She was tall and beautiful with frizzy blonde hair and a sexy, crazed look in her eyes that should have warned me, but never has.
We had dinner. She talked about her work as a geographer. The woman was quirky but brilliant, and I was infatuated immediately. Then around 11:30 she suggested we drive to Vasquez Rocks, just north of L.A., and we talked the whole way over. She told me about hiking by herself from Mexico to Canada, about overhanging walls of ice that she’d climbed with just a pickaxe. Finally, with a sentimental air of loss she described an older lover who used to fly her around the U.S. in his private jet.
After we parked and began to hike over the strange dark landscape, she told me of the life-changing vision she’d had, hiking alone through Alaska. Anita had felt a strange entity in the air, that it was stalking her, an evil presence in the wind. And as she’d hiked faster and faster trying to escape, the sun had begun to set. Anita told me that she’d felt it growing closer, ready to consume her very soul.
When I asked her what happened after that, she just smiled that crazy smile and scrabbled away over the dark rocks. And then I realized. The ominous presence out there in the Alaskan wilderness had caught her.
And then I realized. That ominous presence out there in the Alaskan wilderness had caught her.
I trailed after Anita to hear the rest.
Next she told me that she woke up at four every morning to travel to a local temple, where she received the word of The Creator from a group of female initiates. These bits of wisdom came from someone she described as the Mouth of God, a man now living somewhere in India. We were deep in the desert, an hour and a half from home, just me and an apocalyptic celibate. Oh yes, she told me solemnly, sexual intercourse was forbidden along with bacon and overly-prepared foods.
I finally convinced Anita to head back sometime in the early morning hours, but on the ride home she let slip ever new and disturbing facts about her spiritual life. Sex was not just forbidden, it was a failure of will. Meat was pollution, and most food had an impure spiritual essence. Purity was the goal here; she desperately needed purity. “They’re beautiful people,” she said about the nuns with whom she prayed every morning, “but sometimes I think maybe the world isn’t ready to end. They keep saying it’s all about to happen.”
We were finally heading back and I saw the lights of L.A. just as she began to describe the horrifying visions she’d had of my city’s destruction, buildings leveled by God —fire, desolation and death.
I did ask her out again about a month later, but she wasn’t interested…