♥Letter 3 in a series of love letters to my friends.♥
Dear High School Friends,
It was you who pushed me out of my comfort zone. Eagerly I went from a broken pre-teen to a hopeful pre-adult. I’m sorry I spent so much time trying to rush high school. I wish I would have savored more moments because you all turned out to be such amazing people. It would be nice to have more memories. The memories I do have, I treasure. Right now I would give anything for a 3rd Base hoagie and one more climb up the rocks at Altmiller.
Back then, I wish I had known that being a theater geek was cool. I spent so much time trying to fight my natural instincts that I didn’t embrace my inner geek enough. Missing lunches to hang out on stage was worth every minute. My first audition was nerve-racking. That moment morphed into me wearing pajamas on stage singing “Freddie My Love” and it is a moment I hold dear.
We had already grown together so much that my transition into this weird world was only possible because you were there. Thank you for walking into school with me on the first day every year. I’m glad our lockers were close. I’m glad I got to drive some of you to and from school with me. Those morning and afternoon rides set the tone for the day even when I was bit shaky with the stick shift.
Thank you for every lap around the Laurel Mall. Each rotation brought us closer in a weird way. And thank you for not laughing when I fell in the parking lot of McDonald’s trying to impress a boy. I still have that scar on my leg. It is a war wound from loves lost.
During these years we saw our first dance club, went to our first concerts, and took front seat for the “Hell Rides” through the woods. I played in my first band and learned the power of being around other musicians.
We drank six packs of mickey’s big mouths on my porch only for my mother to ground me later. Little did she know it was only 1 six-pack and we threw it up. That time we got drunk on a couple sips of tropical schnapps? Yeah, we couldn’t lay in the road today feeling that drunkenness but that moment is burned in my mind because we stared at the sky and felt pure happiness.
Thank you for coming to every church festival, fun fest, and football game. You showed me how to dress, how to do my makeup, and how to flirt. You encouraged my black hair, red lipstick, concert t-shirts, and doc martens. You also encouraged it even more when I cut my short or tried a box perm for the first time.
I’m sorry I ever smoked that first cigarette though. That moment I could have skipped.
For those that came to rent videos, I never minded letting you in the back room because I was happy you came to visit. Cruising downtown in a car with tinted windows felt exhilarating. Trying to roll them down quickly when a police officer drove by was an acquired skill. I loved how we always left downtown together. We made sure we were always safe. No friend left behind.
During Junior Miss, in the midst of the commotion, all I heard was you all screaming my name. How did I get so lucky to have friends that cared so much? You were all there when I fell in love for the first time and then when my heart was first broken. That first love is always filled with a roller coaster full of emotions. One heart at a time, we rode that roller coaster together. Ready to catch each other if it was needed. I would still catch you today. Fragile hearts are the gift friends give to one another.
The long drives to the beach during the summer were always punctuated with the best soundtracks. We were so good and getting someone to supply us with Zima but most of all we had fun. A fun that some days I’m afraid I will never find again. We wandered around the beach feeling the freedom only youth can bring. We experienced our first toga party and a deep sea fishing expedition all within 24 hours. The days felt endless and the excitement was a wonder.
You sat with me near the pool on long summer nights dreaming. You shared your stories of love, family, and your future aspirations. You trusted me with your deepest secrets. We were going to do great things and our town would always be a part of the story.
I’m sorry I didn’t do more to keep in touch after graduation. I’m sorry I didn’t go to class reunions or that I didn’t send a card every birthday. Hug your families for me and tell them I said you are special beyond words. You all shaped me. You all impacted me. I’m grateful to you every day.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.