When I was a child I used to love roller coasters. My family would make regular trips to Disneyland to ride the Matterhorn and later Space Mountain. As a teenager, Jackie and I frequented Six Flags Magic Mountain where we rode the terrifying Colossus. I outgrew my fascination with roller coasters, as my life gradually became one giant thrill ride. I had been up and down continually in 1988. After deciding to drop out of film school I was essentially quiet and detached for a few days. I didn’t really announce my decision so nobody really knew what was going on.
I walked into the Sunset Learning Center one seemingly normal and uneventful afternoon with my mind in the clouds, once again trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my shambles of a life. I put my backpack down on a table and poked my head into our kitchen area where I found my boss, Bonnie, sitting with a young woman who was bent over, filling out some papers. “Van Firenze,” Bonnie began, “I’d like you to meet our newest tutor, Lindsey Elmwood.” She quickly looked up, flashed a few teeth, muttered a brief “Nice to meet you” and continued with her task.
I felt a wave of electricity shoot through my body. I stood in the doorway transfixed. I continued to stare at her. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I immediately knew who she was. I was filled with a rush of emotions, thoughts, recollections, sensations and most of all shock. Bonnie turned around and gave me a funny look. “Do you need to talk to me?” she wondered.
“No…no…I don’t.” Lindsey looked up again and I got an even better view. She was wearing torn Levi’s with patches covering her knees. A thin white blouse covered a pale blue T-shirt. Her medium length, light brown hair was streaked with blonde hi-lights. She had very big brown eyes, prominent cheekbones, and her hair kept falling about her face. She could have been any girl from down on Telegraph Avenue. But she wasn’t. I might have passed her by on first glance, as she was so dressed down and seemingly unkempt.
I struggled to get back to my table where I had a lesson scheduled in ten minutes. I went through the motions of getting prepared and somehow did what I needed to do. My mind and heart were racing at a pace that would qualify them for the Indy 500. I had recognized that face and that form instantly. When she spoke it only confirmed it. She…she was the angel from my dream/vision of six years ago. I had never been surer about anything in my life. As confused and shaken as I was, I was absolutely certain about one thing: I was in love with her!
Now, love at first sight is a romantic notion best kept in Shakespeare tragedies and syrupy pop songs. I would never have believed in such a concept had it not happened to me at that instant. I have talked about my “sensitivity” in prior chapters. By the end of the afternoon I knew several things about her, all of them sensed by my fleeting moments in her presence. I knew she was a Pisces. I knew she was involved in some creative endeavor, though I wasn’t sure what. I knew she was from the East Coast and I was sure that we would be linked in some dramatic way for the rest of our lives. Of course, at that moment, I presumed the linkage would be something traditional like marriage. It would take me years to fully comprehend just exactly how we were linked.