Monday Morning

I had this friend at the end of high school. We are no longer in touch and have not been since about sophomore year of college.

But from the summer after high school until the end of our friendship, we were inseperable. We worked at the YMCA together as lifeguards and swim instructors. We were joined at the hip, from 5 in the morning until 10 at night. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, he opened the pool at 5 and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it was my gig. Regardless of which was actually being paid to be there, he picked me up every morning at 5 and we opened the pool together. Whomever of the two of us wasn't on duty would go to Hardee's when it opened and get breakfast for the both of us but mainly, we'd sit at the guard table and talk.

About everything but a lot of the time, since high school kids are dorks, we talked about music. We were post-hippy kids with parents who had extensive album collections that included deep cuts of Pure Prairie League, Marshal Tucker Band, and New Riders of the Purple Sage. We loved this stuff and immersed ourselves in it fully. We went to see The Steve Miller Band in St. Louis, during the flood in 1993. It remains the best concert I've ever been to on many levels. I think it was during that show when we fantasized ourselves buying a beater boat together, painting it like a shark, and ramming it on the shores of the Yacht Club where our high school nemeses hung out in the summertimes. We spent several weeks boat shopping but it turned out that $300 would not get a couple kids much in the way of a boat

In the end, the dissolution of our friendship was messy and happened due to the sad circumstances that can arise from kids being involved in adult risks and not fully understanding them.

We were both home at Christmas break and took at gratuitous shift at the Y together, for old time's sake. He made a really bad decision and I took off to wait for him elsewhere. Of course he got busted and I was assumed to have been involved. I wasn't though, and at the time, it was important for me to prove that I wasn't involved. I wasn't exactly a Golden Child and this would have really, really hurt my family in ways I didn't see necessary given that I was 100% innocent.

I got cleared of all suspisicion and it turned out that the incident was the first of a sudden lot that ended with a him in some pretty serious trouble. I would have been there for him but I was not only unforgiven for not sharing in the first bust but as I said, he and his family blamed me for a lot of the stuff he was into.

I think I need to say here, to be fair, that I WAS into some of the same things. I never denied that. But I had limits. I knew when to have some self-control. I knew the consequences of my risks and I was not willing to not take them to the levels that he went to. I refuse to apologize for that or for my lack of implication because of it.

Since that day at the Y, I haven't seen or talked to him. I've never really even heard anything about if he stayed in town or moved to Florida or had kids or changed his license plate.

I don't think I knew how greatly it all affected me at the time but I went back to school and I sort of spiraled out of control myself. I didn't have this root friendship anymore. I had a whole in my confidence because at the time, of course I questioned my actions - I was a kid. I ended up mourning the demise of that crucial relationship in really unhealthy ways.

Then I stopped thinking about it because time? She really does heal.

Lately, I've been taking stock of the life of my friendships. I have recently discovered a love for a college friend and I've very recently found a place to park and leave a love that I no longer need to carry for its weight is so heavy.

When I think about him, I remember how hot were the days of the heyday of our friendship. The first summer we knew each other, we were on the edge of a love affair all the time. We'd sit on a sectional couch in his parents' basement and smoke and watch Speed Racer and Daria on MTV. We'd make up alternative storylines with me as Trixie and him as Speed, saving the pool. We'd fantasize about cars and Birkenstocks and stand on a shared ottoman to look out the basement's windows when we saw headlights that we expected to be someone coming to hang out with us.

A lot of times, we'd see that we were going to have company and we'd turn out the lights and hide on the floor. More than once, we'd invite some other lifeguard to come and hang out later but then when it was later, we just wanted to be in our own weird world.

There wasn't anything physical between us, not anything to speak of anyway. In fact, he slept with most of my friends and wanted to sleep with my sister. But we were best friends in the desperate way that only kids at the tail end of kidship can be. In the rare hours we were not together, we were talking on the phone with each other.

We were possessive and flirty. We rarely touched each other but we were in each other's space all the time. Hooking up hardly happened but when it did, it was invariably at the great expense of a new girlfriend for him or a new boyfriend for me, usually in a last minute coup of grabbiness when the poor girl or guy was spotted walking up to knock on the door.

But the biggest thing we loved together was music that nobody else loved. We'd go through and choose the songs we wanted to hear, arrange the albums on the floor in an agreed-upon order and turn out the lights, making album changes and song selections by the lights of the stereo.

Our main favorite was Monday Morning by Fleetwood Mac. We'd turn out the lights and lie on the floor, listening to music, to lyrics and thinking about each other.

We got it.

We didn't have to talk about it to understand how much the song described us.

We never got over that song, either.

Once, near the end of our friendship, my phone rang in the middle of the night at college. I fell out of bed and sprained my wrist to get to it because I knew it could only be one person calling me that late.

On the other end of the line was Monday Morning playing.

And I sat listening to the whole thing with him in the dark of my dorm room, quiet for the sleeping roomate in her loft above me.

And when it was over, his midnight soaked voice said, "You will be 40 years old someday and you'll hear that song and you'll look at your husband and you'll close your eyes and you'll think of me and you'll smile."

And I will.

arizonasarah at 5:55 p.m.

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