la Ketch

my life story

Monday, August 29, 2005

first friend

I went into the offices the day before school started, to register for my classes. The two things I wanted to know were: A: did they have school plays? (yes) B: did they have cheerleading for freshmen (yes but I had missed tryouts but there would be try outs again for winter sports cheerleading soon). Okay, not so bad. I signed up for the regular things plus College Prep English (which I had to drop my sophomore year because I didn’t study hard enough) and Speech class because Drama One was filled and the Drama teacher taught speech, so it was the next best thing. I showed up to school the next day feeling cocky and nervous. I had always gone to school with the same people, most of them since kindergarten and I never really had to make new friends before, not all at once.

Part of the reason that we had moved to "the Claw", of all places, was because there was land available on a residential air strip. I should probably explain that after the accident, my mom got a bunch of money. She was pretty much set for life but she has since blown it all using her brilliant investment strategy, “buy High / sell Low.”. The money is gone but I don’t blame her. She had a huge hole to fill and she was filling it by buying things: houses, cars and furniture mainly. She bought us a bunch of stuff too. I probably would have done the same thing. The fuck wad she married though, he took a lot of her money. He built a house with it. And then, because she is generous and felt guilty, when they got a divorce, she let him keep it for a song. This is her own fault but I still blame him. I had mentioned before, he was a commercial airline pilot but he had his own little plane, a four-seater Cessna or something. So they wanted to build this big house with an airplane hanger next to it. Or, I should say, he wanted my mom to build him a big house with an airplane hangar next to it for him. When I got there, the house wasn’t finished yet (they never are) and so we lived in these little apartments that were like a block away from the school. My mom and her new husband and his son lived in one and right next door my sister, my mom’s husband’s daughter and I lived in the other. This made sneaking out of the house very easy for me in the beginning. I would later turn it into an art form.

I had forgotten to mention that my mom’s new husband has kids. Oh yes, he does – four of them actually. Two boys and two girls. The older two were adults and didn’t live with him. I met them only a couple of times and I have to say, they weren’t so bad. I even sort of liked his older daughter. The younger two did live with us and they were interminable, intolerable, terrible, twerps. The younger daughter (my new stepsister) was my sister’s age, one year younger than me and starting the eighth grade. My poor sister had to go to a new school with that fat drip following her around like a puppy. The younger son (my new stepbrother) was like eight or nine and he was the most text book nerd you ever met. He was so hilariously nerdy. He even spoke in this real nasally voice and pulled his shorts up over his shirt way too far, like Urkle. He had no friends or social skills and his main thing was making noises. He was very good at this. He would sit in his room alone for hours and perfect it his art. You could give him any combination of noises and he would recreate them with astounding accuracy. “Step brother, do a ..........garbage truck falling off of the empire state building .....with a tin can rolling away.” He would pause for a moment and then he would make a sound exactly like a garbage truck falling off the empire state building and then, just when you thought he’s forgotten about it “cha chink, clink, clink, clink.” The tin can rolling away. That guy is either making millions doing sound effects or in jail for murdering people.

So, we’re living in these apartments and I walked to school on my very first day at EHS. The first thing I notice is that there are a lot of big trucks, some of them have actual gun racks and some of them have like, bull’s horns and things on roof or hood. Then I notice that a lot of the guys are dressed like cowboys. I wonder if it’s “cowboy day”. Every girl has huge, permed hair with huge bangs and every girl is wearing “silver city pink” lipstick, which is very light pink and has a metallic shimmer. I would own a tube of my own in a matter of months.

I walked in wearing these lace up sandals, sort of linen, white clam digger pants and a lime green tank top. I had a brown leather sort of “hippie” purse and my hair was very straight and bobbed. I had no bangs. Also, I was very, very, very tan. I stood out and it was palpable.

The first thing you learn when you are the new girl is that the people who want to make friends with you are the people who need friends. If you are going to make friends with people who are not insane, then you are gong to have to be proactive about it. Unfortunately, it took me a few months to learn this first, valuable lesson. The main reason that I had a hard time making friends at first was because I was so stuck up. I thought I was so much better than everyone else and I was working off the notion that it was all temporary. I was devising my plan to break my mom’s new husband’s will to live. Soon the plan would be successful and we would move home. I was walking around with my arms crossed literally and metaphorically. If someone tried to talk to me I would just smirk or say something snotty about how we do things in California. People started to hate me very quickly.

