By May B. Yesno © 2007
An evenings interview with non-entity life styles. File: Background. Expense: Research. Quality: 2HC; Dubious.
Friends are a difficult thing. As a matter of fact they are almost impossible. Difficult to find for the first thing and just as difficult to keep - especially in a mobile society.
Massachusetts and Boston, in a summer of youth. The summer of separation from hearth and kin. Many events to educate, to celebrate and to carry into age for polishing and fondling and re-creating youth. And this is such a tale. A simple thing, yet worthy of the energy expense bearing it to advanced age? I'm not entirely sure. Yet it is one that I know will travel with me to that destination.
The beginnings of the friendship are obscured. I'm not aware of an event, could not even attach a place to the incident of my meeting and subsequent friendship of these two men. I do know that one owned a car; which in itself was an attraction, my family being without one. As I remember, my friend owned a black and yellow Ford Crown Victoria convertible with an automatic shift. I also remember that somewhere in that long summer of never ending enjoyment I had occasion to drive that car some distance with a willing female, destination Keg Party. I also remember I took that car over the one hundred and ten mile per hour mark on a back country paved road.
It began to rock and roll pretty badly just after passing the one hundred mile per hour mark.
Looking back on it, it could have been just me realizing that I had very limited driving experience - like none at all; it was only the second time I had ever driven anything, and perhaps, that I did not have a drivers license. The license stuff had to wait for some period of time.
There were a lot of things about that summer that were firsts. I was introduced to alcohol that summer. And discovered what the Screwdriver and Purple Jesus were made with, and what the phrase "It is all good" really meant, at least as it pertained to drink. That other stuff had to wait for the professional ladies of Europe. I was a late bloomer. Strange that, considering I was always near college towns. But my friends were pretty well-heeled, with good connections, to use the vernacular of the day. Most of my other men friends wore slacks and quality shirts, not jeans and Tees; the women were proper, meaning they wore shoes without bobby socks and the quality of their clothes was such that my monthly pay was less than a week's pocket money. It was also the first time I ran into the real life definition of "Snobbery," and learned how unspoken guidance can save personal bruises as well as social tranquility.
But I was young and these were my friends and all was good.
There came a day, in the middle of some week or other, that we discovered the following weekend was a Blue Moon Event. That meant that we were all receiving the weekend off, together.
It was during that planning session that I learned "it is only ninety miles to Boston" meant that it was only ninety miles if one owned a car. We planned and the Friday afternoon came. We left. Our Summer Day of beautiful weather lasted. We arrived in their home town of Boston with daylight left and I was treated to a wonderfully blue, green, and grey view of the harbor and town. Well, parts of the town. All trimmed and separated with mud flats, rock and raw soil cliffs. That night was given to youthful debauchery and pub crawling. Youth reared its head the next morning.
No hang over. We did, however, sleep our fill.
There were only two events planned for the day. Swim. And a most curious visit. The visit was to occur prior to the swim. I was briefed twice that morning about that impending visit. The first by the owner of the car, who was the leader of the group. I had noticed a certain agitation in his behavior for a time before he briefed me, and there were un-explained absences in the hour prior. Be that as it may, the briefing was explicit and succinct. We are going to see a woman and a kid. Don't say anything. Don't react to anything. Don't say anything. My other friend said the same thing. He did add that when I saw, I would understand. Still, I was unprepared for what eventually faced us.
We piled into the car in front of their house and were off. Quiet streets, busy streets. Around a tree lined street corner and up an alley. And we parked. We parked, I discovered, about two houses down from our destination. We walked up behind a tool shed and an incomplete fence. I saw a quadruple clothes line, partially filled with sheets and personal items. There was a woman hanging clothes there. When my friend scuffed his foot on the alleys gravel she looked toward us and started to step out in greeting. She stopped when she glanced toward the house and called someone instead.
I had followed her glance and noticed a man arriving around the corner of the house - not from the back door, as one might expect from an owner. But from the side along the service walk. He stopped at the corner of the house and examined our group, and when he noticed that my other friend and I had seen him, he became interested in the fascia of the houses upper levels. He remained in that posture for the duration of our visit.
The woman's soft call had caught the attention of a child playing near the rear door, and brought him to her. She gently turned him and nodded our way. The kids face brightened and he walked toward us. That is when shock set in. The kid was the image of my friend. No "looked like", no "what he might look like later"crap. Absolute. The only thing different is the kid didn't get bigger the closer he came.
As the kid was enfolded in my friend's arms and as the two hugged, I glanced toward the strange man and observed that he had gone rigid. It was very difficult to refrain from exclaiming my astonishment. The visit was brief. And, I think, totally unsatisfactory for all concerned, as the woman visibly restrained herself from joining the kid in the greeting embrace.
We resumed our planned day. The swim, which my friend the car owner did not join being engaged with the beaches beer bar, was a comedy of youthful stupidity. My other friend and I set out to swim from the beach to the Boston Light House. Some seven miles. The life guard refused to let us go much beyond the three hundred yard mark, outside his mental confines of "The Beach." So, we relaxed on the sands. The sparkle had gone from the day though. I honestly don't remember much of the rest of the day, or the evening.
On the Sunday I was waken and told that they had a thing to show me, so we eased our way through breakfast, taking the time between breakfast until after normal church finish to wind our way to a different area of the shore. As we approached the yacht club area, I experienced my first close up sight of small sailing craft. They were wonderful things. All the colors, and the quiet voices of on-lookers, the lack of noise from the craft. The sun glinting from the waves. A world away.
What happened there, that day is another summer story. One which I regret losing, as I found a girl, and a level of people I sincerely enjoyed; not to mention a host of other possibilities.
Authors Note: Cat: two (2). I detest professionally half trained pre-functionary foreplay. HC equates to Hollar Caller.
May B. Yesno is a writer from Fresno, CA.