"Kiss From A Rose" (1994/1995), 71B, Angelia, Angelia N. Levy, Batman Forever (1995), Bruce Willis, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, CMU, Dating, Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995), Friendships, PAT Transit, Romance, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Fellowship, Val Kilmer
Twenty years ago on this date, I re-met the woman who’s now my wife of fifteen years, Angelia on a PAT-Transit bus in Pittsburgh, the old 71B-Highland Park into Oakland. It was an eighty-five degree Saturday afternoon in the ‘Burgh. I decided to treat myself to a movie, Batman Forever (1995), mostly because I knew Val Kilmer was in it. After seeing him act as well as he did in Tombstone, I figured I needed to give it a try. I needed a break, between the euphoria of the Spencer Fellowship and the depression from the fire at 616 that had rendered my family homeless.
So here it was, 3:15 in the afternoon, with me dressed in a blue t-shirt with blue basketball shorts and sneaks. I was standing at the corner of Highland Avenue and Penn Circle South, across from my apartment building, waiting for a bus. The 71B showed up first. I jumped on, sat down on the right-hand side in a front-facing seat. As soon as I sat down, I saw her, sitting right in front of me. It was “Angela with an ‘i’,” Angelia, like that Richard Marx song from ’90.
The thing was, I had a dream that she showed up in the Saturday before this one. I hadn’t seen Angelia in more than two years, hadn’t given her any thought. But it seemed weird that she would just show up a week later in the flesh.
So I said, “Hi Angelia!,” excitedly, wondering what she was doing on the bus. She paused, said “Hi” with the heaviest, stop-bothering-me sigh I’d heard since my high school days. That didn’t deter me. I coaxed out of her the fact that she was pissed off with Carnegie Library because a book she was looking for at the East Liberty branch wasn’t there, even though the catalog said it was. It was a conversation that was one-sided, with Angelia doing most of the complaining.
I listened, and thought, “Yep, same Angelia, same weird Angelia.” But since I was weird also, I kept listening. Finally, she asked me what I was up to. I told her about school, my Spencer Fellowship, my family’s homelessness situation. I kept it brief. I mean, I hadn’t seen her in two years.
By the time we reached Oakland — me to catch one of the 61s to Squirrel Hill to catch the movie, Angelia to walk over to the main branch of Carnegie Library — we exchanged numbers, with Angelia saying, “It was really good talking to you.” I wasn’t so sure about that myself, but at least, she didn’t seem as weird as the woman she was five years earlier.
I went to see the movie, but it turned out that it wasn’t out yet. It wasn’t due out for another month! I ended up seeing Die Hard With a Vengeance with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Though much better than Die Hard 2 (1990; one shouldn’t really watch any feature film with John Amos taking up significant screen time, it still sucked, because Willis and Jackson spent half the movie yelling, and Jeremy Irons’ performance didn’t have Alan Rickman’s sense of social irony. I walked home, got together some grub, and through all preconceptions out the window. I gave her a call to tell her about the film mix-up. We ended up talking for more than three hours! It was the first time in a long time I had talked to a woman who wanted to hear what I thought about, well, anything, at least anything outside of sex. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.
A month later, we went to see Batman Forever, and it sucked, just like Angelia said it would. But Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” didn’t. I bought his CD, though, and not the movie soundtrack!