A New Friend
We lived out in the “country” or the “sticks” as it’s sometimes called, during the 1970’s. There were only 2 boys in the neighborhood that my brother, sister, and I hung out with.
While riding our bikes near a construction site up the hill, we watched as new houses were being built. Several months later, a girl my age moved in. We were both 12. After her first day of school, I rode my bike up to her house and drove circles around the road in front of her house. I was too shy to go knock on the door.
The next day, I got enough courage to go up to the front of the bus where she was sitting, and talk. I asked her if she had seen me outside riding my bike, and she said that she had. She then invited me to come over. I came over almost every day after school for months.
We were in 7th grade, so it was nice to have someone my age to hang out with. I didn’t really care that she lived in a band new house, that she had nice bedroom furniture, subscriptions to both Teen and Seventeen magazines. She also had 45rpm records of all the top-40 hits. I wasn’t jealous of any of it. What I was jealous of, was that her mother paid attention to her.
Her mother asked how her day was, and genuinely cared. She even asked if she had gotten her period yet this month. My friend was alittle embarrassed at that. It was a little too personal in front of a friend, but I wished my mother had cared that much about me.
Our bus route used to actually stop at the top of our road to let someone off, pass our road, then drop off a bunch of kids, turn around, and then go down our road. So we started getting off the bus at the top of the road and walking. We would get to her house before the bus. We thought we were really something. We would giggle as the bus drove by.
One time while walking down the road, a car load of guys stopped and asked if we wanted a ride. We were terrified. We said “NO” and kept walking. Quickly.
During High School, we went our separate ways for the most part, having different groups of friends, although we did have shorthand class together. Our brothers wound up being good friends also.
I remember one of our neighbors said something bad about me that wasn’t even true. Her mother defended me, saying I was “her first friend when she moved here.” I had a title of distinction in her mother’s heart.
After college, we hooked up again for a while. She had gotten a job in New York City, and got an apartment there. She would come home on the weekends. I would come up on Friday nights and watch “Dynasty” and “Miami Vice” with her. They always had a few dogs roaming around the house. The furniture always had plastic on it to protect it from dogs, and mostly from us spilling things on it.
After her parents bought her a condo in Queens, I drove down a few times and stayed for the weekend with her. I really hated driving in NYC, but I did it anyway. There was a place in Queens that made the best eggplant parm heroes in the world. We went there every Friday nights that I visited.
She met the man of her dreams on a Club Med Vacation. They eloped. They later had a party and we were invited. She moved out to California, and had a little girl, after the doctor told her she could never have children.