(from a possible chapter in my upcoming memoir)

He was a rock ‘n roll skater. I was Cleopatra. Disco skating was popular at the time, but he was no disco-er, thank you very much. He had short shorts, muscle shirt, and purple hair, quite possibly in a mullet. And a nice mustache. I swooned when he skated over to me. 

I had only half worried about what to wear to this Halloween party. While I loved the holiday, I didn’t really know this crowd. How much effort should I put into this? Over-the-top-to-get-noticed kind of dressing or yes-I’m-wearing-a-costume kind of thing? I split the difference and went with simple, yet understated. I did have the all-purpose red ballgown that had served me well as Joan Collins, Miss America and Scarlett O’Hara in the past. But my newly cut bangs and long black hair were crying out for a look of their own. That’s when I spied the robe. A simple white robe, adorned with a gold braid that is worn by Arab men, primarily for sleeping. A gift, of sorts, from my college boyfriend, a literal Arab Prince, who had it hanging in his closet. I learned quickly that if you said “Oh, I like that”, it became yours. I now had this robe and an odd ring that was the insides of a watch. I never said “I like that” after that one. So, now the robe had a purpose. I bought some gold cording (think curtain tiebacks), put on some thick eyeliner, wrapped myself up, and voila: Cleopatra. 

The party was as I expected: loud music, flashing disco lights, lots of 20-somethings there for the free beer. Or maybe that was just me. I think I spent most of the time standing and drinking and observing the masses. Until he skated over. 

“Hi – Cleopatra?” he offered. 

“Um, yeah,” I answered, completely taken aback that this guy was talking to me. “And you are a disco skater?” This is when I learned he was not into disco, thank you very much.

“Rock and Roll. Couldn’t think of what to come as but I saw my skates and thought, well, at least I could skate around if nothing else.”

He owned skates? How cool. And yes, this was the perfect place for it. A large multi-purpose room in a converted Mill that now housed retail on the bottom and apartments atop. The newly installed wood (or wood-like) floor was just crying for a spin in some skates. 

We chatted for a while. His name was Cephas. Well, actually his name was Tim, but he wanted something more exotic so looked in the Bible and found the name Cephas and liked it. Voila. He was a doctor. At the State Mental Institution. And would I like to go out sometime?

Perhaps it was the beer. Or the fact that this guy was unlike ANYONE I’d ever met. But I said an immediate yes and we exchanged phone numbers. Mission accomplished.

Over the next few weeks, Cephas and I would do interesting things when his schedule would allow it. We went to a Pat Methany concert one night. I had to come right from work, where I was working as a secretary to the site general manager at an IBM plant in the area. Think conservative. So, I show up in my navy blue suit and white blouse…and Cephas is wearing an Indian shirt, jeans and his purple tinged hair. The hair had not been done just for the costume. 

Another time he invited me to his home where he cooked me dinner. It was a cute little house in the country, and he gave me the tour, proudly showing me his garden where he grew several varieties of marijuana. Not for medical use purposes. 

He was a fascinating guy, full of wonder and curiosity. Yes, he was a doctor. Yes, he was a therapist who worked at the mental institution. And yes, he was a hippie stoner. 

Our last time together was a trip to Montreal. It was my first time going there and I was very excited. While I had driven through Montreal many times on my Michigan to Vermont journeys, I had never taken the 1 ½ hour trip to actually explore the city. We were going for a hockey game, a Canadian right of passage. Cephas knew the town well, and first took us to Old Town for some café au lait, which completely charmed me and set in me a desire to travel to Europe and experience more of this type of culture. I was truly enjoying the trip when Cephas said he just wanted to stop in a department store before we went to the hockey game. Sure, why not. We walked in the store and he made a bee-line…for the makeup counter. He was looking for some eye shadow that would match the purple in his shirt. As one does. 

To say I was a bit taken aback was an understatement. This was 1981. The guy you were dating didn’t take you to the makeup counter…for themselves. I tried to act nonchalant, like of course this happens all the time. And then we went to the hockey game. 

And that was the last I saw of him. I wonder who he is today.