A high school friend texted, wondering when we'd see one another again. She's out on Long Island and I'm in the Sonoran Desert; it's not as if we can drive to the diner and catch up. We have a stronger connection now than we did then, distance not-withstanding.
We renewed our teenage friendship at our 40th high school reunion, eight years ago. Bob Iger was there (he was voted Most Enthusiastic by our Senior Class, back in 1969) but none of the boys I cared about attended. Not my 9th grade boyfriend, who ditched me when he invited Roomie to the Spring Dance. Not my Senior Year Boyfriend, who slept around that summer, while I was in Europe. Not My Best Friend, with whom I played Connect Four for hours on his bedroom floor, with whom I exchanged five page, hand-written letters all through college, whose wedding I attended, and who I haven't seen since.
I have those memories stored at the top of my brain's Things To Think About box, directly below the tests I struggled to complete, the invitations I didn't receive, and the birthday corsages I missed. It's a pile of unhappiness, and I don't understand why it's still so present.
I haven't been in love with that short, blonde, smiley face for 54 years; how can it still hurt this much?
Do you do that to yourself? Do you stockpile the hurts and the slights and your own misdeeds, taking them out for a stroll every now and then? Sometimes they are brought up indirectly; the corsage memory came from watching Van Heflin in Kid Glove Killer last night. Some of them live close to the top all the time, butting into an otherwise lovely afternoon, reminding me of being left out, alone, unloved and unwanted.
At least that's how it felt at the time.
Zoloft helped with some of it. Ativan comes in handy, too. But the newsreel of my life, passing on a continuous loop through my head, seems to trip over the times I listened to G'ma and Daddooooo fight, over the slings and arrows of teasing and bullying and wanting what I didn't know how to get.
That's really the crux of the matter. I wasn't happy with what I had. I wanted more. What it was, I didn't know. I just knew that it wasn't what I had, right then, in that place, at that time.
It was 50 years ago. It feels like yesterday. Julia Roberts was right; those bad things have staying power far beyond their worth.