Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Fast Times

"Mary, you gorgeous girl, you. You turn me on, but I'm happy just to be your friend. Love you lots, Ray."

Remembering Ray, I smile. I haven't seen him in 19 years, but looking at his 16-year-old face brings back memories of my senior year at Mexia High School and 7th period study hall. He and Willie, both sophomores at the time, sat across the table from me and kept me entertained (i.e., prevented me from studying) from 3:00 to 3:45 every day, Monday through Friday. They were such nuts.

Paging through my Class of 1986 Memories book, I'm reminded of what a goober I really was. Even my handwriting was gooberish. Big and loopy. And all I wrote about was my then-boyfriend, Tommy. "Dating Tommy for 1 month!" "Went to Homecoming with Tommy!" "Dating Tommy for 3 months!" "Christmas with Tommy!" And there are hearts around Mark Harmon's and Tom Selleck's names.

Somebody shoot her. She deserves to die.

And I guess in a way, she did.

I read the messages from old friends:

"Do you think the world is ready for a couple of great minds like us! (ha, ha)"

"I truly admire you."

"I hope our friendship can continue to grow."

"I hope we remain good friends forever."

"You are the most vivacious and happy person I know, sometimes it makes me sick, but almost all the time it makes me smile."

"I will miss you."

"I'll never lose touch with you."

"You are so much fun to be around."

And my personal favorite: "One more thing, come to my next party and we'll all get naked ok!" (I guess that's my favorite because at age 18, "getting naked" was about the last thing I would have considered doing. Thanks for remembering me, Steve.)

I'm 37 now, and that 18-year-old girl is a mere memory. I haven't a clue who she was.

And by summer's end, I'd lost touch with nearly everyone who signed my book, though I didn't know it at the time.

Karen went to UT. I heard she got married a couple of years later to a church music minister.

Rhonda eventually went to A&M. She lived in the same apartment complex as me, but we never hooked up.

Mike went into the military, got married, got divorced, and then faded away. Of them all, I think I miss him the most.

Leslie went to community college, got married, and had a passel of kids. Say what you want about that, but the last time I talked to her, she seemed very happy. That was well over a decade ago.

Angie got married.

Bill got married.

Ann got married and divorced.

And I never saw Steve again after graduation.

And so it goes with most people. Life just gets in the way. Sometimes tragically. Jaimie committed suicide. Theron died from cancer. And Chris was in a terrible car accident that left him permanently disabled.

I think about them all, and I get sad. I wish I'd had time to really get to know them. I wish I hadn't let the door close. I wish, I wish, I wish.

Then I read Ray's message again. "You gorgeous girl, you. You turn me on." And I smile.

You know, Ray, you were kinda cute, too.


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