Friday, July 30, 2010

How I remember it

It was summer and Darby had a little league game at Alpenrose main. I wanted to go - I went to all the games with Brenda and her family, even after they moved out of our neighborhood a mile or so to Highland Hills. Things weren't looking that great at my own house, there was a kind of finality in the air. I was 14; all I wanted to do was what I always did - go watch the baseball game.

So I left at, I don't know, around 3 or so, to walk over to Brenda's. I don't remember exactly but I'm guessing the game started around 6 so we would leave from her house at around 5:30. I remember sitting in their dining room, just waiting around to leave, when I heard a siren in the distance. And knew.

About 15 minutes later my brother Tom showed up to take me home, but I didn't want to go. I remember not crying or really even saying anything, I think I just wanted it to be normal, until Brenda's mom found me and hugged me, hard. Then I think I just cried because I didn't like being the center of attention, that this wasn't going to be a regular summer night and that I wasn't ready for this sudden change. I told Brenda's mom to make Tom leave because I wasn't going with him, and so he left.

A little while later Barbie showed up. She was 26, so she was old, and there really was no saying no to her. I had to leave with her and I wasn't happy about it, and I know Brenda and Lenore didn't really know what to say or do so they stood there at the top of the stairs and watched me leave. I don't think I spoke in the car or even at home, though Barbie did, and I remember her speech, but I didn't want to cry in front of everyone because they expected me to. Anyway there were enough people at my house when we got there that I could just fade into the background.

By the time we got home the body was gone. I remember Mom calling Alaska to tell Benny and Chris. I remember Brad and I going to Burgerville (a very rare occasion - we never had fast food). I remember my mom being pissed at the ambulance company for running the siren when she specifically asked them not to (and I still think that was for me), but I don't remember much of anything else. Sitting around, too young to drink, wondering what was next and not wanting to find out.

Brenda and Lenore phoned me from Alpenrose. I remember that because I can imagine how hard that must have been for them. That was like really shocking to me, that they cared enough to call. We were neighborhood friends since we were toddlers, we were more like siblings than actual friends. I guess I was just surprised to see how people treat you when they care about you.

The rest of it was just auto-pilot. The first time I ever got drunk was the day of the funeral; that was the first time I ever met my Aunt Pat, too. Auto-pilot, act like it's just another family event, don't let them see you sweat. Nobody tells a 14 year old how they are supposed to act at a time like this.

Since then I have always been the girl without a dad, back when divorce was what happened to public school kids. Nobody on my end of the family ever talked about it; it happened and then it was over and then life just went on.

I went to public school, I made lots of friends, I drank too much too young, I sort of went to college, I learned a great work ethic, I moved out of state, I had relationships, disappointments, victories, memories. I can be friendly, intimidating, mean, loud, helpful, thoughtful, moody and irritable. I've been every age to 44, but still sometimes I'm just 14.

And that's that.

2 Comments:

At 1:50 PM, August 02, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was your best post I've ever read. I'm not sure what prompted you to write it...was it a day that was meaningful, or a memory that popped in in and then out? I feel like I want to know, and that I should probably already know.

Anyway, it was a beautifully written post and I thank you.

BH

 
At 4:54 PM, August 04, 2010, Anonymous Barbie said...

I'd like to know what I said to you on the drive home. I don't remember much about that day because I was drunk and shouldn't have been.

 

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