My first friend was the toughest girl I think I have ever met in my life. She was unlike anyone I had ever met before. I wish I could tell you her name because it is perfect but I don’t want to use real names here, especially hers, for fear that people will be very pissed off about these stories being on the internet. My first friend was quintessentially white trash. We started talking in gym class and she invited me over for dinner and to the football game that night. I agreed to go. She was actually quite pretty, in a hardened way. She was tall and thin with nice skin and a pretty face. She didn’t wear too much make up, just blue eye liner and blue mascara with a touch of “silver city pink” lipstick to tie it together, understated compared to what most girls were wearing. OH YEAH. The other trend was to go tanning and to wear tons and tons of “bronzer” powder on your face so that all of the girls looked like little orange Oompa Loompas.

We took the bus home from school and out to My first friend’s house. I had never ridden a school bus before. Her house was really far out there and it was quite a shock for a girl who grew up in track housing. It was pretty big actually, a split level with a basement and a big kitchen but it was dilapidated, cars in the front yard, over grown yard, Christmas lights up from three years ago – you get the picture.

She had invited me over for dinner but we never ate anything. Her mom was huge like, “What’s eating Gilbert Grape” huge and she was obsessed with how skinny My First Friend was. My First Friend was very skinny. She wore really tight acid wash Guess Jeans, which I’m sure she stole, and she looked good in them. She also wore crop tops that showed her navel but she was very flat-chested. She and her mom had opposing eating disorders. She had a dad and he was in the living room, looking disgusting, drinking beer and watching T.V. He didn’t speak to us. She had a little brother, about three years old who was wandering around, filthy dirty wearing just a diaper and very thick glasses. The mom was sort of feeding him. The house was really dirty and it smelled like dog food. I was relieved when My first friend suggested that we go downstairs to her room.

The basement had two rooms in it, my first friend’s room and her other brother’s room. Her other brother was older, had graduated high school a few years before but still lived at home. I think he was a logger, a lot of the guys in the town were. The first thing we did was go into her brother’s room where she proceeded to pull a half-rack of warm beer out from under his bed. It was Rainer beer, which is the only beer anyone drinks in "the Claw". They are insane about it. I’m surprised they sell anything else in the stores. “My brother will kill us if he finds out that we took his beer,” she said taking two from the box. I figured that when she said he would “kill us” she mean that he would be really mad. I didn’t consider that he would actually try and kill us, which is what she meant.

After we took the beers, she slid the half rack back under the bed and we went to her room. I should have suspected something when she pulled the bookcase across the door, baring it from outside forces. We sipped our beers. “I’ve never had this kind of beer before,” I said casually. She nearly spit her mouthful across the room. “Are you serious?” She stammered in disbelief. “But you drink, right?” “Oh yeah, of course,” I was telling the truth. I had been drunk a few times. It was never pretty. It still isn’t. I’ve never been able to hold my alcohol, even though I’ve been drinking vast quantities of it since I was thirteen years old. The first time I got really drunk was at a high school party my cousin took me to when I was in the eighth grade (I was still in California, she was a year older than me). I ended up climbing up on a door knob and swinging back and forth singing the theme from “Spider Man” over and over again. I wouldn’t let up. I ran around the house climbing up on anything that would get me off the ground, exclaiming to everyone that I was Spider Man and that I had Spider Powers. They ended up locking me in a closet to get me to shut up. That was off of three beers. I was acting like I was high on acid (uh-oh, FORESHADOWING).

“I think it’s cool actually, that you can admit that,” My first friend said to me after a long pause filled with beer slurping. “Admit what? That I’ve never had a Rainer beer?” I responded. “Yeah,” she said, “I mean most people I know, even if they had never had one before, they would lie and say that they had.” “Oh,” I said. I’m sure if I knew that it was uncool to not have ever tried a Rainer Beer before, I would have lied too.

