(continued from a couple of entries ago)
After a couple of seconds, I guess a little tiny sense of familiarity crept into my head. I began to feel that I should know who this cocky loud pretty girl was, but I had no real chance to investigate that feeling because that's when her friend finally spoke.
"What are you doing?" she asked the blonde. And then she said her name.
She said her name, and a door inside my head creaked open, and I remembered.
I remembered a party, in Hancock's field, a long time ago. I remembered waking up in the back of my parents' Mercury Comet, wearing only my underwear and a jacket. I remembered digging through the trash on the floorboards, looking for my keys and my shoes and my pants and my shirt. I remembered finding all those things, and I remembered also finding a little blue sock, and one of those hair barrette thingies, and an empty bottle of Jack Daniels, and an empty condom wrapper.
I remembered going to a basketball game at school a couple of weeks later, and being greeted like an old friend by a cute blonde girl wearing a Providence High School Jacket. Being greeted like more than a friend actually.
I remembered confessing that I didn't remember meeting her, being with her, at all. That I'd woken up in the back of my car alone and confused and unclothed. I remembered how she laughed that off, and how she'd said that she'd have to try harder to be memorable the next time.
I remembered that the next time started about fifteen minutes later, in my cousin Jeff's station wagon.
I remembered countless nights after that, sneaking out of my house with my friend Eddie. I remembered that he'd drop me off at where she worked, or to where she lived. I remembered lying on her bed, holding hands and listening to Pink Floyd. I remembered doing a lot of other things in her bed.
I remembered the night she told me that she loved me, and how I'd echoed those words right back at her. I remembered how we started to tell people that we were engaged. That as soon as my basic training was over, and I was stationed at my first base, we'd get married and raise kids and we'd always laugh about how, on the night we'd met, I was too drunk to even remember her.
I remember how everyone said we were crazy.
I remembered how she'd come to the Air Force induction center to see me off. I remembered holding her close and telling her that I'd see her again in a few short weeks, and that we'd be together from that moment on.
I remembered that I'd never seen her again.
Not for more than 23 years.
Until lunch today.
So once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I just looked at her. I had no idea what to say, what to ask, what to feel. She saved the day by doing all the talking. She's been married for a long time. She has two grown children. She still loves Pink Floyd, and she still has most of The Wall memorized. I stammered out that I do too.
She said that I hadn't changed a bit, which was a beautiful lie. I said that she hadn't changed either, and as proof I offered up the fact that it had taken me so long to remember her.
We didn't discuss what had happened, back in 1983. Why she'd moved. Where she'd gone. There wasn't time for any of that, and there wasn't really a need for any of that. We were each others' distant past, and that was all that we were.
As I gave her a hug and said goodbye, I wondered if it would be another 23 years before I saw her again. I wondered if I'd do a better job of remembering her in 23 years. I wondered if I'd even remember my own name in 23 years.
Anyway, I guess that makes it official. I have officially run out of women. Time to dig out that little black book from high school, and start over.