We were living in West Seneca, and I followed Nancy’s lead for the only time in my life that I can remember. The era of the CB radio. I took a few tentative steps but Nancy was all-in as I recall. And she used to go to these parties called “breaks”. If you were around Aurora Avenue in the mid to late 70’s, everyone in the neighborhood was immersed in the culture on one level or another. I won’t go into too much detail here, except to say it was a great way to meet young people outside of your immediate vicinity.
One of those people was Kathy. She lived on Boynton Street off Clinton. She and her friends met me at what was then the Valu Cinema on Clinton and S Rossler Ave. I think that’s what it was called. I would go there to meet all these nice people, but I really went to see Kathy, her sweet face reminding me of Meredith Baxter-Birney. Her cabal of pals seemed innocuous enough, but it was nice to be with her. I rode my bike to her house a few times. I remember that. Being at her front door. Calling her now and then to see what the gang was doing.
Nancy and I rarely occupied the same space, even living in the same house. As you know, I would go to school, get picked on mercilessly, come home, play my Beatles records with my headphones on, and read liner notes like they were scripture. Then to bed. However, for some reason, Nancy and I attended the same “break” once. This once. And Kathy was there! How did Nancy know Kathy? Anyhow, sitting next to Kathy was a very beautiful, thin, blonde fellow, terribly nice. Dave? Rob?
I remember trying really hard to make Kathy laugh. Doing my “routine” as it were. She seemed to be enjoying it. Still, something wasn’t right. There was some sort of silent….understanding…for lack of a better word, between her and Dave. As if, instinctively, it was known or to be known, that the two were together. An undeclared energy that they gave off. Do you know what I’m talking about? They couldn’t have been older than 12 or 13. 14 tops.
I dropped my fork. I leaned down to pick it up. I made the mistake of looking up for a second. And it looked exactly like this:
Well, that broke my heart. And it was the last time I saw any of them.
I tell you this story because I remember the song that was playing on the jukebox at that moment, and every time I hear it, I think of Kathy and Dave and wonder if they stayed together or if he turned out to be an asshole and if she dropped him. Then maybe she went on a wild, frenzied search for my phone number to rekindle our young, sweet, unfulfilled love, only to live out her days in regret and eternal celibacy. Her dry, dry cooter a constant reminder of the genuine needy love she could have had with the kid with the plaid pants.
The song was this, and it came up on the Pandora just now, which is why I’m really, really sad all the sudden. I’ll get over it.