Yesterday I had a deja-vu of the very early morning sort. It was the kind of moment with sights and sounds and textures and regret.
When I was in school I had a friend who was also in band who lived somewhat near me. It was walking distance, the next complex over in fact. I lived in a condo, packed in like some weird game of 3D Tetris along with 3 other families in a large retangular faux spanish building.
My friend was a guy and I really liked him. I'd always been raised to think of boys as my equals and not to think that every male friendship was supposed to be a boyfriend. Thus, I have always had a lot of guy friends. He and I became really good pals my freshman year, and he'd show up at my house several days a week in the summer or after school. We'd sit in my room, decorated in antique rose linens and Star Wars everything else and listen to whatever records he had brought over, or watch whatever movies he'd rented.
My mom would make us nachos, and various other snacks. We'd laugh and cut up, behaving like two close friends would. He introduced me to Cheech and Chong, I remember listening to their albums in my room and not admitting to not getting the drug jokes (sorry I'm a square, a drape). He brought over the Van Hagar album as we refer to that period of Van Halen and I remember how enthusiastic he was about it.
That's what took me back yesterday. Love Comes Walking In was on the radio at 6 am, and I remembered so well hearing that for the first time with him. He was ecstatic about the lyrics, the music, it's a memory of my friend sharing a joy with me and it was a really happy day.
One day he showed up at my house in a red truck and suggested we go to Dairy Queen. As we sat eating our chocolate dipped cones I asked where he got the truck and he told me it was his. Then he said it had been his brother's.
Then he said his brother died yesterday. I didn't know he HAD a brother. He had never once mentioned it.
In the sweltering heat of a beat up red pick up truck and as our ice cream melted awkwardly, he told me about his drug addicted brother who was never home and who was in jail all the time. He had died from an overdose. He told me slowly, like he wasn't sure of what he was saying. I just remember wanting to hug him and we were both holding ice cream and I didn't know how to accomplish that.
He shook it off and suggested we go for a drive. We drove through the corn and soy bean fields, blasting music I chose from the random tapes on the floor and he told jokes and I laughed.
A week later we started school, and out of nowhere he came up to me and said "Don't expect me to drive you everywhere because I have a car. I'm not your fucking chauffeur."
He hadn't driven me anywhere since that day we went to Dairy Queen, and I was left standing in the hall of the music department confused and a little hurt. I hadn't seen him in a few days, but I had chalked that up to us both getting ready for school.
He never came over again. He never called. He never came by and sat with me at lunch.I asked a couple of people if they knew what was wrong with him and no one had any idea what I was talking about. I tried to strike up a casual conversation a couple of times and he literally walked away both times.
We went to the same college years later. I saw him across the quad and waved - I was excited to see a friendly face. I will never forget the cold stare I got, nod, and how he continued walking away.
It was years later that someone parted that curtain for me. I never understood what teenage girl transgression I had made to cause him to suddenly hate me. A girl I knew dated him and she said "Well after you wouldn't ever go out with him you broke his heart." I was flabbergasted. GO OUT with him? WE WENT OUT ALL THE TIME!!
I know it's a huge part my fault. I miss stuff. I don't always read into situations. But part of it is his fault. He never even tried to hold my hand, he never once indicated I was anything but his awkward girl pal.
So when I hear Love Comes Walking In I wonder if I missed a nice boyfriend because neither of us knew how to talk? It doesn't matter now. But I'm sorry I hurt his feelings. I always will be.