Friday nights, and how we talked
I just took Henry for a walk, and the temperature in the air, the sound of birds, I'm not sure, but a combination of things brought back memories of going to the lake with my friends on Friday nights. We had a claim on a secluded beach area, though mind you this is Kansas so instead of sand we had pebbles and mushy, slimy lake floor to squish our toes into. On a good night the water would be just the right temperature and you could swim forever in that fresh lake water. Sometimes we'd build a fire and sit and talk way past midnight.
There were a couple of times when we brought alcoholic beverages. Schnapps, wine, straight Jack. It had been a complicated operation: dress one of us up like an attorney fresh from work, skirt suit and all, hair pulled back, and heels, and go casually purchase it with money we'd all thrown in together. In the end, we'd had to ask some older boys to buy it for us.
I remember standing on the lake shore, it was night and the moon was out, the water lapped back and forth and I kept taking swigs. I liked the happy way I felt, because something in me was always tuned to sadness. My friends told me I was more fun after a few drinks. I was also more reckless. Half naked, I swam way out and just floated, eyes on the moon. One night we invited boys, and they got roaring drunk. One in particular was too skinny to hold his liquor. He barfed the whole drive home. It didn't take long for me to realize that getting drunk was temporary, and being sick took a whole day getting over. So believe me when I tell you, those days are over.
On another night, we had a fire going and were about to start the party when a strange car pulled outside the beach area and turned its lights off. We started to freak out and one of my friends broke a glass bottle to make a weapon. Nothing ever came of it, but I do remember thinking I was around a lot of riffraff, and what the heck was I doing out there in the middle of nowhere about to get in a fight?! Not my scene at all.
We used to have the best conversations. My friend Renee and I had similar thoughts on life, and we could go on talking forever. She thought I was a riot with my crazy antics and willingness to do just about anything to make someone laugh. She also was interested in how completely strange I was, how deep my feelings and thoughts ran on just about everything. We used to share Beatle fantasies, mine with John, and hers with Ringo—this, decades after they'd broken up. We liked to do things different. I had no desire to be like anyone else in this world, because I knew I wasn't. It's always better to invent yourself instead of trying to fit in. So, if I wanted to love a Beatle, why not?
Those days of lakes and campfires are gone. When you're there it feels as if life will never change, there will always be Fridays and lakes and talks until midnight. It's funny, but you still can smell the air of the lake, and hear the gentle ring of laughter, and feel warm water rushing through your toes.