In my life I have several characters wandering. One of my oldest characters has been my friend for nearly fourteen years. We met midsummer at our neighborhood pool when I was going into kindergarten and he into first grade (his sister still too young for school). It’s been so long I cannot remember how we hit it off. This dear character is basically my brother from another family. I swear we knew each other in a past life. We clicked instantly.
When we first became friends, T would invariably show up at my house around ten in the morning for breakfast that summer. Even as we matured T would still arrive around 10 or 11 am for breakfast in the summer. T he was a pudgy, dimple cheeked blue eyed brown haired humor-
bot when I met him. He had a quick temper but forgave fast. T and his sister grew up with me (very easy since we lived a block away from each other). This character and I have had our good times and our bad times in our friendship through the years of course. We usually talked it out. Our friendship is pretty easy going most of the time. He’s one of my rocks. T has literally seen me at my worst; he’s been there when my health wasn’t too positive and my mood dreadful. I have been there for him at his low points in his life, his high points and the daily life.
Last summer we both realized that either of us are just a phone call away for each other. (He moved to the East coast momentarily). Our friendship has been through so much in the last fourteen years, it’s amazing.
T is almost 19 years old now and he’s no longer pudgy and short. T is now 6 feet tall and buff with dimpled cheeks, brown hair and a 5 o’clock shadow. He’s intelligent, humorous, talented with foreign language and heartfelt. When I met T, I never imagined we’d be friends this long (I was almost five when we met), time didn’t mean much when I was so young. Our lives won’t be as easy as they (sort of) are now because we’re entering into adulthood. But I have high hopes for our friendship.
A Favorite Memory
Last July, T and I are sitting (in our pajamas) on his family’s patio chairs outside enjoying the late evening air and cool dry breeze, chatting together. Our conversation is rolling along when suddenly T looks to me and says, “E, I want ice cream. It’s still 80 fucking degrees outside at 10 o’clock and I want ice cream.”
“Okay…Do you have ice cream in the house?”
T glances up from his eyelashes and responds. “Well, not the good stuff… Let’s go to Quality Dairy, they’re open late.”
“Uh, Quality Dairy now?” Was my remarkable response.
“Yeah, you can drive because I don’t know where my keys are. I’ll get my wallet and let somebody know we’re leaving.” T gets out of his chair and prances into his house.
Let’s lay out this scenario: It’s July at 10pm, T & I are in pjs smelling like dried chlorine from the pool, salty sweat and freshly cut grass. T wants ice cream from QD right now. WHAT? Normally I wouldn’t go along with his impulsive ideas but it was 80 degrees and ice cream sounded delicious. So, I heave myself from the chair and out to my car and wait for T to come back out. About a minute later he’s in the passenger’s seat and we’re heading to QD, chuckling about how stupid we are for getting ice cream this late.
As I’m driving I ask, “Did you tell your parents or sister where we’re going?”
T gets a mischievous glint in his blue eyes. “No, I knew they’d want something so I just grabbed my wallet and left.”
Well crap, I’m harboring a fugitive in the car. I sigh, “Call my mom, and let her know where we’re heading in case we get into a crash or something.” T, T, T, what are we gonna do with you? Hopefully my mother won’t be angry about this. She wasn’t, if you were wondering.
Once we arrive at Quality Dairy we realize we’re not the worst dressed customers there, thank God.
“E, I’ve never been here this late before, it’s weird at this time.”
“There’s a first for everything”, I say as the stoner’s choose ice cream in front of us.
Once at the ice cream counter, I score a Traverse City Cherry ice cream flavor while the character I’m with scores a mint chocolate chip.
Once back in the car we eat our sweet delicacy and chat, savoring our bounty. We finish our cold snack and begin to drive back home. But as I drive I can tell that T is thinking about something. His calm, quiet demeanor tips me off.
Upon arriving back in our neighborhood I decide to get my mail before dropping my friend off at his house. That’s when shit hits the fan. There was only one other older couple retrieving their mail (our neighborhood has a mail house). I had no idea what T had planned. I park the car and begin to unbuckle when T whips the passenger door open and hauls himself out of my car.
“E, you can’t keep treating me this way! I’m sick of it. The way you speak to me, the words you yell at me; I’m just sick of it!” T begins raising his voice loud enough that the other couple looks over at us from their car, staring.
My jaw drops as soon as T fumes to me. What the hell? Neither of us have ever abused each other or called the other terrible names and meant it (we insult each other all the time and laugh). We have never raised a hand against one another. Never.
“E, why do you hit me so much? My parents are beginning to notice the bruises. You make me feel bad about myself. Sometimes I cry. E, I count as a person too! I count! You can’t keep doing this; we’re bad for each other.” His arms are flailing and his eyes are snickering at me. Then as he rants, T loses his façade and smiles.
I’m already laughing hysterically at this point, knowing he’s joking and causing a scene. This is so T. My worry now is the couple still appalled in the car next to us. Please nice couple, my friend is playing a cruel joke on me, please don’t call the police. As the couple stares at us, they clearly can see my laughter and eventually just pull away in their own car.
Once the couple is gone T settles back down in the passenger seat and begins to just guffaw. We are laughing so hard we can barely breathe. We’re barely making noise now and tears are streaming down our faces.
When finally T and I can catch our breath, still smiling I ask, “What the hell were you thinking? That couple could have called the police.”
T grins, “I wasn’t thinking much, other than, don’t start laughing yet, and don’t blow this scene. I found my antics quite amusing.”
“They were, you couldn’t have done it better. But good lord, “You make me feel bad about myself”?” I quote him. “That was good, really great.”
He humbly responds with, “I know.”
Let’s just say I didn’t have the motivation to get my mail after that. I just took him home and called it a night.
I will NEVER forget this memory.