Old Friends

Welcome to the December Question of the Day. Please post your answer in your own journal or blog, and comment here.

Question #8:
(Paraphrased because the book is upstairs, and bed is warm.) If there is one person whom you haven’t been in contact with in a while, and chose to get in touch with over the holidays, who would it be, and how would you start the conversation?

I spent yesterday writing Christmas cards to friends and family, and didn’t finish til well after midnight, so was too tired to write. Sometimes even I get behind on my own meme-things. This should make the rest of you feel better :)

Today, I want to talk to you about Ben, the first boy I ever loved.

I don’t remember how I met him – if it was at Palo Alto preschool (in Arvada, Colorado), or if it was through our neighbors and mutual friends, Heather and Kerry who lived in the big yellow house up the block, that reminded me of the Murray home from A Wrinkle in Time. I loved that house. I still lust after that house.

In any case, we did meet, when we were both at the advanced age of five and ripe for true love. He was sweet, not like the other boys, and he and his mother lived with our preschool teacher, Ray, over on the next block. I never knew the story there, but it didn’t matter. Ben and I bonded instantly, and our mothers became good friends.

We had many adventures together, like tobagganing down upper 16th street in Golden, Colorado, and not getting killed by the traffic on the main road at the bottom. Or climbing to the top of the small hill outside Georgetown, CO, which I suspect was a popular make-out spot for older kids. We learned to ice-skate together, but I graduated to single blades before he did. He let me sing at him a lot, and said he liked it. We shared peanut-butter-and-honey-on-pita sandwiches, and shared his trundlebed, or my bunkbeds, during sleepovers.

One night, in the totally innocent way that little kids do, he offered to show me his penis. “Sure,” I said, curious. Later, I think I said it was stupid or gross or some other five-year-old girl word that means, “Um, okay, and what am I supposed to do with *that*?” On an afternoon in the back of my mother’s blue VW bug – the classic kind, which was the only kind in 1976, we shared our first kiss. Chaste. Quick. But neither of us said “Iewww.”

He always smelled like cinnamon and soap and vanilla and grass (the lawn kind, not the kind you smoke.)
He always held my hand like it was – like I was – a treasure.
I lost track of him when we were both eight.

If my life were a romance novel, I’d have found him right before I met Fuzzy, and we’d have fallen in love and lived happily ever after, but my life isn’t a romance novel. Or, well, it IS, but it’s not that predictable. Fuzzy isn’t Ben, Fuzzy’s himself, and he understands me, and puts up with me, and grounds me when I’m in need of that, and spoils me as much as he can, and our hearts beat together.

But you can’t help but wonder. I can’t help but wonder.
And if I ran across Ben, on the net, in person, I know just what I’d say: “So, I never returned your etch-a-sketch.”

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Old Friends by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

2 thoughts on “Old Friends

  1. Beautiful! I believe that there are vibes out there, that the energy we spend thinking fondly of long-ago relationships, somehow travels through the world and touches those we think of. They won;t necessarily know why, but something in them will clock and they’ll say, hey, that felt nice!

  2. That is a sweet story for sure Melissa. I think I was 8 or 9 and even then I new I was “different”. My crush had to do with a boy named Bradley. He had reddish brown hair, freckles, and glasses. We used to run around the neighborhood together, holding hands and acting silly. Well one day he suggested playing “Count Dracula” which basically was taking turns chasing each other, throwing each other to the ground, and “going for the neck”. Oh what fond memories I have of him. He was only around for a year but the memories are still there. Anyway…just wanted to let you know your card is on the way…since I did not know your husbands name I put Fuzzy on the card…my partner, Randy, said with a nickname like that he is either…well fuzzy or hairless…hehe…take care sweetie! HUGS

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