Why hadn't Rusty-James seen Steve for five or six years in Rumble Fish?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter One, Rusty-James runs into his old pal, Steve, on a "beach" somewhere--probably in California, where Rusty's mother is believed to be living. (Could it be that Rusty-James has headed to California in hopes of finding her?) Steve has left Tulsa, never to return; now a college student, he hopes to become a teacher some day. Rusty-James has probably not been out of the reformatory for long, since he served a five-year sentence following his arrest on the night the Motorcycle Boy was killed. Since his release, Rusty-James has been unemployed and just "bumming around." The final chapter picks up where Chapter One leaves off, with Rusty-James deciding to skip Steve's invitation for dinner: Steve will only remind him of the past he is trying hard to forget.