We were young, 15 maybe? and thus had little idea of the concepts of mortality and moderation. Young and in our rebellious stage, we were a steadfast band jokingly referred to by friends and classmates as The Three Musketeers; I’m sure our teachers and enemies had less-friendly names for us than that.
I was the dark one, the sole brunette–when it came to an argument, they’d usually side against me in a show of blonde solidarity, but then I would remind them who ranked highest (it was always the girl with the biggest cup size–and my C’s outranked both their A’s put together), and they gave in. I provided the bank and the ideas, the excuses and the plans. I had the outfits and the easy access and made liberal use of them all.
Janet was the bitch, the dirty-blonde, always cool and using her surprising intellect and mile-long legs to intimidate. During the week, we’d usually head to her house after school; it had the best munchies and biggest t.v., and a lock on the basement door when her kid brother got out of hand. She was the one we’d send into the convenience store to buy cigarettes; she’s the one with the laser stare.
Laine was always trouble, all honey-blonde hair, and overactive hormones–she lived down by the Locks with her dad in what I thought was the coolest apartment on earth (I’ve always been fond of old brick buildings with smelly elevators and crown molding painted six layers deep). Her dad would spend weekends on one of their boats–they had a matched set! one for her, one for him, and they’d sail them side by side through Desolation Sound every summer–and as soon as he was off to the marina, we’d descend upon that little apartment and not leave until Sunday afternoon.
We would carefully pack our team sport-duffels (we were volleyball players, and had the thighs to prove it): the first layer was clothing, always the clothing my parents wouldn’t let us out of the house in, but who would be there to say no? next were the bikinis and the lacy underbits we’d saved up for (or in Janet’s case stolen, and not because she couldn’t afford to shop but because she liked the rush) and hoped we’d have the chance to show whichever boy we were in love with that week (we never did). The third and final layers were our beach towels, important for one reason–they cushioned the booze. Strange, if you look back at those days as at this moment, we’re trying to see if perhaps a study-abroad program would be appropriate.
Anyway… Friday night, we’d start with something disgusting but surprisingly palatable (usually cheap vodka and Dr. Pepper, which sounds awful, I know) and start dialing. We’d call the boys, who would ask when we’d come out–they knew we were at Laine’s place, and eventually just show up there, muttering amongst themselves under the window. Janet would get tired of the game quickly and want to go downstairs, but Laine and I were content with throwing things at them from the third floor.
After a couple hours of taunting and increasingly serious threats of bodily harm by the neighbors, the boys would leave, Janet would get pissed off and stop talking to us, and Laine would get hungry (5’3, that girl, and a hundred pounds soaking wet–she ate like a teamster, never gained an ounce).
So we’d leave the sanctity and relative safety of the apartment and start walking. Sometimes we would just walk to the store, buy Doritos and kool-aide and twinkies then head home, but often we’d walk all the way down to the Denny’s on 15th. At 3 am. In our pyjamas and flipflops. Past dive bars and drunks in cars, we never skipped a beat, three girls with songs in our hearts and cheap booze in our blood.
Sleep would overtake us by 5 am, and ten hours later we’d be up and slathered with tanning oil–head down to the pool armed with bikinis and beach towels and a kitchen timer, not to return for at least another four hours. Laine and Janet would be a silky bronze–I counted myself lucky when I avoided getting burned (curse that Irish skin), and we’d begin the Friday night ritual all over again. And now? Now we’re only trying to survive the dorms.
Sundays were reserved for clean-up and deep cleansing–sweating out a weekend of booze in extra-hot showers so my parents wouldn’t find out (eventually they did, but secretly I wanted them to–things heated up over the next two years, and I needed out, but couldn’t ask for it). Bottles and cans got dumped in neighbors’ bushes, beach towels laundered, skimpy underthings hidden away for another week.
Eight months later, the weekends had taken their toll and we went our separate ways. Janet and Laine headed for the cheerleading squad and requisite keggers, I made my way through the Caribbean and learned how to dive. Janet and I never spoke again and it doesn’t surprise me in the least–we’d known each other since 2nd grade, and there was nothing left to talk about.
Laine and I tried picking things up again here and there–junior year, when we sat across a lab station in Mr. Grimm’s Chem I class; senior year, in Physics II; years later, after I’d heard that her dad died (it was sudden and unexpected, a heart attack at 62. She was devastated, and the nurturing instincts came on fast, but there was really nothing I could do for her.)
I see her once in a while, see her truck parked in front of the marine supply store, but I don’t say hi anymore. What do we have in common anymore? Hazy memories of blurry weekends.