Friday, June 2, 2017

Nostalgia.

memories, childhood, teenage years, high school, friendships, loss, grief, emotions, love

Once upon a time there was a teenage girl.

That teenage girl started high school in tenth grade, which was the norm in her neighborhood back in the day.

What this meant for this girl and her friends was that there was already a group of students at the high school who knew one another. Who had already had the awkward first year of connecting. Who had already formed their alliances and the like.

But no worries. This teenage girl was very friendly. Not always secure and self-confident, but friendly, for sure. This teenage girl also arrived at her new school, the high school, with her entire graduating class.

So - you could say she brought her own arsenal. Her own posse? Her own peeps.

Though back then, in the late 80s? Peeps would not have been used. Ever.

And so, when this girl started high school she and her friends became embedded into the new sophomore class. The newly formed class that combined the already-in-the-school tenth graders, and the coming-in-from-junior-high tenth graders.

And this girl. This girl made so many friends.

She did. She connected with people in strange ways.

Just - fit right in. Became everyone's best friend.

I mean, she knew who her true friends were - and she knew not everyone was HER best friend - but she had a lot of them. More than she expected.

Girls. Boys. The connections were there.

She wasn't a part of a cool crowd. Not the popular crowd. It never really felt like her school had that. I don't know - I mean SHE didn't know quite how to describe it, but it just sort of felt right.

Certainly there were heartbreaks. Like the day she and her friend didn't make the Twirlers team, and her other friend didn't make Cheerleading, and they knew it was because of 'that girl' - you know the one. The one who was a year ahead of them in junior high and had already established herself in high school.

But it didn't matter.

Because this girl had her friends and she did just fine. And she can still twirl a baton, and her daughter kind of loves it. So there.

And her friends? Some of them have stayed with her for decades. Some have been lost over the years. But the one - the one she worried about most - has crashed and burned.

And today, today this girl found out that he crashed and burned again in the most public and horrible way. And with each piece of information she came across - her heart broke again and again.

It has been fifteen years since this girl, a woman now, had seen her best friend. He came to her wedding. Met her new husband and shook his hand. And then. Nothing.

She tracked him down about a decade ago. Left a voicemail. This was after, though, after the first collapse. He never called her back.

She thinks of him now and then. Finds notes hidden in her memories. Folded up just so.

Remembers him - watching movies in his basement - sleepovers at a friend's house - remembers him coming over to wake her up in the mornings as her mom made them breakfast - remembers when he picked her up before they both left for college and took her to hang out with friends at the diner, all while she was in her pajamas.

Remembers him becoming something. Becoming a well-respected young man. Remembers him screwing things up now and then, but remembers the heart that was in there. The one she loved.

Remembers talking to him on the phone until the early hours of the morning, to the point that he would fall asleep and they'd laugh when he blamed it on her soothing and calming voice. Perhaps he knew she'd do what she does for work now. Perhaps his inclination as to how she could create that environment let her know that she had that power.

She doesn't know.

She couldn't say.

But she knows her heart breaks. She feels ill. She reads story after story, spotting picture after picture, and her heart is so heavy. So so sad.

Because she remembers.

The lost potential. The enveloping hugs and powerful heart.

She remembers.

What used to be. And wonders who failed him the most? Who let him drift as he has? Who didn't raise their voice enough to stop him? Who thought - that's just who he is - and turned away?

She can't take the blame. He pulled away too soon before she could see. But still. Her heart aches for him. Wishing he had turned out differently. Wishing his name would not be the one that everyone from high school will remember like this. The one that flashes through the local news stories and has people tweeting about what a disaster he is and ... just ... wishing.

Because she remembers.

And she wishes that boy - the one who would play with her hair - the one who would advise her against the bad boy in school - the one who would try to protect her heart and keep her safe - she wishes he hadn't gone away.

Because she remembers.

4 comments:

jaime said...

I hope friend comes across this one day and realizes his potential and that he does have value.

Julie said...

Like Jaime, I hope that he somehow sees this and understands how much you always cared about him. It's so hard when we see people making the choices that will lead them away from happiness and there's nothing we can do to stop them.

Beth Ann said...

Beautifully written as always. ❤

Vicki Bradley said...

So beautifully written!!! As you always do!!

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