Thursday, December 4, 2008

High School Friends

(This is for Mama Kat's Writers challenge)

I am still friends with my high school friends. In my case that is easy because I only had three friends and one dedicated enemy in high school. Mainly that was because I was an a**hole and brainiac nerd who was also bigger than everyone else.  Not a combination conducive to the formation of friendships.

The three friends are my lovely wife L (yes we met in high school - it's a story for another time), S who became my friend late in senior year and is still a friend today, and G who has been my friend since grade school. All are still friends today and I carry on email conversations with S and occasionally G. L you hear about here from time to time.

S now lives in Montana, but we still see each other at least once a year. I have to wonder if that face to face visiting tradition will continue. His mother died last year and that was his last relative here in the area. S is a special friend because we came at things from diametrically opposite views, but still respected the others view. Our friendship really began with "Fiddler on the Roof" where I was stage manager and he starred as Tevye. He was also the only other National Merit Scholar in my high school class. Our relationship may now degenerate into a Christmas card and occasional email. It'll be interesting to see.

G now lives in Alabama and is back here at least a couple of times a year. We keep in touch and I suspect he will always be around since his sister and brother both live in the area. His dad died a year or so ago and his mom has Alzheimers that is getting worse. L and G talk about it since L's dad died of alzheimers and so we have been through some of the issues and emotions. G and I went through life as a Mutt and Jeff pair. I'm 6'5" and 300 lbs+ and have been since high school. G is about 5'4" and in high school might have made it to 120 lbs. We were in school together from fourth grade on, were Boy Scouts together, ... We were there to tease each other about our first crushes and our first dates and ...

It is more interesting to talk a bit about my dedicated enemy from high school, T. T and I went from apathy to dislike to outright hate over the course of high school. I attribute much of that to the effects of T's growing alcohol addiction. Of course I didn't have a clue about the alcoholism at the time. The relationship reached its nadir when I almost killed him one day our sophomore year.

T and some friends were teasing and riding me all through biology class that day. We we seated alphabetically by last name and they were behind me. We didn't get along well before this day, but it was more the normal nerd / alcohol crowd disjunct than anything personal. It takes a lot to make me mad, but this day they succeeded. When the bell ending the class rang, I was determined to have a word with all three of them. Unfortunately, I had T by one arm when the other two decided to try to get around me and out of the room. Without even thinking about it, I tossed T across the room as I reached to stop the other two. Even more unfortunately, there was nothing to slow T down as he flew through the air, broke the glass, and proceeded out of the second story window. I was immediately sorry. T. went to the hospital and got some stitches, but thankfully had nothing broken. T and I were dedicated enemies from that point on, at least on T's part. I just felt bad that I had let anything make me lose control like that. It was interesting that I had enough of a halo (top of class, football player, national merit scholar, vice president of the Colorado Wyoming Junior Academy of Science, etc.) that nary a word was ever said by the school administration about the whole affair. Which just made me feel even guiltier.

Fast forward about 20 years. L and I at a New Year's Eve party shortly after moving back here from LA. T is there as the designated driver for a different group. So T and I are sitting at the bar sipping club soda and begin to talk. I tell T how bad I still felt about the incident from long ago. He laughs and says not to feel bad, he deserved that and more. We forgave each other and talked. T pointed out that he had hit bottom and has now been clean and sober for 7 years. To make a long story short we become friends over the next year and have remained so now more than 15 years later. When T's son wasn't going to attend college, it was me that convinced him he could and should do it. When my son was having issues with life and needed to find out if he was mature enough to live on his own and go off to college early, it was T's basement he lived in. T and I are friends. Sometimes enemies can become friends, and high school enemies have the advantage of sharing a very formative time in our lives.

Enough for tonight!


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