Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kingsbury Road

Today is the birthday of the girl, MM, that was my best friend throughout grade and middle school. She and I were inseparable; I used to go to church with her on Sunday just so we could hang out that day, too. One of my clearest childhood memories is sitting on the curb in front of my house with her eating peanut butter and marshmallow sammiches, or eating Kool-Aid Powder because we weren’t allowed to walk to 7-11 and buy Pixie Stix. We were going to grow and be kindergarten teachers together. We were the best of friends right up til about 8th grade. When we met a group of boys.
(I know boys ruin everything, right?)

She was taken with CT; arguably the center of that group, the funny guy, the one that knew all the lyrics to all the songs, and always had a quick comeback. They dated for awhile but for him, it got old quickly. I don’t remember him saying anything directly to me, but I remember seeing the signs that he wanted out. It was painful to watch, her clinging to him (often literally) and him looking like he’d just stepped in road kill.

It did fall apart, and it wasn’t pretty. Especially, when not too much later the “new” friend (CC) in our little group of neighborhood friends starting dating CT. CC was the real deal for CT. He was stone-cold crazy about her – even I could see it. That new relationship fractured the childhood friendship in a big way. I remember the drama, the tears, the angry notes passed between classes. I also remember thinking it was Stupid. Maybe that was harsh, and maybe it was easy for me because I hadn’t yet felt for somebody the way MM said she felt for CT; but either way, I thought it was Stupid. It wasn’t something she ever got over. In her eyes, I had betrayed her by being friends with the new girlfriend. To say I disagreed, would be mild, the ‘new’ girl hadn’t done anything wrong. She didn’t steal CT from her, and MM’s clingy behavior was downright embarrassing. We eventually became friendly again, but I never trusted it, and neither did she.

CC and I became great friends and got into plenty of average high school trouble together, not to mention drank a whole lot of Jack Daniels together. (I realize that may not be ‘average’ high school behavior, but it seemed so at the time). MM still made appearances, and eventually started up with another guy in the group, JR. I feel like that was off an on for years, I feel pretty confident of that, because I can easily recall at least two other friends that dated JR.

JR, I think, looking back was the one guy I think that I should have given a chance. From 8th to 12th grade, people were constantly pushing him at me. His older brother’s girlfriend, every chance she got, CT, when drunk enough, and even in my own mind I knew how he felt. I remember him giving me a rose one night, under his deck in his backyard, and then walking me home. He always walked me home. I remember one year in high school he took me to homecoming, just because I wanted to go. So completely out of character for him, he showed up in a TIE (albeit with a Jack Daniels tie tac) and took me to that stupid dance. We were quickly bored, and we walked back to his house, me carrying my dyed-for-the-occasion heels. He was a very good guy. I don’t know why I never gave in and I don’t know when he gave up. I’m sure I hurt his feelings; probably more than once.

CT and CC eventually broke up; it was heart-rending. She went off to an out-of-state college, and he stayed right where he’d always been. I think they tried to keep it together for a year or so, but it just didn’t work. I drifted away from the group when she left, and became the one that showed up randomly, I think they were always happy to see me, but so much had changed; it never felt the same again.

JR, eventually married and had children with MM. CT married the little sister of someone who was also an occasional member of the group. Both couples are still married today, and CT still lives about 3 miles from where I first met him, and where we all made these memories.

I’m still in touch with some of these people. One or two of them come here from time to time and read and comment.

If CC sees this, I bet her memories would be altogether different, but no less true.

Generally speaking I don’t have any regrets about the decisions I made along the way. I do, however, think about these people and these years more often than any of the other people in my history, about the choices we made, and the ones we didn’t make. I wonder for all of us what would have happened .. If…

To MM, I hope you're having a happy birthday.

To the rest of you, thanks for everything.


Anonymous said...

Those "what-ifs" can be sobering. One assumes since they did not happen, they must not have been "right," but then, you wonder, could you really just plug yourself into this life, that life? But you didn't.
Stop me when I start making sense.

tiff said...

Choices, choices.

I have freinds who now live in the saem neighborhoods they did when we were all growing up, I sometimes feel like I'm "the one that got away," and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Of course, that was by choice.

Yup, the "what ifs" can be killer, but only if you have regrets. Otherwise, it's simply an interesting intellectual exercise.

Biff Spiffy said...

Will there be cake?

I googled 'birthday' and wound up here, hoping for some damn cake. To say that I'm disappointed there ain't cake may be unfair, but no less true.

Happy birthday MM, and great 'membrances JC!

Kingfisher said...

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." Including yours in the past.

I used to cogitate on just these sort of things quite a lot. Now that I'm older, I have less energy to waste on things I can't change. I only makes me regretful, jealous of my youth's potential, or sad. My life ain't perfect, but it's pretty good.

Still, sometimes when the night is quiet, a melancholy nostalgia creeps in and grabs my heart. I understand this completely. I haven't seen or conversed with my high school mates in over 15 years.

No Celery Please said...

I moved every year or two as a kid until we got to about high school age.

I never had any close friends, life-long friends, like that.

Once I got to HS, I did have a "best friend", but after HS, we started going in different directions and wanting different things (the clincher was that when I met my now-husband, I was all head-over and ignored her significantly to spend time with him and that kind of just killed the whole thing).

Having moved and moved and moved, I find that deep, personal relationships (other than with the hubby) are difficult.

kenju said...

All those experiences made you what you are today, and they are all important in your history. Playing what if is fun, but you made all the right choices - for you.

roo said...

my what if just sent me a text message to see what color my underwear is. which tells me he's drinking at noon and that i made the right decision. :D
that is a magical magical time. the stuff that happens then really is stoopid. but its huge when it happens. and what's crazy is that its still huge later...because of who the stoopid stuff makes you become.

Scottsdale Girl said...

Drinking Jack Daniels in high school is totally average high school behavior.

CC said...

"If CC sees this, I bet her memories would be altogether different, but no less true."

CC did see this, and her memories are not altogether different. They are actually very similar ... almost identical. CC has been strolling dowm memory lane a great deal herself lately, and this post brought back a lot of memories.

CC still stays in touch with some of the other "initials" mentioned in this post. CT and JB just bought a house just up the street from where CT & JR grew up and CTs mom still lives (and also down the street from where JBs parents still live ... about 5 doors up from DTs parents). JBs brother and his wife just had their first child (after 16 yrs of marriage).

CC cut ties with JR about two years after she & CT broke up. I think that even though CC did not cause the demise of MM & CT, MM never let go of that belief ... or the insecurities that accompanied it. While CC & JR were great friends, CC did not want to be the cause of problems between JR & MM, so she dropped out of touch.

The "what ifs" will definitely drive you crazy ... your "what if" with JR, my "what if" with CT.

While, for the most part, I have few regrets in my life, I do wish I had remained closer to those who were such an incredibly important part of my life in high school. I miss you.

cc said...

Oh, BTW ... are you sure it's KingsBURY Road? Or is it KingsBERRY Road? Remember? I still laugh when I think of that damned street sign!