On the Plaza de Santa Ana our expatriate buddies welcomed us back as heroes. Everybody was excited to sample the marijuana we had crossed the water to bring them. And one night it all came together in the home of an American beatnik who was married to a French woman. They had a nice big house and about thirty of us got together there. Everybody got a chance to smoke the kief. Most of the people had never smoked marijuana and my own experience was only two weeks old. At that time, it was not something one did continually. It was special, expensive, and not very available.
I was sitting on a couch with Ruth next to me and Harold Smith in his tweed suit on the other side of her. In the corner, Sebastiano rolled big “cubano” joints of kief and passed them around the room. Everybody was getting high, most of them for the first time, and everybody altogether at the same time! It was momentous. We were riveted to our seats by the effects of the kief, just sitting there experiencing it and wondering what was going to happen next.
Music was playing and a friendly, happy atmosphere pervaded the group. On the couch next to me Ruth was starting to giggle because on the other side of her Harold was all red in the face and projecting a salacious gleam from his eye directed at her! He would say, “Oh Ruth, Oh, Oh,” like a proper English cave man and she would giggle. But then he started touching and getting a little out of control. Finally, we both said, “You have to stop this now, Harold,” and he would demure only to rise again shortly thereafter. He was taking cover in the idea that this was all the marijuana’s fault. Within the pungent cloud of pot smoke, he was giving his libido free reign.
Eventually he pretended a mild faint and when he came out of it, he said, “Oh goodness me. I have no idea what could have possibly possessed me.” We didn’t buy that ruse but no harm was done either. No doubt, under the surface, this little Englishman was a hot porn star trapped in a tiny body wrapped in tweed.
A week or so later a stout Danish girl we knew was harassed by him in the street to such an extent that she had to beat him off with an umbrella she carried. He limped into the café with quite a lump on his head. We had begun to figure out the nature of “the difficulties” he had encountered in England.
A turning point was coming now in my life; whether to stay in Madrid or go home and go back to school in the fall. Sebastiano and Ruth wanted me to go in with them in renting an apartment. I could teach English. From home, my father was planning a big celebration for my mother’s fiftieth birthday and he wanted me to be the big surprise. I decided to go back.