On my return to California just before the date to go to Claremont, I spotted a young lady I had interviewed to attend the college. As had become my habit, I slowed down, and asked my gut, do you want to stop and say hello? My gut said, “sure, why not?” I did, and after a few minutes I asked if she were free to go to dinner at a near by steak house. She agreed in a friendly manner, but when we arrive at the restaurant we were told to get a seat there would be at least a half hour wait. I asked Julie if she’d like to take a short walk on the Carmel beach and come back in time to get a seat. She agreed. Without knowing why, we walked down the beach hand in hand, saying very little. And on the way back, I heard myself asking her, “Well, is there anybody else?” Seeming to know what I was asking she replied, “Yes, there is, but it hardly matters now.
The next three days we took hikes on Point Lobos, and visited the beach, and went out to dinner spending most of the time lost in each other’s eyes. When i took her home, I felt so happy inside, that I blurted out, “I want to feel like I do now, for the rest of my life.” To my surprise she said, “So do I.” “Does that mean we’re engaged?” and she, “Yes, I guess it does,” whereupon we broke out in laughter for a fill minute, kissed, said good night, and the next day informed our respective parents we were engaged to be married to each other, though no date had been set. My father let out a roar of joy, thinking that that which would never happened had happened. Julie’s father, a conservative banker, was a bit slower to come around, but know my father, it was a done deal, inspire of her young age and my very young emotional maturity.
We travelled frequently to each other’s college, and the feeling kept being ignited. Certainly my first love of this intensity. Every thing was fine, even though I did entertain feelings that she was young and could choose to leave me at any time, and then, ‘How was I going to support her,” entered my consciousness, with more doubt that confidence. Then one evening she told me she needed to tell me that before we had met she had signed up to attend Stanford in the UK, and would be leaving in a few weeks for the semester, unless of course I objected and told her not to go. Of course I didn’t want her to go, but my value of allowing free choice to the other, called from me the response, “You must go if you really want to.”
All of this preceded the emergence of the Inner Game. But the next months challenged my very existence. Fear came back with a vengeance, and found me waking regularly at 4am exactly with sweat pouring down my face, and my atomic feeling like cats and dogs were chasing themselves in circles in my stomach. i could barely speak, and found a little relief only by putting on my tennis shoes and running and running in the dark morning until I could run no more.
I sought help, but the anxiety turned to depression, and I could find nothing of the love I had felt, but the same fear that made it impossible to focus on my studies.
After Julie left for England, I left Claremont, realizing I was simply interested in solving my inner dilemma which was by now totally bereft of hope and full of the feeling of helplessness of having no control of what was happening to me. I know now that I allowed these feelings to occupy my consciousness and forget everything wonderful that was still in my life. I simply didn’t want to continue. Again I was losing both on the inside and on the outside. Julie would write, but I could feel nothing, and truth be told, I didn’t want her to find me as I had become.
I had nothing to do but go to my parents home and wait, suffering, not sleeping, not interested in living. When this cycle had reached it’s depth, in the winter of 1971, my Father told me that there was a job opening for the position of tennis pro, at the tennis club in Seaside. It would involve taking care of the shop, string racquets, buying and selling women’s dresses, and giving occasional group or private tennis lessons as requested.
In my mind i thought, “this is impossible; I cannot hold down a real job; I can barely remember my name. At the same time, I felt I had no choice but to keep up the pretense that I was in recovery and this was my next step. So I decided to pretend to accept and see what happened.