I had a spot where I went to think, to write, to just be. I shared it with others. Sometimes we would drive a friend's dirt bike around the area; other times we would climb down to the creek, skip stones, cross at all the low points, sit along the "shore". We shared the day's events, the plans for the weekend, our fears, our dreams, silly jokes, laughs.
I shared this place with Kevin. It was the place we hung out after school, when we both wanted to hide from home, from parents, from aching stresses. It somehow became "our" place.
I went there after the paramedics arrived.
I parked, slid down the dirt to the shore of the creek, grabbed some stones to throw. I couldn't quiet my insides. I didn't know what to do with myself.
I heard through mutual friends that he was okay. He was now forced to take notice of his blood sugar, and be responsible with his diabetes. He hadn't eaten, and he didn't have anyone who noticed. If I hadn't of stopped by....well.
We somehow started talking on the phone. Someone told him I had found him. He thanked me. I cried.
I graduated high school without ever seeing him again. I started college, discovered college boys, fell hard for a guy in my Tuesday/Thursday History class.
A park was built around our place, a running path shadowing the curve of the creek. Houses went up in the field. I ran 3 miles a day on that path. At the 3rd curve, I would stop, stare down at the creek, and ache. Wonder where he was, how he was, if he was still playing the guitar, skateboarding in the dark, wishing for his "perfect drug". I was so dramatic.
To be honest, I have absolutely no idea how we found one another. All I know is I got ahold of an address, I wrote a letter, and received a response. He was in California. Had moved there with his younger brother and mom, who was recently remarried. He was clean & sober. He was eating.
He called me. We began talking all the time. I had to buy phone cards. I would lie on the driveway under the pear tree, stare at the stars, and listen to his voice. My life revolved around those phone calls. I would write lyrics & send them to him. He would write music to them, and play the melody over the phone for me.
We made plans. I applied to a college near his home. He got a job. He started looking for apartments. We wrote one another non-stop; I would receive at least one letter a day. There was an old house several blocks from the beach with our names on it; he'd called me as soon as he'd seen it. I can still close my eyes and imagine my sitting on the front steps with a journal on my knees, while he skateboarded on the sidewalk.
He was lonely there. His brother was growing up, and had his own friends. His mother was a newlywed. He was sober. I convinced him to apply for jobs, make new friends. We were counting down the days until I would be there.
He got a job, made a few friends. He sounded happy. He would call me late at night, and tell me how peaceful it was to sit along the rocky part of the shore at dawn, just before he surfed. He promised to take me there; it would be our new "place".
The phone calls became a bit sporadic, the letters almost non-existent. I would call and his mother would answer, telling me he wasn't home from work. I worried. That bitch with no self-esteem took over-I was afraid maybe he didn't want me after all? Maybe he didn't want me to move out there? Maybe...?
When we did talk, he was vague, saying he was working extra hours to save up for our house together.
One day I met the mailman at the edge of my driveway, pulling in from class. He handed me two letters: One was an acceptance letter from the college near his home. The other had a California postmark, but I didn't recognize the handwriting. I sat down on the driveway hard, when I read it.
It was from some chick, telling me to leave him the fuck alone, that he had moved on to better things, and suggesting that I do the same. It ended with something about how he was great in bed. My mind twisted those words around and around until I felt like vomiting. I don't even know.
If she was hoping to upset me, she succeeded. I called his house, and got his mother. She was pretty upset, saying she hadn't seen him in three days.
I called back a few days later. She still hadn't seen him. She had a bad feeling, and so did I.
He didn't stay sober. He never called me back. He never wrote me again.
I didn't move to California. I didn't transfer to the school there. And I didn't hear from him for 12 years.