After the disastrous attempt at a sexual encounter, Dora’s ardor cooled somewhat. She still enjoyed making out and cuddling with Rudy, but she never again went to Rudy’s home unaccompanied.
Between Rudy’s job and Dora’s school, their time together had decreased significantly. The Friday night socials were, as always, a highlight of the week. But on occasion, while at these gatherings, Rudy could see Dora fiddling with his ring as she appeared to drift away from the festivities at hand. At he same time, Marie attempted to engage them in energetic conversation.
Life had pretty much settled into a mundane routine.
As a way of breaking the boredom, Rudy and his friend Darryl decided to spend a night out on the roof of Rudy’s home. The fall weather was quite mild, so they decided to bring some blankets and pillows so they could sleep out under the stars. Darryl had somehow managed to snag a couple of beers. While teenage beer consumption would be no big deal today, It was a pretty big thing back in 1963. Marijuana was just starting to be an issue and pills were not yet a problem among the middle class kids. They really enjoyed their evening,
Next day, the shit hit the fan. Turned out Daryl was a product of a broken home. His mother freaked out that he was out all night. When she grilled him about the night out, Daryl revealed the beers he had supplied. This really sent her through the ceiling. She called Rudy’s parents and arranged a sit down with all parties concerned.
Rudy viewed this as a minor inconvenience. Since having been signed out of school, Rudy had pretty much enjoyed emancipated status, even though legally he was not emancipated..
Rudy’s parents were going through a rough spot of their own and were currently on the verge of separation.
During the course of the conference, Daryl (worm that he was) let loose a revelation of Rudy’s involvement with the Seven Sinners (from which he had been excluded and that hadn’t gone down very easy). He even revealed that one of the member was a police plant (News to Rudy). Well this really rang some alarm bells with Rudy’s parents (his father was already suspicious of Rudy’s activities with Dora). Rudy’s parents assured Daryl’s mother that they would be clamping down on Rudy’s activities (this was also the first they had heard of Rudy’s alias.).
Thus Rudy learned first hand of the inadvisability of letting a friend know too much about your personal life.
The next time the Sinners gathered hat week, Rudy learned that Daryl had issued challenge that he was going to beat Rudy’s ass.
“Don’t worry, Rudy” Ralph said, “we’ve got your back!”
“Not necessary” Rudy replied “I can take his candy ass any day of the week.”
Came the appointed hour and Rudy and Daryl confronted each other for what was to be their final confrontation. Rudy and Daryl trade blows back and forth for a few minutes and then, the moment came that Rudy knew was inevitable, Daryl landed a blow to Rudy’s nose. Daryl smirked thinking he had gained the upper hand, Rudy wiped his nose which was bleeding heavily.
You stupid fuck! thought Rudy, You never learn, and now you are dead meat!
Rudy whaled into Daryl without mercy and Daryl was unable to defend against the berserker attack. He left him lying on the ground in a fetal position.
Rudy went to meet with the Sinners who had agreed to stand down.
“Dude!” said Ralph “are you OK, you look like a raw steak”
Rudy grinned and said “You should see Daryl”
Rudy turned to Mr. Brooklyn and said “I like you a lot, but Daryl outed you as a plant. I am sure that you know that we are harmless and will report that to your superiors” .
Mr. Brooklyn looked around at the gathered members and hung his head.
That was to be the last meeting of the Seven Sinners as a coherent group. It was also the last time that Rudy was to interact with Daryl.
Rudy’s parent decided that the best way to handle the current situation was to send Rudy off to Puerto Rico to stay with relatives. Relatives that Rudy did not even know or feel comfortable with.
Rudy’s mother purchased tickets or Puerto Rico, round trip for her, One way for Rudy.
Rudy told Dora about his mother’s decision, She was shocked , but yet somehow unconcerned.
That weekend Rudy and his mother arrived in Puerto Rico where they were met by her brother Peter. Peter lived in Ceiba located on the far eastern shore. Peter worked at Roosevelt Roads air station and his home was within walking distance of the beach, Upon arrival at the house he was introduced to his cousins Aida, Carlos and Luis, and his aunt Ada. They did their best to make him feel at home.
Rudy’s mother told him he had a choice of staying with her brother or his fathers brother Juan who lived a few miles away in his fathers hometown of Las Piedras. Next day, uncle Peter drove the to his uncle Juan’s home in Las Piedras. He was introduced to his uncle, his aunt Petra, and cousins Bildad and Elizbeth. Again he was welcomed an told he could stay as long as he wanted.
Decision time! Uncle Juan’s household was strictly Spanish speaking and heavily participants in the Pentecostal religion. Uncle Peters household was bilingual with no religious leanings. Plus it was close to the beach. To Rudy it was a no brainer. Uncle Peters was the most desirable residence.
The next day he and uncle Peter took his mom back to the airport.
Rudy thought himself fortunate that he could spend December at the beach.
But soon he grew tired of the clashes with his cousins who resented his presence as an intrusion. He decided to visit with his uncle Juan for a time.
His stay with his Uncle Juan definitely improved his command of Spanish. Live in Las Piedras was extremely boring. Fortunately, he was not made to participate in going to church once he made his preferences known.
During his stay with uncle Juan, he became very ill and was diagnosed with Dengue fever. His cousin Eli became his constant caretaker and companion. Rudy became increasingly homesick during this period and begged his parents to bring him home.
Finally, at the end of January 1964, his parents relented and sent him a ticket to return home. He made his goodbyes to his cousins and was driven to the airport by Uncle Peter. His parents met him at the airport and took him home. Things at home had changed. His parents had separated and were living apart. Rudy opted to stay with his father in Brooklyn while his mother and resided with friends in Queens.
Rudy had corresponded back and forth with Dora during his period away and was looking forward to seeing her again.
He came home from a job search one day and ran into Dora and Coraline coming down the stairs from his apartment.
They stopped on the second floor and Dora told Caroline to wait downstairs.
‘Rudy,” said Dora “I came to return your ring to you. I no longer want to be your girl.” With that, she placed the ring in his hand, gave him a peck on the check and rushed down the stairs.
Rudy looked at the ring in his hand dumbfounded and followed Dora’s fleeing steps down the stairs.
He was never to see her again.