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Monday, October 27, 2014

Flashback - Young Rafe


Rafe was a source of ongoing fascination to his fellow students at Princeton. They envied many things about him. They agreed he was probably a genius, winning awards and carrying an A average, seemingly without even having to try. He was an outstanding athlete, no doubt about that, setting records in both baseball and football. And, handsome? Well, handsome was an understatement. It might describe his lean body and the lazily graceful way he moved. The black hair that curled around his collar, one lock invariably falling onto his forehead. The high cheekbones and unrevealing black eyes and the rare gleaming smile but it didn’t include the air of sensuous magnetism that was an elemental part of his persona.

On the other hand, Rafe didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs He didn’t confide in anyone. He never came to any of their parties and no one was ever invited to his room. Did he ever get lonely, they wondered? They thought there was no one on campus who he considered a friend. He picked up lots of girls in his ice blue Corvette but sex wasn’t the same as fellowship and wasn’t fellowship a big part of what college life was all about?

One evening, one of the Witherspoon residents, Kirk Stephens, came to his room.

“I’m here to ask a favor,” he said nervously when Rafe opened the door. “Can I come in?”

Rafe opened the door wider and motioned for Kirk to enter. He took the chair by the desk, one booted foot casually crossed over his knee, while Kirk sat on the bed.

Kirk noticed there were no posters on the walls, no dirty clothes on the floor, the desk was neat and the bed was made. In other words, it was nothing like a typical dorm room.

“What’s the favor?”

“Well, some of the other guys on the team bet me $50 that I couldn’t get you to answer a personal question about yourself.”

Rafe looked at him curiously. “Like what?”

“Like anything! Have you ever been in love? What makes you anxious?  Do you have a best friend?”

“Why does anyone care?”

“Jesus, Rafe, don’t you realize what a mystery man you are? Even the sportswriters call you “the enigmatic Rafe Vincennes” because you won’t give them interviews even though the rest of us would crawl on our hands and knees to be featured on the sports page. You joke around with us at practice but you never hang out after. You have women falling all over you but you never go out with the same one twice. It drives us all nuts trying to figure you out!”

Rafe’s impassive dark gaze fastened on Kirk, then his white smile drifted across his face.

“I’ve never been in love. I don’t have a best friend. I don’t get anxious.”

He stood up and that was it. The interview was over. All Kirk’s mates agreed: he didn’t earn the $50.  


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