As I get older it is becoming harder and harder for me to remember things. Yes the stereotype is true in my case. H laughs at me because I forget where I put my keys, my wallet, my papers for school. Monday I forgot the movie I was going to show in my class. And I can't tell you how often I forget my supper. And as I grow further from the past, my memory of events fade. I have dim recollections of my childhood but nothing very vibrant. They are imagined fragments, ghosts, made up of stories and old photos.
But the other day I was chatting (instant messaging) with a good friend from college. This friend and I went through a lot, and he wasn't always the greatest person to be around. However, when you go through shit with someone you have a special bond. And this person is like my brother. Even though there has been a silence of many years, I found it totally comfortable to ease into conversation both on the computer and on the phone. When we talked on the phone, he laughed, and it just flooded me with all the images from Farmington, and the summer I turned twenty-five. Just the laugh....so familiar even after something like 10 years of silence.
As we chatted, he mentioned another person we both knew. In that space, I remembered one of my first meetings with that person. It was very clear in my mind. I had driven to Bath for the day. It was an unplanned trip because I had a lot of work due but I was in the middle of getting out of my rental situation. Because I was living with my best friend it was not an easy move out. She was angry, I was angry, and we were both hurt. So I decided to take Rick up on his offer to visit, and headed out to the coast to meet him. I liked going to Bath. It was (likely still is) one of those charming sea towns once you got to the shore. The drive through was up this big hill lined with fast food places and strip malls. Not pretty. In the distance as you drove this wreckage of capitalism, you could see the towering masts of battleships brought in for repairs at Bath Iron Works. But I really liked about Bath was Rick and his friends. They were, in my eyes, very cool, people I wanted to be like but could never quite manage the cool the way they did.
So I picked Rick up at his parents' place. He was going to teach me to play pool so we went to a billiards place. I kept telling him I sucked at pool but he wouldn't listen. He was determined that anyone could learn, and that he would be the one who could teach me. We played for something like three hours before he finally admitted defeat in the face of my awfulness.
We ate out, and then meet his friends for drinks at this bar I loved. It had chairs and couches in one area so you could sit and drink like you were at a party. It's a bar I still look back upon with great longing, always wishing everywhere I go, that there was another one like it. After a few drinks there, we headed to another bar, a more sporty type bar that had pool tables. We drank more, and I was pretty tanked when we decided to actually play pool. Rick refused to play on my team, and let everyone know I sucked bad. I was embarrassed, more so because I was drunk and these were people I wanted to be like, and people that I wanted to like me. I was irritated at my friend even though we both played this kind of nasty sarcasm with each other quite often.
And the friend he reminded me of, was the one who let me be on his team. He was a player who held his best until people weren't expecting it. It looked for awhile like we were going to lose. But he brought up our score until we were tied. And the last shot was a real bitch. My friend was dancing around, shouting that they had already won, that there was no way I'd make the shot. But I made the shot. I remember my friend kind of standing there shell shocked, and me laughing at his face. It was a good moment, and I remember that the guy who took me on was always nicer to me after that...as if he knew I felt like an outsider.
That night, I can not remember how we got home. I was way to drunk to drive home to Vienna. My friend and I tried to sleep together on his tiny bed but it was uncomfortable...not just physically. This friend and I had spent several nights in the same bed but it was my bed...a big bed that allowed us to keep some distance. Being that close to my friend's body made me a tad uncomfortable, and I remember lying there almost afraid I'd be attracted to him. I made a bed on the floor. It always felt to me like there was a distance to our relationship after that night.
And as we typed, I remembered all this so clearly. I could hear Rick laughing after he got over his shock. I remember being squished in that bad, and feeling so miserable and uncomfortable. I didn't dare let myself feel anything because I was so terrified of rejection. And I couldn't bear to be rejected by someone I cared so much for. That had already happened with a friend earlier and I was too fragile to undergo any more hurt. I don't think I would have felt anything...he was too much like my brother but I can remember that fear, can even still taste it on my mouth with the lingering taste of beer.