When I was in high school, I dated a guy with a shaved head. He drove a VW bus with a Motorhead insignia painted on the front and wore Doc Martens. The first time he came to my house, my mother showed up in my bedroom doorway and said wearily, “There’s a boy here to see you. And he’s bald.” Our relationship lasted only a couple of weeks, and then we broke up, which made me very sad, although in the end it was a good thing, as I later ended up dating his best friend, a pairing which worked out much, much better.
Flash forward MANY years. I’m married to the best friend, and both of us are still very close to the then-bald now-not guy, who is also now married to a beautiful girl and has two amazing kids. There was a time when we all spend a lot of hours getting into trouble together, stories that would make your hair curl, that I think of now and just shudder and cringe and think, I am so lucky to be here, it’s just not even funny. But now, we’re a bit more settled down, as evidenced by the fact that last night, this old friend called up to talk to my husband and I answered the phone. “What are you doing?” he asked. I said I was cooking dinner. He was too. “What are you making?” I asked him. “Turkey meatballs,” he told me. “I make those too!” I said. “How do you do yours?” And so he started to explain: how he chops the onion, and cooks it with a little olive oil, adds spices, the whole thing. I told him I was impressed, telling him my meatballs involve no sauteeing and could therefore not be nearly as fancy. So we’re on the phone, comparing recipes, and I’m thinking this: never in a million years, back in those Motorhead minibus days, would I EVER have imagined we’d be having this conversation. I hoped that we’d still be in touch, and be friends, but who knew? We were 16, 17 years old. Life was just beginning. I’ve said before that living in your hometown makes high school unavoidable, even if most of the people you were close with (such as this person) have moved away. But I have to say that the older I get, the more I have come to value the fact that I am still in touch with so many people who knew me when my life was just really starting. And are still, making meatballs with me, all these years later.
And can I just add that this conversation occurred after I got off the phone with my Best Friend For Life Bianca? Who was my partner in crime (ahem) more times than anyone else, who knows every terrible story I wish could forget by heart? And what were WE talking about, you ask? Answer: What to do if you accidentally leave a Chapstick in a pair of pants, and it goes through the wash, staining all your clothes. Once, our phone conversations were chock full of drama and weeping, hearts breaking and worlds ending at every moment. Now…well, now it’s all about the laundry. But again: I don’t mind. I’m just glad she’s still there, on the other end, all these years later. Again, there were a lot of outcomes I expected from high school. But this is a really pleasant one.
(And FYI, if you DO happen to have a trick to remove Chapstick from clothes, please feel free to share it. We’d both be VERY grateful. Thanks!)