“Reasons Why Your High School BFF Will Be Your Friend For Life”
Some linked post I saw over on Facebook the other day. I was off, bored, lonely and trying to seek some relief from the hollows of my head and thickness of my heart that have plagued me the past couple of weeks. The splintering of a relationship I had before believed would be with me until one of the two of us could no longer take breath into our lungs…and maybe even beyond. Jeremy’s friend falling off the wagon so hard that it stopped his heart and the ache my sweet and tender son will live with and always know because of it. The knowing that as sad as that is he will be a more compassionate and loving man for letting himself feel that pain and be there for the others that are shaken and broken a little now too, letting that be my exhale and light at the end of that dark tunnel. The call from my father in law, the one telling us that my husband’s cousin was preparing a service in the church he volunteers in, for his daughter that they found murdered just a few days before her 15th birthday. Wishes and hopes for "lifelong" dashed and weighing heavy on my swollen but stubbornly hopeful soul. So click I did…
Clicked through the reasons I didn’t understand but spent more time scrolling through the sixty plus comments that followed. Eyes pouring over the highlighted tagging of high school buddies, the “LOL” s and the semi wistful clouds of prom remembrance people left like a scrawled, “Have a great summer” and “Keep in touch” in a yearbook that might be cracked open once or twice before it’s packed away in dusty tapped up boxes that will act like totem poles, standing guard over the attic or garage.
I didn’t go to prom. Fuck, I barely went to high school. I entered the tenth grade but was asked to leave for my lack of compliance. I was a dick, plain and simple. Of course they didn’t want me back at Poly High and even the “continuation high school” I flirted with tossed me for not bothering to show up, “Even though when you do you turn in the most compelling papers I’ve ever read”….now there’s a person from high school I wish I’d stayed in touch with, that one pained face of a teacher that tried to reach me. No, I faked sick, offered to do the laundry and cook dinner, any little thing I could do to not be forced into a desk that highlighted how much I didn’t, fit. Big tits, boy’s clothes, a full mouth that oozed foul words and carried numerous threats. Everything from ripping them a new asshole to making them crave me. Green eyes with thick bands of black eyeliner, always pointed down to my papers, my desk, my shoes or the pavement they slapped upon as I ran the fuck away from anything that might help me and right into the arms of the things that would eventually form me.
My prom, as it were, was spent on a bus. I was 18 years old, dropping my fifty-five cents into the clanking change counter, doors heaving and huffing hot air across my back as they slammed shut and the bus driver told me to, “move beyond the yellow line”. The shot I’d been given to stop my lactating had punctured a nerve making steps and walking nearly as painful as concurring those steps at the hospital to visit my tiny son with his eyes tapped shut, bitty warm fingers and astoundingly strong heart that pounded away even though he was born two months early, nearly as painful as walking back down those steps, hauling myself back on a bus, without being able to hold him, without being able to take him with me. A million miles away from puffy dresses, rented cars and the fumblings of first time touching. I’d been touched and sunk my teeth into the touching back. There were no hands shaking as they tried to pin a corsage to my strap, no parents taking pictures and laying out rules. I made my own rules, as self-destructive as they seemed. That full mouth devouring the fringe that lived outside the bindings of yearbooks, proms and high school BFF’s. Never the most beautiful. Never the most desirable. Never the smartest or most accomplished but, I never gave up.
“I’m kinda floored at how many of you are here” my words lilting past my goofy grin as I leaned across the table and splashed a puddle of Alpine wine into a waiting and wanting glass. The crowd was not only present, they were damn enthusiastic and all sponge like, there to listen, taste and learn about wines from a cooky little corner of France, the Savoie and Jura. I stood there shaking my head, feeling each wonderfully earnest utterance of “I didn’t know” and “Wow, these are so different than anything I’ve ever had before” marveling in their trust and willingness to let me teach….let me, teach them. Shaken as I watched them clamor over the last bottle of this or that. I didn’t go full Jura on them, didn’t pour anything too wonky or oxidized. In fact I showed them what cool, fresh, not expected wines you can find if you don’t write an entire region off for not quite fitting in.
“You know, it’s really easy to walk in a room and figure out who’s the best looking, not as easy to figure out who’s the most interesting”…I felt the words drip off my lips, saw eyes widening and the “Holy shit, I get it” bulbs go off, as people let the somewhat awkward but still brilliantly persuasive wines pull them, just, a, little, closer, just then I looked to the register at the front of the store and saw my prom date for the past 24 years. His mouth full like mine, smile without question one we share, his strong little heart the one that stopped me from running and taught me a new way to use my…me-ness in a way that helped us. Much like the wines I was pouring, we don’t always fit but, there is more to the story for those that are willing to listen.
So to the wines that let me speak their praise
The people that hunger to listen
The palates that find sexy in quirk…
To the young man I am so very proud to call my son, my prom date
May I have the next dance?