Drifting thoughts of a snowflake

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

We are going to be friends

Lately I feel like I’m constantly walking down a road in my past. I walk a little, stop and pick up a memory, fully inspect it, and then stroll along again waiting to stumble across the next one. I’ve been listening to Jack Johnson’s version We are going to be friends, by the White Stripes, on repeat for about 3 hours straight. It takes me back to elementary school with the little desks and short ceilings.

I was a precocious child during my time at Walnut Bend Elementary. I fondly remember locking Cindy H. in the jacket closet for daring to wear the same dress I had on one day. I became friends with her in high school and always wanted to apologize for my juvenile behavior, but never had the nerve. I suppose shame kept me from opening my mouth.

I went to elementary through high school with my x-hubby, and the lyrics to that song remind me so much of our time together as children. I relentlessly teased him. I sat behind him in one of my classes, and would carefully study all his drawings. Despite the fact I never saw him paying attention in school, he was a diligent and excellent student. He was one of those students who always made the “Who’s Who in Texas Schools” list, and got countless scholarships for college. This was a far cry from my academic pursuit, which consisted of doing only what was required to obtain an above average mark.

I remember the first time I saw him in those tiny halls of Walnut Bend. We were walking in straight-line formation to the cafeteria for lunch, and our paths crossed. We couldn’t have been more than 10, and I pulled on the shirt of the girl in front of me to ask who he was. I spent the next several years keeping a close eye on him.

In middle school I learned the art of make up. I didn’t use much on my face, but found it an excellent device to conceal the marks my mom left on me from the night before. No longer was I considered the pitiful little girl who’s parent’s beat her. I transformed into a pretty girl with confidence. Most of the other girls were going through their awkward stage, but thanks to Covergirl cosmetics, I found the way to erase my bruises and become beautiful.

My x-hubby asked me to our 8th grade homecoming. I was ecstatic. The cutest line backer on the field would be holding my hand any minute, and we would be whisked away in the limo after the game. On the way home, he asked the driver to stop the car at the end of my block. We got out and he walked my to my house holding my hand the whole way. The limo slowly followed behind us, as the old-fashioned meter lamps lit our way home.

In high school I became a notorious bad girl. Tired of modeling school, cotillions, and primping for the Junior League I slowly went through a transformation into a little punk rock kid. The X and I spent countless hours on the phone and passed notes through our lockers. Acronyms for every possible saying were devised and we were a solid couple. He was still making the list of kids to watch, and I was making the list of kids to watch out for.

At 15 we decided to have sex. I remember him crying the next day, and telling me how beautiful it was. I just remember being scared to death I was pregnant, despite the use of contraceptives. He wrote me pages upon pages of poetry and gave me flowers every week. I adored him, my little football guy, and he adored me, his little punker girl.

I broke it off with him our junior or senior year, to date other people. I had no idea I would compare every other boy to him in school. He dated the head cheerleader, and we were still in love but tried to fulfill our teenage expectations of dating.

When college came, a plethora of scholarships poured in for him. His poetry was published and was read in art galleries and museums around Houston. I was clueless about where to go, and headed off to be with my sister and in a place where concealor wasn’t required. He went his way, and I went mine; always looking back to see where the other was going.

Here we are again, old friend, parting ways once more. I’ll always be looking back to see where you’re going, this time knowing our paths won’t cross in the same way they once did. I’ll always think back to the flowers and love notes that have shown up throughout my life. I can’t say I made a mistake. Some things aren’t meant to be, but “I can tell that you and I are going to be friends” for a long time to come.

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