Have you ever thought about someone from your past just out of nowhere for no reason? Someone you haven’t spoken to or even thought about for well over 20 years? Last night I had a dream about this person, and just like back when we were both kids, we were friends again.
It was the beginning of the summer of 1986, My pride and self esteem had just been completely trampled on being freshly ‘dumped’ by the boy that eventually I got back together with and made my life miserable for the next 12 years, so I completely immersed myself in my friends in order to stay busy and be as active as possible so I wouldn’t be tempted to sit home and sulk. This was going to be MY summer, damnit! So, that particular day my friend and I were headed on our bikes to the library. The local library was only down the end of my street then a block over so we frequented it a lot during summertime. Back then our idea of a good time was curling up in one of the beanbags on the floor and reading books for the summer reading Olympics thingie they did every year. We were even really too old to sit in on children’s storytime with ‘Lolly” the librarian but we did anyway. yeah, I was a party animal.. but anyways…
I don’t remember exactly who all was there that day but I do know that was the day I met C. She was sitting on the sign of the Southeast Torrance library with a few of her friends yelling at cars going by. (back then you weren’t in danger of getting your face shot off just by acting like a stupid innocent teen) I don’t remember the details of how we all got to talking but pretty soon I was up on that sign next to her and her friends laughing, talking and shouting at cars too. After that we became inseparable. Up until then I was pretty much a recluse when it came to friends. Sure, I HAD friends.. but I wasn’t a social butterfly that was invited to parties and absorbed myself in social groups like the other kids my age did. I chose to hang around a small handful of people and stuck with those same people until one moved away and the other dropped out of school. So, if my small clique of friends weren’t around I went off by myself. Thing is, it didn’t bother me. I had teachers in grade school always call my mother with concern giving her reports of me sitting off by myself during recess when my friends weren’t there. My teachers feared I had a social disorder but I think I just preferred to stick to what I was comfortable with. She lived about 6 streets up from me which was an easy walk or bike ride every day to hang out. That first summer was a blast. We had formed a small group of her friends that would sneak out late at night and cause what we called back then ‘mischief’. We uprooted stop signs (when they were still easily lifted wooden posts pushed into the soil and not metal posts in concrete) , Century 21 signs and carried them around, pushed each other around in shopping carts and was home before daybreak. We experimented with wine coolers (that was serious booze to us back then!) and prank called people from school that we didn’t like. We spent countless hours at the mall, going to the beach and living the summer the way any teenage girl should live it. She knew I was pining for a boy and I did blabber on about him occasionally…( ok, more than occasionally I would have probably throat punched me if I were her!) My goal at the end of summer was to show up on my first day as a sophomore looking drop dead gorgeous and win back the boy who I thought was the love of my life. She listened to all my banter over that and offered her support as best as she could. Hell, looking back on all of this I don’t know how she did it without slapping me silly . During that summer though we spent pretty much every waking moment together and I can say that she quickly became my best friend. She fit the definition of what I had originally blogged about that a best friend is, to a tee. I’ll always remember that summer as one of the bests ones of my young life. Getting to know her brought me out of my shell socially and made me some amazing memories.
Fast forward to the end of summer to the first day of school. I showed up looking fine! I’ll never forget… black denim mini skirt, sandals and a pink and black top (it was the 80’s.. that was the style so no hating!) I wish I had a picture of what I looked like that day. My plan worked and I made Cris’s jaw drop to the ground. (much to the dismay of the high school Banner Squad girls who all had crushes on him) I didn’t care… I had just experienced an awesome summer, met some new people, made a new best friend and now won back the boy I thought I was meant to be with.
X’s father got him an apartment a few miles down from the high school for convenience, threw a bunch of money at him and headed back to his soon to be ex wife in Alhambra. His dad considered his son an annoyance most of the time, and so just giving him wads of cash that were supposed to be going towards his child support made him feel like he was taking care of him. He wasn’t. X had no grip on reality and knew that if there were any problems he had gotten into that his dad would pay it away. No amount of money could, however take care of the new friendships I had made over the summer. That hurt his pride because he wanted to be the center of my universe. Everyone remained neutral as long as possible. Most likely occasionally exchanging glances with my mother who had now begun to full on hate him. She saw what being with him was doing to her daughter, but I didn’t listen. All she could do was helplessly sit back and watch me make bad decision after bad decision.
My best friend had sort of staged a bit of an intervention for me. She had our group of friends come over and they tried to convince me that I could do much MUCH better than him. In fact, it was right during that time when a fellow classmate approached me and admitted he had feelings for me. He asked me out on a few dates, and then to prom which I accepted. Truth be told, I had begun to grow tired of living under X’s thumb… but his temper and constant threats of suicide made me feel obligated to stay with him. He pretended like he needed me, but what he really needed was someone to stay with him that made him feel good about himself. When I had no self esteem I was easy to manipulate blah blah blah. The more that happened the more I noticed my once close friends were slowly pulling away
The straw that broke the camel’s back happened one night when C decided to have a party at her house. I think it was a birthday party if I remember correctly. I do know that the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp was rented that night so we could sing and purr along to the Siamese Cat Song. Well, the X got word that I was at C’s house and drove over. I should have never went out to talk to him that night… that’s something I’ll always regret. Because I went out there, this was the night that mine and C’s friendship abruptly ended. I don’t know how much she heard of what was going on between me and him in front of her house but X kept telling me to get in his car and I kept telling him no. He then lit up a cigarette to try to upset me and puffed on it for a while. I think I called him stupid for doing that and then told him I was going to go back inside to spend the evening with my friends. It was then that the X pulled out a knife. Things got scary very fast. He told me if I didn’t get in the car he would hurt everyone I cared about. There was also a claim of him having a gun underneath the front seat which turned out to be a lie, but I got in the car with him that night and we drove away A few of the people at the party called the police and they chased after us. He drove us to his apartment with the police in close pursuit, They spoke to the X and it was determined it was a simple domestic incident between he and I. I should have told them about his knife and about the threats, but I kept my mouth shut. Well after that night C never spoke to me again. We went from being the very best of friends to strangers. She had nothing to say to me and so we both went our separate ways. I know I wrote a letter to her once not long after that incident, I mailed it to her home address and got no response. In 1998 when my mother succumbed to her brain cancer I half expected to hear from her since our moms were friends, but I got nothing. After that I tossed out any pictures we had together and considered her dead from my life. I could have really used her friendship during that time, having a family member dying should trump any stupid argument in my opinion. At least I know I apologized to her for being an idiot and the fact she didn’t accept the apology is something I’ll have to live with I guess. X wasn’t worth losing my friendship with C but I learned that a little too late, chalk it up to bad timing 😦