion.

When it was done, Rita stepped back and took a deep breath. She wiggled my nose with her fingertip. "When we get to my place, you have to take a shower."


The shower was outside, and had no hot water. I was working shampoo in my hair when she joined me. With childlike teasing, giggling, and sighing--we explored the other's sensitivities as we bathed. I traced a drop of water down her spine with my fingertip. Her silky skin rose beneath my touch. She reached over her shoulder and pulled my teeth to her throat.

She turned to me and we staggered to her bedroom--unable to uncouple. At the doorway, she pushed me away while clinging to my thighs with her leg. Leaning against the jamb--she licked her lips and stared at me--catching her breath--catching her self. In a moment of doubt, she was slipping away to somewhere safe.

I'd spent too much time being safe. Had she? The desire in her eyes and in my soul, urged me on.

I slid her hand down my chest and guided it inside her. She closed her eyes and I followed her hand with my mouth. Her moans were music and she tasted of sweet spice. I salivated for more.

The sun was rising when we exhausted our passion. Her chin was on my chest, and she was teasing the lone hair there. She purred. "Have you ever felt like that?"

I thought of the girl I'd left back home. "Not like that."

"I would have stopped."

"I know."

"Thanks."

I kissed the top or her head. "Thank you."

"This is..." she stiffened looking up at me--shaking her head, "I don't do this."

"Neither do I."

"Do you have a girlfriend...back home?"

"Not really."

"What does that mean?"

"I wanted to be free of commitment."

She sat up. "I have a boyfriend. His name is Adam. And he's amazing." Her eyes teared. "And I'm going to have to tell him about you. And I don't know what he'll say ... or do. ... I love him."

I wanted to hold her and tell her everything would be alright. But I was afraid it might push her away. So, I bit my tongue and waited.

She wiped the tears from her cheeks. "Are you a Beatles fan?"

"If I Needed Someone?"

She smiled, holding back tears. "Damn you ...why do you have to be you?"

We made love in the shower it was gentle and safe. She gave me a ride to a payphone.

She stood behind me as I grabbed my pack from the back of her pickup. Her voice was strong. "Do you think Adam will forgive me?"

I turned to her. Her hair sparkled against her tan shoulders. Her eyes glimmered. "He'd be a fool not to."

She tipped her head to the side. "Would you forgive me? Do you forgive me?"

"Rita," I ran my fingers through her hair, "there's nothing for me to forgive."

She asked if she could intentionally kiss me goodbye.


Prior to Rita, sex was like a conversation. I'd been careful to avoid those that I couldn't control. My fear had left me ignorant. Bob was right, passionate immersion is risky, but the reward is boundless.

In time, Rita's face was replaced when I listened to 'If I Needed Someone'. But my understanding of love was forever tied to the night we spent together and my forgiveness of the girl on the stage.




'If I Needed Someone' is a Beatles song. In it, a guy is telling a girl that if he wasn't in love, she'd be the one.

My first sexual encounter was at thirteen with a high school girl from another school. I never knew her name.

Years later, I ran into Jay at a class reunion. The cop was gone, but she was married, and pregnant, and happy. She told me that Mr. Meier had been forced to move his family because of his refusal to promote a man over a more deserving black man.


Thanks Gaili G for the art 'The Cross Watching Wadi Qelt'
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by GaliaG at FanArtReview.com

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