I registered for a full semester of classes at the Community College of Denver -- which actually wasn't so bad, because it was on a combined campus along with the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. I signed up for a Lit. Class, Sociology, a refresher math class, and a 3-D Design class. On the days that we had to be at class around the same time, Kami, Leah and I took the Cherry Creek bike trail down to the campus and sometimes met up for lunch later in the day. Kami's jealousness and possessiveness seemed to be growing, and I wondered if girls every outgrew their eighth-grade cattiness. It was becoming clear to me: I had spoiled Kami's fantasy of sharing an apartment with Leah and having her all to herself. She was doing a miserable job of hiding her crush.
I was starting to sink into the mundanity of what I had hoped would be an adventure: a load of classes and a fast-food job, and no friends other than the roomate love-triange I had found myself in the middle of. The few people I was meeting in Denver were way too conservative for my tastes. I hadn't realized that I would be in cowboy country. I hadn't realized how Republican everyone would be! I looked up the bus schedule and found out that there were several daily trips to and from Boulder and I skipped class one day and spent the day there, hiking the foothills of the Rockies and gathering sagebrush. Hippies were everywhere in Boulder and I longed to move there. I half-forged a plan to transfer to UofC Boulder in a year. Aside from the rich kids who jaunted off to Vail when they skipped classes on Daddy's dime, Boulder seemed like a much better fit for me.
Leah got a call one day from her friend Marie who was caravaning out for a visit with a bunch of friends from her college town, Lawrence, Kansas. Marie and I had gone to high school together, but hadn't spoken much in years. There was some bad blood between her and I, mostly involving that abusive ex serial-cheater of mine, need I say more. Where ever that girl was, drama seemed to follow. Still, Denver was positively dull, and a little excitement and even drama sounded great.
Marie arrived with a whole entourage that would crash with us for about a week. Most of that week is pretty hazy to me still. I'm pretty sure I was high the entire time: LSD, booze and pills. Her friend Darren had a car, and we drove into the mountains and hiked up a beautiful peak where we could see Pike's Peak in the distance. There is nothing like climbing a mountain and standing on the edge of the world. I sometimes miss them still and see them in my dreams. Legend has it that the Indian tribe that was driven out of the foothills put a curse on the Flatiron range that whomever should gaze upon it would always feel a longing to return there for the rest of their days — then they would know the heartache of the tribe. Those foothills will always hold a sacred place in my heart.
Marie's friends headed back to Lawrence, but she decided to stay, along with Darren and Tim, two wanderers who planned to stay in Denver and look for work. Marie was on the run and dropping out of her classes in Lawrence. Whatever happened there was too painful for her to talk about — and she got busy trying to forget whatever it was, spending her days getting bombed. She started staying with an old childhood friend from Cincinnati who was going to school in Boulder and had her own apartment.
The heat from Kami was suddenly off of me, because Leah had turned her attentions toward Darren. And one drunken night when I didn't make it back to my bed and chose the living room floor as my resting place, Darren and Leah took advantage of the privacy of my bedroom and um, well, I'm sure you can imagine. When I managed to stumble back to my bed in the morning, I was horrified to find it in "use." Leah denied anything had happened, mostly to placate Kami who seemed positively irate with jealousy. I was simply disgusted that they had screwed in my bed. Yuck. Leah had some cooked up story about how they had only gone to lay down there in the morning and hadn't spent the night in my bed at all — a story that might have flown if Marie hadn't blown her cover. "Bullshit, I was up with you guys all night and I know exactly how it went down." Leah was genuinely incredulous that Marie wasn't providing cover for her story. And honestly, it was something I could have gotten over. The sheets would get washed and I'd forget all about it. There are worse things in life. But Leah decided to declare war any anyone who had the audacity to question her honesty. She just wouldn't cave on her story at all! She refused to be caught in a lie! Somehow, a deep rage had been provoked in Leah and she became singularly focused on one thing: revenge.