I’m not sure how long we sat there before this happened but eventually huge truck pulled up in the driveway. My first friend’s face turned white. “Pound!” she said desperately. We did. She threw the cans under the bed. Then she sat her skinny ass up on the book shelf, pressing her feet into the ground to brace the door even more than it already had been. She had clearly done this before. “My first friend's name, you stoopid bitch, you BETTER NOT BE DRINKING MY BEER!!!” It was her brother if you haven’t figured that out yet. He came barreling down the stairs and I don’t think he even stopped at his room to count how many beers were left under the bed. Maybe he couldn’t count. More likely he just assumed (correctly) that she had taken them. I got the sense that this was some strange ritual that they played out every Friday night. Next, he came at the door with such force that I was sure he would break through it. He was pounding on it and saying the most horrible things to her as he came at the door again and again. “I’m going to fucking kill you, you stupid skinny little cunt. I’ll rip your fucking twat open with a hammer,” etc. etc. There were things I had never imagined a person could say coming out of his mouth. She kept bracing the door and then whispered at me to open the window. I did, quickly and climbed out of it. As soon as I cleared it she followed. Her mom was already waddling out the door with the toddler in tow. Although neither parent had come to our rescue in the basement, she was at least paying attention. We all climbed into the brown paneled station wagon and were backing down the driveway before the book case gave way. My first friend and her mother didn’t say a word about it to each other. We rode in the back and her mom drove with the toddler in the front with no car seat and no seat belt. I was dumbfounded.

We were early for the football game but that was fine because we still had to stop and pick up Lisa, who was My First Friend’s long time friend since elementary school and in our same grade. I hadn’t really hung out with her yet but she looked like Molly Ringwald. Lisa wasn’t allowed to hang out with My First Friend because she was a bad influence. Lisa lived in a huge house with a gorgeously manicured lawn. Not only was she not allowed to hang out with My First Friend, she wasn’t allowed to go out. Her parents were crazy Christians and kept her in there. She could only go to school but I guess she snuck out all the time. My First Friend’s mom helped us break her out. My First Friend and I hid behind some bushes and made signals to Lisa. Then she jumped out the window, ran across the lawn, down the driveway and we all got into the station wagon and drove off. It was all very easy and it seemed like Lisa’s parents must not have been home. They were though, she assured us. This all happened in broad daylight.

The game didn’t start until seven, so My First Friend’s mom dropped us at Godfather’s Pizza. Thank God because I was starving. We hung out there and then walked to the game. I don’t remember much more about the night except that I got drunk and someone brought me home eventually. I think there was a party. There probably was and it was probably about 10 miles outside of the town at a place called something like, “the Gravel Pits” or “the Power Lines” or “the Gorge” or “The Quarry” or “Mound of Shit”. There were probably kegs provided by guys that were much to old to party with high schoolers. This didn’t stop them from having sex with them. There was probably a huge bonfire fueled by wood pallets that burn really high and in the latter part of the evening a bunch of guys probably started jumping through the fire. The music was probably played out of a big pick up truck with it’s doors open and the music was probably country or ACDC. If the song “You Shook Me All Night Long” came on, then everyone probably went insane. This would describe pretty much every party I went to during my four year tenure at EHS.

My First Friend scared me and I knew I had to get rid of her. I slowly divorced myself, working my way up the social ladder as my attitude changed and I started to realize that I better make the best of my situation because I wasn’t going back to California anytime soon. It was easy really. I just stopped hanging out with her and she pretended not to notice. It was the easiest breakup I’ve ever had. I was grateful to her though. She took me in and gave me a start when I really didn’t deserve one. Also, she taught me that thing about Rainer Beer, which was critical if you wanted to go anywhere at EHS and I figured I had a pretty good chance at going far. In fact, I was beginning to see that I could take it fairly easily. I wasn’t certain of my exact trajectory but I was pretty sure it started with cheerleading.


At 11:57 AM, Blogger tina said...

Oh my god. This is excellent.

At 11:13 PM, Blogger Eve said...

I love it.

Tina- I'm sorry, I won't be able to read your reccommended book, as I will be spending all of my reading hours enjoying tales from you and la Ketch! Fantastic!


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